I have lots of strong opinions and I tell it like I see it. And in my opinion, a Chicago work comp law firm is doing something really unethical that is a huge conflict of interest and they are putting their clients at risk.
They have an office in the suburbs that is connected to a physical therapy facility and from what I’ve been told, they are sending their clients to that facility for treatment. Essentially you can see your attorney and walk down the hall to get medical treatment.
In my opinion this is a huge conflict. I started my career as an insurance defense attorney, and if you are going to represent injured workers, it’s important to know how insurance companies think. They are looking for any reason to deny a case and in a situation like this it certainly appears that the medical treatment down the hall is a “tit for tat” type situation. When your lawyer has a personal relationship with a medical provider, it’s going to be assumed that the medical provider isn’t objective.
So what can happen in a case like this is a valid claim can get denied or delayed just based on the appearance of impropriety. The other issue is that when an insurance company or Arbitrator sees the same medical provider connected to this law firm on dozens of cases, it can appear as if the fix is in.
As a result, the client can get hurt, just because they listened to their lawyer.
This doesn’t surprise me as this firm has been known for making relationships with doctors and others and not giving the best service to their clients. They make it really hard to get a lawyer on the phone, they don’t answer questions, they lie to their clients and create false expectations. They also really encourage clients to use these medical facilities without making clear that it’s potentially going to hurt the case.
I learned of this recently when a very smart injured worker hired them and realized quickly that the way they operated didn’t seem ethical. I always encourage people to stick with their law firms if they can, but also to not delay switching once they realize that their attorney doesn’t have their back.
The good news it that most law firms in Illinois are ethical and wouldn’t do something like this. The bad news is that the ones that do give the rest a bad name.
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