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When people call me looking for an attorney referral, I hear two things a lot: 1. “I want the best lawyer.” 2. “I don’t want to travel.” One of the most searched phrases that leads people to our website is “Who is the best workers compensation lawyer near me?”
While it sounds like it should be a simple question, if you really want what is best for you, your case and your long term health, please believe me when I tell you it’s not so simple.
First off, “best” for one person may not be “best” for you. There are so many factors. What is your injury? How much experience does that attorney have with that type of injury? Do you need someone who speaks a foreign language? Will you mesh well with someone who has an aggressive personality or do you need a lawyer that is more of a hand holder and compassionate? Will your case likely need to go to trial? What defenses does the insurance company have?
The truth is, especially in bigger cities, there are many attorneys who could get a good result for you. But the top one for your case will depend on a lot of those factors I mentioned. And something I’ve learned in almost 20 years of running this site is that if you just got injured and it’s not clear if you are seriously hurt or not, some “top” firms will assign your case to a young lawyer. If it turns out that you are seriously injured, you are likely stuck with that young attorney who certainly isn’t best for you.
As far as getting a lawyer near you, that is understandable, but something you should not worry about. Most cases, even before Covid, are handled by phone calls and emails. Whether the attorney you hired is next door or 50 miles away, your interaction with them isn’t likely to include a lot of face to face contact that isn’t done by Zoom. The exception is when your case is going to trial or if you want a first meeting in person. In my experience, many great attorneys are willing to meet you by your home at a mutually convenient time.
More importantly though, you aren’t likely to find many if any really good work comp attorneys in cities that don’t have a hearing location. In the Chicagoland area, more than 90% of cases are handled by lawyers whose offices are in Chicago. That’s because the main Illinois Workers Compensation Commission location is the Thompson Center downtown. If you live in Tinley Park or Schaumburg or Evanston, etc., it’s not that lawyers there couldn’t take your case, it’s that it’s likely that they don’t focus on work comp cases all day every day. If they did, they’d spend way too much time in the car or on the train because they are so far from court.
Even outside of Chicagoland, you’ll find it’s likely that unless you are in a big city like Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, Belleville, etc. that the best attorney for your case, the one with real experience, isn’t going to be near you. I promise you that is OK and it’s in your best interests to get someone who has a real track record of success. It’s no different than how you’d choose the best doctor for your care other than that you won’t need to be face to face with the lawyer all the time like you will with the doctor.
As always, if you have any questions let us know.