A couple months ago, a Cook County jury awarded a woman more than $148 million after she became paralyzed when a structure at O’Hare airport came loose during a storm and landed on her. Her verdict against the City of Chicago was the largest I’ve ever seen in an Illinois personal injury case.
In reading about the history of the case, I learned that the City attorneys had offered $30 million to settle the case before trial. That is a really large number and if she took it, it likely would have been one of the three biggest results in 2017.
She, through her attorneys, turned the offer down. While the liability in this case was a slam dunk as the City admitted they were negligent (the bolts on the structure were missing) it takes a lot of guts to turn down a number that big. It’s possible that a jury could have awarded $10 million and even then that would have been a large result.
I bring this up because most lawyers will never get a $30 million offer to settle a case. She was fortunate that she’d hired one of the top personal injury law firms in Chicago. I’d estimate that there are maybe seven or eight firms that have the experience to handle an injury this severe and the confidence and intelligence to turn down such a large settlement offer. For smaller firms or those without a big track record, their looking out for the client would be competing against their self interest of an eight figure pay day. Firms that have handled and won these cases before don’t make these decisions based on what’s good for their bottom line, but what’s good for the client.
The point is that if you want to get the best lawyer in Chicago or wherever in Illinois for your case, that doesn’t mean you hire the first attorney you can find. I guarantee that any personal injury law firm in the country would have wanted this case. What the victim did was make sure that she was with a firm that understood her injuries and knew how to maximize recovery by getting a proper investigation team on the scene. They weren’t intimidated by the City attorneys or any of the games they played.
We exist and have so for over 16 years to help you find the best lawyer for you for your case. The ones that deal with major injuries like this aren’t the right choice if you have $10,000 in medical bills and are for the most part better. And those smaller firms aren’t the best choice for catastrophic cases. They’d like a bigger case and they might even have a few seven figure cases in their background. But the truth is that certain cases are worth more in the hands of certain firms.
So how do you make the right decision?
- You have to be aware and honest about what your case is really about.
- You have to know if there’s anything unique about your case such as an accident with a semi-truck or if it’s a divorce, a spouse who owns a business.
- You have to think about your individual goals.
- You have to understand track records of law firms and what is real and what is marketing b.s.
This might not sound easy and in some cases it’s not. You usually don’t know you made the wrong decision until it’s too late. We started our FREE service in 2001 to help people figure out who the right lawyer is for their case. We’d be happy to help you make the right decision for you. Call us for a no cost, confidential consultation any time (800-517-1614) or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you. We cover all of Illinois.