A caller to my office was rightfully upset with his Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.
His case was settled, the contracts were signed and approved by the Arbitrator. Once that happens they get sent to the insurance company for payment. That should take 2-3 weeks usually for them to issue a check to your attorney.
All of that happened and everything was looking good. His attorney got the check, but then told him that it takes a month for the bank to process and approve the check and that he’d get paid then.
Checks from insurance companies are like any check you’ve ever received except better because they are usually issued from a billion dollar company. At most they take 5-7 business days to get processed and for the funds to clear in your attorney’s client trust account. Once that happens your lawyer can write you a check for your settlement less their 20% fee and any costs they have.
So why is this attorney lying?
My guess is that it’s because he’s part of a big law firm in Chicago that is rumored to be breaking up and the individual lawyers are looking out for their own bottom lines instead of what’s best for the clients. In other words, if a firm has 10 partners who split everything equally, if five of them leave, they will have a harder time making a claim for that money. So the partners who are staying might be motivated to hold some checks until their soon to be ex partners take off.
If this is the reason it’s immoral and pathetic. When you represent injured workers you have to put their needs above anyone else and certainly above your own.
If you are the client in a situation like this, you have to keep on your lawyer and not feel bad about calling every day if you aren’t getting answers or returned phone calls.
The only better advice I can give about Illinois work comp settlements is to not settle before you are as good as you are going to get medically because once you settle, that case is closed forever. You can not re-open a closed case in Illinois. Also, if you aren’t happy with a settlement offer, don’t let yourself be rushed and don’t take it. You can always go to trial and get compensated that way.
And if your lawyer is sketchy as appears to be the case in this situation, file a complaint at IARDC.org.
No matter your situation, we are happy to help and will always talk to you for free. Call us at (800) 517-1614 or fill out our contact form to the right and we’ll call you.