We are willing to offer people second opinions on their case. Quite often the attorneys are doing the right thing, but just not explaining things very well. Other times we see that a lawyer is being really lazy or just doesn’t know what they are doing. Or worse, they are just assholes or provide no customer service. In some of those cases, we discuss taking over. Sometimes it’s too late to do that such as when there is a significant settlement offer. And sometimes we can help get a better lawyer on the case and turn things around.

The biggest mistake you can make is waiting too long when you know your lawyer isn’t doing right by you. That happened with a recent caller to our office who wanted a second opinion. And it was not just his lawyer who did him dirty, but his doctor too.

This worker had hurt his back on the job and hired a big Chicago law firm. For whatever reason, they told this worker to go see a specific doctor that they work with on cases. That to me is always a red flag as it indicates that the doctor and lawyer refer patients/clients back and forth to each other. When that happens they tend to look out for each other, not what’s best for the injured worker.

As an aside, a lot of these doctors seem to be in Palos. I have no idea why, but it’s something I’ve noticed over the years.

Long story short is he was getting the care he needed, but then the insurance company sent him to an IME who said the injury wasn’t work related. Because he wasn’t going to get paid any more, the doctor abruptly ended his medical care and released him to return to work. He was in tremendous pain, but had to try working. This resulted in him quitting his job and finding work elsewhere that was more light duty. And of course, that job paid less.

He asked the attorney for help and an explanation as to why the doctor would discharge him the week after he said he needed six more weeks of physical therapy and maybe surgery. The attorney never gave an answer, and the doctor wouldn’t see him again.

So basically, those two showed that they don’t care about the worker or what the truth is. They moved on to the next case. And now the lawyer is telling the worker to take a small settlement, even though he’s still in pain and has been paying for medical care partly out of his own pocket.

I wish this was an isolated incident, but sadly it happens all the time. Attorneys make money by getting clients, so some are willing to make deals with doctors in order to help their own careers. In other words, if you are an associate lawyer at a firm, that firm will pay you more if you are bringing your own cases in. You’ll get a cut of those cases on top of your normal salary. So they’ll look out for themselves because by getting you to the doctor, it means the doctor will likely get someone to them.

Bottom line, you don’t have to go to the doctor your lawyer wants you to see and you usually shouldn’t. Get an independent and reputable orthopedic doctor in your corner that doesn’t have a conflict of interest. Get a doctor who has an established medical practice already and won’t change their opinion about your health because they don’t think they’ll get paid any time soon. And run away from any lawyer who clearly isn’t looking out for you and do it before it’s too late to get a new one.