One thing that really frustrates me as an attorney is other law firms that don’t take 5-10 minutes to explain the law to their clients. It shows that they don’t care and aren’t great at their jobs.
This came up after a truck driver called me about his work comp case. He got injured out of state making a delivery and when he reported his accident, the trouble started. He wasn’t able to drive the truck and his employer ghosted him, leaving him stranded. They then didn’t turn in his work comp case to their insurance which delayed his medical care and cost him money out of pocket.
The worker hired an attorney for the work comp case, but is livid at how the employer treated him. He says they’ve done it to other drivers too and wanted to sue them for pain and suffering. He also wanted to punish them to send a message. He’s really pissed.
He asked his attorney to go after pain and suffering and the answer was “we don’t do that.” That’s a terrible answer.
The proper answer would have been to explain that you can’t sue your employer for negligence under Illinois law and that pain and suffering isn’t allowed under Illinois workers compensation law. I did this and while the worker didn’t like the answer, he asked some good questions, eventually understood what the law was and was satisfied. We discussed further some options which included calling the Department of Transportation or filing a complaint with OSHA.
The reality is that this worker is very frustrated which is understandable. They really just wanted someone to listen which took less than ten minutes and is their attorney’s job. Because the lawyer wouldn’t do it, the client became even more frustrated and started to think this was a big conspiracy.
Pain and suffering is regrettably not part of Illinois worker comp cases no matter how much pain you are in or how badly you were treated. But when you get a settlement, the pain you went through is a consideration of what a case is worth. So you likely will get compensated for pain and suffering, it just won’t be called that. And while you can’t sue the employer or insurance company for treating you poorly, if medical care was wrongly denied, as it was in this case, you can file for penalties and attorney fees as part of the work comp case.
This is basic work comp stuff that for whatever reason the attorney didn’t explain. And those types of lawyers really drive me crazy.