I got a call the other day from someone who wanted help with a copyright violation. They had read my blog, liked how I talked and said I was the type of lawyer they were looking for since I broke things down in plain English. I was flattered and thanked them, but then did what I always do which is give them the honest truth. I don’t know the first thing about copyright law and would be a terrible choice for them.

They tried to talk me into it, but I gave the example that you wouldn’t want your doctor who delivers babies to do your back surgery, so you shouldn’t want an Illinois workers compensation attorney to handle your intellectual property case. The light clicked on in their head, they realized I was the wrong attorney for them and then they said something that cracked me up:

I get it. It’s just like I wouldn’t go to McDonalds and try and order the lasagna.

Point being, of course, is that you wouldn’t ask a burger place to make you Italian food. And you shouldn’t try to hire an attorney who doesn’t focus on the area of law that is relevant to your case.

I see this all of the time unfortunately, and I get a lot of calls and emails for help from Illinois attorneys who are dabbling in workers compensation cases and have bitten off more than they can chew. There are simply too many lawyers who are taking on cases that they shouldn’t. They essentially want to go through the trial and error of handling a case by working on yours.

A lot of them do this because they underestimate how hard it will be. They don’t know what they don’t know, and if they go up against an experienced defense attorney, they will be at a big disadvantage. A lawyer who has been doing nothing but work comp for ten years, even a bad one, will know what an 8(a) petition is, as well as a Section 12 examination. They will know about the rate adjustment fund and how to properly file for penalties and fees. They will also be up to date on current case law and know things like shoulder injuries fall under man as a whole for settlement.

The things I stated might sound confusing to you and they should as this isn’t what you’ve been trained to deal with. And they would sound confusing to a lawyer that doesn’t know about Illinois workers comp laws. Even if they are handling personal injury cases they wouldn’t know as that’s a completely different court system.

Your attorney should be able to demonstrate a track record of being involved in hundreds of prior cases. They should know the medicine behind work comp injuries and the laws that govern them. It’s what gives you the worker the best chance of success. And without that, you are ordering lasagna at McDonalds.