Your Lawyer Didn't Write The Illinois Work Comp Laws


Some Illinois work comp attorneys will say anything in order to get a client to hire them. There’s one that tells you the value of your case right away even though they are making it up and say outrageous numbers that will never happen. There is another who likes to talk about how they’ve never lost a case which is not true and misleading.

The one I heard recently really takes the cake for deception. A very badly injured worker called me looking for a second opinion. He told me that he believes he has a great lawyer, but he’s not happy with how his attorney has treated him lately. That of course didn’t make sense to me so I asked what makes him think that the lawyer is great.

His response was that he was told that his attorney “literally wrote the Illinois workers comp laws.” That would be amazing if true, but would also make that attorney the oldest living person in the history of the world.

Illinois work comp laws were created in 1911. They have evolved over the years from the Industrial Board, to the Industrial Commission to what is now know as the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Every year there are changes to the laws and every now and then (most recently in 2006 and 2011) there are major overhauls in how the law works.

It’s true that work comp attorneys play a role in shaping these laws. So do insurance companies, the Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and many other groups.

It’s accurate for some attorneys to say that they played a role in some of the law changes. For any one to claim that they wrote the Illinois work comp laws is nuts. It’s a flat out lie and very deceitful in my opinion.

Not all of these changes have been favorable to injured workers. If your lawyer tells you that he wrote Illinois work comp laws, ask him why he put in damage caps on carpal tunnel claims, the only injury capped by law? They of course don’t want to take credit for bad things that have happened as of late, they just want you to think they are really smart, important and give you a better chance of winning.

Some of these lawyers are great and some are terrible. One who is heavily involved seems to have lost his desire to practice law because we get calls from his unhappy clients all of the time.

I get why someone saying these things would seem impressive and if you “literally wrote the Illinois workers comp laws” if would be a big deal. The truth is that there’s not one lawyer who can honestly say that and when they say it to trick you in to hiring them it’s a bad thing. And it’s even worse when they trick you and then do a terrible job for you.

By Mike Helfand

Courtesy of Illinois Workers Compensation Law Blog

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