You may see the subject line and think, “That can’t be right at all …” but hear me out.
Let’s assume that things have gone pretty well for you so far: you have gotten your disability checks while you were off work, your medical expenses have gotten paid, and they made you an offer. You’re thinking about it, but just don’t know …
You’re thinking about running it by a lawyer, but the big concern that you have is that the lawyer will end up taking all the money. And let’s face it – it’s sad but true that lawyers have a terrible reputation and at least some of that has been earned. After all, just about everyone has heard the joke about what do you call 1,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean.
Here’s the deal: in Illinois, when you have an offer in writing, the lawyer will only get paid a fee on whatever additional money they get for you when the case is finally settled.
Lawyer fees on the permanency portion of your case are normally 20% of the settlement, so if you get an offer of $80,000 on your case, the lawyer’s fee would be $16,000.
Now if the insurance company offered you $75,000 and after you hire a lawyer, he gets a final settlement for you of $80,000, the lawyer is only allowed to charge the 20% fee on the extra $5,000 he got for you, so the total fee on the $80,000 settlement would be $1,000.
What does that mean? It certainly doesn’t hurt to contact a lawyer after you have an offer in writing from the insurance company to see what they think. It is hard to evaluate a case properly without having all of the information about your medical care and your wages, but an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer should get a sense quickly as to whether the amount being offered is off-base.
Does that mean that you should hold out and not hire a lawyer at all until you get an offer in writing? Not by a long shot – and here’s why …
1. An offer may never come at all and they are just waiting you out until the statute of limitations expires and then they get away with paying you nothing.
2. There may times where your benefits get cut off during the course of your case. There are procedures for getting them reinstated, but these things take time, and when you are cut off from your disability checks or access to quality medical care, every day counts.
There are probably lots of other reasons, but those are the big ones. Not getting quality legal help to save money on lawyer fees is often an example of being penny wise and pound foolish. Abraham Lincoln had a saying that only a fool would have himself as a client, and that is especially true when you are not familiar with all of the medical and legal issues in your case.
If you have a current worker’s compensation issue which you need help on, please feel free to reach out to our office by calling us at 312-263-1080 to discuss your issues and what options you have. There is no obligation to hire our law firm, and there is no charge for the call.
I hope this has been helpful, and if you know anyone who can benefit from this kind of information, please feel free to share this information.
We are here to help truck drivers after an on-the-job accident. Knowledge is power, and the first step in protecting your rights is to know what they are.