Last month, a truck driver was awarded $21,600,000.00 in a lawsuit that stemmed from him falling off his truck, hitting his head and getting a traumatic brain injury (TBI). How is this possible?
This case happened because it wasn’t just a workers’ compensation case and his lawyers did a great job of identifying that not only was the injury the result of a truck design error (the handle he held on to came loose causing the fall), but also that the company that made the truck was out of Chicago, allowing the lawsuit to be brought in Illinois instead of Texas where the juries are not as plaintiff friendly
We write on here all of the time about the danger of lazy lawyers. This is a classic example. It would have been so easy for some attorney to get the phone call on this case, assume it’s just a work injury and file that case only. Under Illinois law, a case this serious would probably be worth less than a million dollars if it was just a work comp case. Instead the case was worth 21 times that.
In general, you can not sue your employer for negligence so sadly many workers who are terribly injured don’t get the same type of compensation that this truck driver received. But part of being a great lawyer, and you deserve to be represented by a great lawyer, is getting a law firm who will look at every possible possible angle to making a recovery.
We see this most with car accidents, but those are the obvious ones. Good law firms look for the not-so-obvious situations. If a worker says they fell off a truck, a bad lawyer will say “got it”, a great lawyer will probe further and focus on why you fell as what else was going on around you that could have contributed to the problem. It may be nothing, but it also might be something huge.
The first attorney I ever worked for, gave a lesson on how to do this wrong. He specifically wrote up his contracts with his clients to state that he was not responsible for anything but the work comp case. Essentially he was lazy and was writing in a clause to cover his butt for his laziness. I learned from that more than 20 years ago that the much better approach is to look for everything. That doesn’t mean we are experts in everything or responsible for everything, but it does mean we care about our clients and are fighters who do whatever we can to get the best result possible.
If you have questions about your case or anything else call us at 312-346-5578. We cover all of Illinois and will always talk to you for free and in confidence.