I’ll talk to anyone for free about any Illinois work-related injury. Often this involves speaking to people who already have an attorney. In those situations, I confidentially talk to them about their case and try to figure out if their lawyer is doing a good job. Believe it or not, I often tell people they have a great lawyer, but the attorney isn’t doing a good job explaining things. Or I offer tips on what they can ask their attorney. Other times I let them know that I think their attorney is terrible and offer to help them get better representation on their case. It costs nothing to switch lawyers.
Usually, when I tell someone to switch firms, it’s because of one of three things: 1. I know their attorney and have seen their work. 2. The lawyer is not communicating well, and it doesn’t seem like the relationship is fixable. 3. The attorney appears to not be fighting for the client, and I think that a new lawyer can make the situation better.
Every now and then, I hear concerns from injured workers that seem valid to them, but in reality likely are nothing to be worried about. Near the top of the list is a belief that their lawyer is too good of friends with the defense attorney. It’s usually something like this:
I most definitely know was case has been held up deliberately by my attorney who told me that the workers comp attorney was his friend .
I’m here to tell you that not only is this nothing to worry about, but it’s also a good thing. Insurance company attorneys often are the reason your benefits are delayed or denied. Having started my career at an insurance defense firm way back in 1997, I can tell you I’ve seen first hand that when the defense lawyer doesn’t like the worker’s attorney, they will play games at times. In other words, if they don’t like your lawyer, maybe they don’t respond to their letter or phone call right away. Maybe they play hardball a bit more even when they shouldn’t. The person who gets hurt by that bad relationship is you.
On the flip side, if the two attorneys are friends, calls get returned and answers are given. That doesn’t mean that your attorney will sell you out or the defense attorney won’t do their job. It just means that your benefits won’t get delayed due to two people that don’t like each other getting into a pissing match. I’ve seen this happen countless times.
And now with Covid where attorneys aren’t in court as much as we used to be, it’s more important than ever that your attorney have good relationships when they can. Prior to March of 2020, you’d be at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission multiple times a week. If there was a lawyer you wanted to discuss a case with, you might bump into them and get answers even if they’d been avoiding you. Now in-person appearances are rare, and when you are there, very few attorneys are present. So having good relationships can really help your clients. In fact, I worry for younger lawyers who are going to have problems making these connections.
Bottom line is that there are many times you should be worried that your Illinois workers’ compensation attorney isn’t doing the best job for you possible. But them being friends with the defense attorney isn’t one of them.
And if this post didn’t make you feel better or you just have questions, please call us for free any time at 312-346-5578.