I recently had a phone call from a suburban police officer who was injured when she was hit by a car on the job. She has two potential claims. The first is obviously a workers’ compensation case. The second is a lawsuit against the driver that caused the accident which resulted in a severe head injury.
I assumed the office wanted to discuss the work comp case, but really they only wanted to talk about the car accident. The insurance company for the other party was being very aggressive and wanted a recorded statement and this officer knew not to do that.
When I brought up the work comp which will provide compensation for their time off work and payment of medical bills, they didn’t want to discuss it. The officer said that under their union contract they had to work with a certain law firm so they couldn’t discuss that case with me.
In 24 years of being an attorney, I can tell you that this is the first time I heard this. And the reason that I never heard it is because that would be illegal. No union can make you hire a specific lawyer or anyone at all. Nobody can do this They can certainly suggest or recommend, but can’t require it.
My suspicion is that the union heads are very forceful and whoever the law firm is that they want you to use are wining and dining them heavily. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there were big financial payoffs, trips, gifts, etc to incentivize these union leaders to push these lawyers. Those gifts are illegal which tells you about the moral compass of the attorneys they want you to hire.
Of course, that means you should ask yourself, why does someone want a certain lawyer (or doctor in some cases) to be involved in my case? In almost every instance it’s not because it’s about what is best for you, but rather about what is best for them. That is a huge red flag.
That doesn’t mean the lawyers they want you to use are bad at their job. They might not be. But everyone is different just as every case is different. And if they were doing right by you, they’d tell you that you should hire whatever law firm you are most comfortable with.
One reason we created our state-wide network is because the one size fits all approach to lawyering is outdated. You are unique and so is your case. Who you should work with depends on your needs and what is best for you.
If you want to speak to an attorney for free, you can call us any time at 312-346-5578.