There is a REALLY bad Chicago workers’ compensation law firm. They advertise a ton, assign young attorneys to many of their cases, have a lot of turnover and deliver terrible customer service. I know this because I am repeatedly told the same story by their unhappy clients. We get about 4-5 calls from their clients on an average week and one week I had 11(!) of their clients call me.
In my opinion, they don’t care about their clients and worry more about their relationships with doctors who refer them cases. They do this by telling their clients to go see certain doctors and these clients unknowingly follow along, at times killing their case.
Rumor has it that they are now using some south side “neck and back clinic” place for a lot of their injured workers. Two of the recent callers to my office had gone there and something really odd happened with both of them.
Reportedly the doctor ordered a functional capacity exam (FCE) very early on in the treatment. I’ve never seen that happen because an FCE is typically done when your treatment is over and a doctor is trying to determine your permanent restrictions. For one of the clients, she needed back surgery. The other had herniated discs in his neck. As a result they both “failed” the FCE because giving a consistent effort was not a possibility.
Based on the failed FCE, which never should have taken place, the insurance company cut off these clients. The attorneys of course have done nothing to correct the case problems and the workers have been without benefits for many months.
If you read my blog you will know that I don’t believe in attorneys requiring a client to treat with a certain doctor. It almost always seems to be a situation where they are more interested in referring cases to each other than worrying about the injured client. When I started practicing law I worked at a defense firm and took the deposition of a doctor who was treating a woman three times a week at his clinic. After about six months of care, the insurance company cut her off. He continued to treat her and on a Monday she rated her pain as an 4 out of ten and his notes said she needed one more month of physical therapy. The next day he learned he wouldn’t get paid anymore. She came in on Wednesday and rated her pain as an 8 out of 10, and he said that she was fine and discharged her. That’s an extreme example, but not surprising.
The bottom line is that if your attorney is telling you what doctor to see, it’s a red flag, and if they are asking you to have a FCE within the first six months after your injury, you should really question it. It makes no sense to me why this would ever happen, and sadly in these two cases, it has really hurt two injured workers.