One thing I pride myself in is that I’ll tell you if you don’t need a lawyer and I’ll tell you if you do need one. Not everybody does, but others certainly do. If you do need one, I’ll tell you why and it won’t be so I can make a fee off of your case. It will be because it’s in your best interests and your case and pocketbook will be better in the end.
Ultimately of course it’s up to you as to whether or not to hire a lawyer that I think is good for you, someone else you found on your own, or nobody. For some people, if they don’t hire anyone, it will likely mean less money in their pocket, but maybe somewhere around 10-20k. That’s a lot of money, but maybe not life-altering. For others though, the failure to hire an attorney will not only result in a settlement that is more than $100,000.00 less than they would have ended up had they hired a lawyer, but also their health will be at risk due to interference from the insurance company.
There are people who just don’t like lawyers. For some maybe they had a bad divorce experience or got screwed over by a terrible attorney in another case. For others, including one I recently talked to, they’ve never actually worked with a lawyer, but have a perception in their mind about how terrible attorneys are.
In this case, a guy who has had two back surgeries, including a debilitating fusion, has been dealing with a work comp case for over eight years. I didn’t even get to talk to him. I just heard him yelling in the background while his wife called to try and find out what the case is worth. In the process, I learned that he hadn’t returned to work, needs another surgery, and has had multiple issues over the years with delayed TTD checks and medical procedures that were not approved in a timely manner. In other words, he has let the insurance company walk all over him.
The reason he let this happen is “I hate lawyers and will never work with one.” Ok. I don’t know what bad experience he had, but this is a cutting off your nose to spite your face situation. I tried to make clear that no matter what bad experience he’s had, we are different. It didn’t work.
I couldn’t answer their main question about what the case is worth because the reality is he’s not better. I can tell you that the insurance company is talking about offering around $90,000.00 and it wouldn’t surprise me if the case is worth at least five times that amount ultimately. So sadly what I see happening is that he will settle for a woefully low amount, have no job, no income, and still be in terrible pain. This will of course make him angrier at the system and probably attorneys too.
It’s frustrating for me because this person needs help and we really can help him. And that’s really what we enjoy doing.
I get that there are a lot of bad lawyers out there and there’s a perception that attorneys are terrible. Sometimes it’s deserved, sometimes it’s not. But I can assure you whether it’s us or someone else, there really are a lot of great Illinois work comp firms out there who can help you and who you will enjoy working with.