With Illinois being a boarder state to Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin and Kentucky and with lawyers loving to make money, there are a bunch of attorneys who are licensed in both Illinois and out of state who handle Illinois workers’ compensation cases.
So if they have a law license for IL they can handle a case, but the question is should they and what is in your best interests as an injured worker?
I bring this up because I was contacted by an Iowa man who was hurt in the eastern part of Illinois and hired an Iowa attorney who is licensed here. There is no way that lawyer handles a lot of work comp cases in the part of IL where the claim is going to be heard, so his taking the case on is not in the best interests of the client.
On the flip side, there’s nothing wrong with a Quad Cities Iowa lawyer taking a case in Rock Island as long as they have the relevant work comp experience. The same holds true for me with work comp attorneys in St. Louis who practice just over the boarder. It’s so close to Illinois and there are enough cases that a MO attorney could have the right amount of experience with IL work comp that he/she wouldn’t be hurting the client.
On the flip side, while I almost never see an Indiana attorney trying to take a case in Illinois, the amount of travel they’d have to do to get to court, along with the fact that Indiana work comp is so bad that they probably don’t do enough of it to make work comp their sole focus, leads me to believe that if you hire an IN attorney for an IL case you are likely making a huge mistake.
It kind of works the same way for Wisconsin because there aren’t major cities on the boarder towns. That means that it’s more likely that an out of state attorney would only dabble in work comp which is not what you want.
The bottom line is that an out of state attorney can take a case here, but unless they are close to where the case is going to be heard and more importantly have a ton of experience with Illinois cases and are up to date on IL laws, they aren’t the right choice for you. As soon as an insurance adjuster or defense attorney sees an out of state lawyer it raises a red flag for them and if they think they can use this to their advantage, they will even when they aren’t in the right.