I have been an Illinois workers comp attorney for 26 years and rarely get shocked, but it happens. When it does it’s usually when an injured worker calls me and tells me something that their attorney, the insurance company or their employer is doing. Boy did I hear a doozy recently.
An injured worker with a terrible back injury went to a law firm in Chicago for advice and they agreed to represent him. They insisted that he go to see their doctor and treat with them. It’s surely one of those situations where the doctor sends the lawyer clients and the lawyer feels they need to do a “quid pro quo” and send his clients to the doctor. Otherwise the referral spigot may dry up.
What happened in this case though is shocking. The case got denied after an IME and allegedly the attorney called the doctor and told them to discharge the patient and stop treating them. If this happened, my guess is it was because the lawyer knew that the doctor’s bills wouldn’t be paid any time soon. Meanwhile, the worker reported that they have trouble getting out of bed and have shooting pains going from their back down their leg.
In other words, it appears that this lawyer is more concerned about their golden goose referring doctor than they are about doing a good job for their client. There’s work to be done, but the lawyer’s job is to get the case ready for trial and present evidence that their client is disabled due to a work accident. Given the symptoms this client has, it shouldn’t be that hard.
I’ve heard of this happening in car accident cases when insurance is limited. It’s scummy and shocking their too. But in work comp there is no limit to how much insurance will have to pay for medical care. You get what’s related and reasonable.
If you don’t know any doctors, there’s nothing wrong with asking you attorney who a reputable orthopedic doctor is. Most lawyers will give a couple of names and let you make a choice. If your attorney is insistent that you see a certain doctor, that’s nuts. There will never be a pure motivation behind that type of behavior. There will always be something in it for them. That’s the sign of a terrible lawyer, the type of attorney you shouldn’t work with.
I can’t even begin to try and relate to an attorney who would behave this way. It’s almost like something out of a terrible movie that horribly plays on the worst lawyer stereotypes. If your attorney pressures you like this, I highly recommend that you fire them. And as always, if you have any questions you can call us any time at 312-346-5578.