When you hire a lawyer for an Illinois workers’ compensation claim, you reasonably can expect them to help you from the beginning to the end of the case. Most cases don’t go to trial, but it can happen and that is part of your lawyer’s job. It’s really basic stuff.

There are some Illinois work comp lawyers who just don’t like to go to trial. It does take some prep work and keeps you from working on other cases, so they will recommend settlements for less than the case is worth and maybe go to trial once or twice a year. I’ve seen lawyers brag about not going to trial at all in a calendar year.

But there’s one work comp attorney who takes the cake in the shamefulness department. 20 years ago they were a strong advocate for injured workers. Now they are in their 70’s and still signing up cases, but they will not go to trial. Ever. The problem is that they know this, but won’t tell you the injured client until it becomes clear the case needs to go to trial.

Their strategy for handling the problem is even worse. Per a very credible sounding caller to my office, this lawyer told him that she doesn’t try cases and to just show up to court on a certain date and meet a certain lawyer. No documents were signed which is highly unethical as is the fact that this new attorney actually tried the case without preparing the injured worker or meeting with them before the day in question.

Typically your lawyer, who knows your case, will prepare the questions they want to ask you and go over them with you in advance of trial. They want to know how you will answer, make you feel prepared, correct you if you are rambling on and generally increase your chances of the best result possible. None of that happened with my caller.

It’s really shocking. If you don’t want to take cases to trial or to refer out potential clients to other lawyers just retire. It’s better for everyone involved.

What you as a worker can do is make sure to ask any attorney if they will take your case to trial if needed. It would be stunning if they say no, but some will or will hem and haw which is a red flag that they aren’t the best fit for you. They should want to avoid a trial if they can, but they have to be willing to do one if necessary.

This was really a jaw dropping call for me. I knew this older lawyer doesn’t take cases to trial, but had no idea that they would really screw the worker the way they did.