While people call me to help them find a lawyer, I actually offer two services with my website. It’s lawyer referrals AND legal guidance. By that I mean that I will give you my opinion of what should happen on your case and often that means telling you that you don’t need a lawyer.
Some people aren’t happy with that advice and are usually talking out of emotion instead of logic. A good lawyer takes the emotion out of a situation and offers objective advice. So for example, I had someone call me who was furious that their friend had borrowed $200.00 from them and hadn’t paid it back. They wanted an attorney no matter what it costs because to them this was about justice.
I tried to reason with them and make clear that while they could sue their former friend in small claims court, paying an attorney would be a waste. They’d likely spend $1,500.00 or more to recover $200.00 which when you aren’t angry clearly makes no sense.
There are hundreds of other examples I could give. Sometimes small claims court makes sense. Other times (especially if you live out of state), you just have to take the loss and move on.
Even in more serious matters, sometimes getting a lawyer isn’t worth it. For example, when someone calls us for an Illinois medical malpractice attorney, we can agree that a doctor or hospital was negligent, but also end up telling you that we don’t know a lawyer for your case. That’s because many people don’t have (fortunately for them) big damages which would justify the costs of a malpractice lawsuit.
In other words, it can cost more than $100,000.00 to go to trial in a medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois. Just because a doctor was negligent does not mean that their insurance company will pay you anything voluntarily. So if we sue that doctor and you have only $50,000.00 in damages, we’d likely have to spend more than we can recover to take on the case which makes it not worth the while. Essentially we’d be going to trial in order to get our expenses back. You’d end up with nothing in the end.
In those situations small claims court isn’t a realistic option so all you can do is report the doctor to the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations, but realistically nothing is going to happen.
None of this is fair of course, but while we want justice in every instance where it’s possible, the hard truth is that just doesn’t happen.