The biggest problem people have with their Illinois workers compensation lawyers is bad customer service. Some lawyers are rude. Others don’t fight hard. And many are terrible about keeping their clients updated or returning phone calls.
I’ve heard lots of stories about an attorney not returning multiple phone calls or failing to get back to a client for a couple of weeks. That is inexcusable and a reason to fire the lawyer, but it does seem to happen a lot. What I heard from a recent caller though was unprecedented until I heard the same thing from a different worker a day later.
A woman called me about a recent work accident she was in. We discussed the case and because she works five hours from Chicago, I connected her with a great southern Illinois work comp attorney I work with on cases. While talking to her, I noticed that she had a case from a 2018 accident in which she had hired a different law firm. We brought up that case and she said that she hadn’t heard back from that law firm for two and a half years!
I can’t even imagine how this is possible. In the very least, work comp cases have status hearings every 90 days or so. It’s the job of your lawyer if they aren’t talking to you about other case issues to let you know that a status hearing happened and what the next status date will be. They also should be seeking out updates related to your health or other cases issues. If they don’t know your case and what is going on, they can’t properly represent you. It’s certainly up to the client to be an active communicator as well, but if you don’t hear from a client for a while, you need to get in touch.
This is customer service 101. It’s not taught in law school, but it’s basis or at least it should be. From a selfish standpoint, that law firm isn’t going to get paid unless they settle the case. They can’t do that if they aren’t talking to their client. It blows me away that this could even happen once.
Yet it happened at least twice because the next day I heard from someone who hired a completely different firm in the Chicago area and hadn’t heard from them for just over two years. She had left messages without a call back. My best guess is that her original attorney left the firm and the case has gotten lost in the shuffle since then. Nobody feels connected to the case since they weren’t with this client from the beginning. Again it’s just shameful.
While these are extreme examples, they are a symptom of a bigger problem. Some attorneys don’t think the clients matter. That is wrong and you should not stand for it. If your lawyer isn’t getting back to you then you need to move on from them.