I recently had a live chat with an injured worker who told me that he wants to hire the best workers compensation attorney in Illinois. That’s a request we get a lot. Because he was injured in southern Illinois, we referred him to a great lawyer down there. It’s important, in my opinion, to get a lawyer who regularly handles cases in the area of the State where you were hurt.
When I explained to this worker that this lawyer was great for work comp, he responded with a question I hadn’t been asked for, but that I bet a lot of people think about. He asked me if being a work comp lawyer is the same as being a regular injury lawyer.
The best way to explain it is that all work comp attorneys in Illinois are injury lawyers, but not all injury lawyers are work comp attorneys.
Workers compensation is a part of injury law. The laws and rules for handling those cases are unlike any other area of injury law. We have Arbitrations, not trials. There are no juries. Doctors testify via deposition, not in person. There isn’t discovery. Fault doesn’t matter. Negligence doesn’t matter. The attorney fees are different. I could go on and on.
Because of how different work comp law is in Illinois, most attorneys I know will say they are a work comp attorney, not an injury attorney. When I hear someone say they handle personal injury, to me that means car accidents, slip and falls, helping sexual abuse victims, and other accident/negligence situations. It’s not that those lawyers couldn’t handle a work comp case. They could. But I think you will find that if a lawyer is handling a lot of car accident cases, they likely only dabble in work comp if they handle it at all.
And when it comes to your case, you don’t want a dabbler. You want an attorney whose main focus is helping injured workers. As I said, the law and how it is handled is different than other accident claims and the laws are constantly changing. So if your lawyer isn’t really paying attention they might not be aware of something that can really have a big impact on your case.
I have sadly seen too many injured workers in Illinois lose out on tens of thousands of dollars in their settlement and had their case not go well because they hired the wrong type of injury attorney. If your lawyer isn’t mainly or exclusively handling work comp cases, they aren’t the best choice for you.
As always, if you want to speak with an attorney for free about a case, you can call us any time at 312-346-5578. We help everywhere in Illinois.