A very nice guy called us. He had injured his rotator cuff while working in Schaumburg. At first the insurance company was paying all of his medical bills and time off work, but suddenly they stopped doing that without any apparent reason.
He was hoping that I could find him a free lawyer because he didn’t think he could afford anyone by the hour since he was not working and not getting paid.
There is no such thing as a free work comp attorney, but the good news is that you don’t have to pay them by the hour either. By Illinois law, lawyers for job accidents have to work on a contingency basis which means that there is no fee unless they make a recovery.
The fee is limited to 20% of what is recovered. Typically that means 20% of an eventual settlement or trial verdict. The attorneys we know don’t take 20% of your medical bills or lost time benefits (TTD) unless they have to go to trial on your behalf. So if your settlement is for $100,000, the lawyer would get 20k.
Depending on your situation and how large the case is, there is an overall cap on lawyer fees. Attorneys can also be limited to just $100 in certain claims.
I will say that you almost never see an injured worker end up with less money by hiring a lawyer even after the 20%. This is especially true with cases after September 1, 2011 when the Work Comp Act was changed. You almost always get more and of course you have someone looking out for you.
If you have any questions about these fees or need an attorney referral, please let us know.
Written by Michael Helfand