One thing I try to constantly remind myself when talking to people who have been injured at work in Illinois is that they shouldn’t be expected to have any experience with the Illinois work comp system or knowledge about IL work injury laws.
There are a lot of basics that I wish everyone knew, but the number one on that list would be the costs of an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney.
No matter what your injury is or who your employer is, there is never an up front cost to hire an Illinois work comp lawyer. That goes for the best law firms and the worst ones. It’s illegal to charge by the hour or ask for an up front fee if you are representing an injured worker.
Attorney fees in Illinois are 20% of what the lawyer recovers for a settlement for you at the end of the case. In other words everyone can afford a lawyer because there is nothing to pay.
There are some small expenses in Illinois work injury claims, usually just for getting your medical records. In most cases the total expenses are under $100. But whatever the costs are, the attorney fronts the money and gets reimbursed out of the settlement.
So no matter who you are or who you work for, you can afford an attorney if injured on the job.
The other big myth is that if you work for a giant company that they will be too hard to beat. That’s simply not true. Illinois work comp cases are won and lost based on the facts of how you got hurt, what your doctor says and how good your attorney is. While billion dollar companies can afford good defense lawyers, they aren’t going to spend $100,000.00 to fight a case worth $50,000.00.
I recently had an injured worker tell me that they quit their job and didn’t pursue a work comp case because they felt their company was just too big and powerful to go against. Their lack of knowledge caused them to just give up. I really wish they wouldn’t have done that.
Almost every work comp case I’ve ever seen is one lawyer for the worker versus one lawyer for the insurance company. We don’t go up against a “team of attorneys” and even if we did it wouldn’t change anything. Illinois work comp claims aren’t so complex that a team would be able to do anything that an individual couldn’t do on their own. No company is too big or too powerful to go against. In fact the biggest companies that employ the most people pay out on hundreds of claims a year.
Bottom line is that most of the things people worry about aren’t truly things that should concern them. That’s OK. We don’t expect you to know these things, but are always happy to talk to you at no cost about what you are going through and what your options are.