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One thing we’ve always tried to do is be honest with people who contact us. We believe in talking in plain English and being very direct with our opinions. That’s how we want to be treated and what we think is best for people looking for legal guidance.
I loathe attorneys that are full of it. A lot of attorneys will tell people, “You have a great case, I’m just too busy.” That is almost always a lie. Instead of the attorney telling you why they don’t think you have a case, they give you false hope. A couple of years ago, a caller told me that 12 attorneys told her that same lie.
While that is the most common lie Illinois medical malpractice lawyers make, there’s one attorney who is making one that is even worse in my opinion. It’s worse because it’s clearly fraudulent and makes people think he has some special ability.
This attorney tells people that he has won over 98% of the cases that he has accepted. While I’ve never reviewed his case load, I can tell you that this is at best very misleading and most likely a blatant lie (in my opinion).
I say that because in Cook County, which is considered the most plaintiff friendly place in Illinois, for cases that go to trial, the defendants win 80% of the time. On top of that, in typical medical malpractice cases, someone calls you, you go over the facts and then you either say “we can’t help” or “we’d like to investigate the case.” If you are investigating it, you’ve “accepted” it.
From there, you have the case reviewed. First you look at the victim’s medical records internally. Then if it looks like an error may have happened, you have an outside doctor review them. If they think malpractice occurred, you likely file a lawsuit.
The reality though is that quite often, the outside experts say no case. Or you start the lawsuit and new facts emerge that you weren’t aware of and you drop the case. Or a client dies of some other reason which eliminates damages and you drop the case. Or they are a bad witness. Or they disappear. Or something else happens. This happens a lot. Every experience malpractice attorney has stories of clients they thought they could help only to realize the case wasn’t great.
So to claim you’ve won 98% of the time is just BS. Even if you only count the cases you filed a lawsuit on, to claim you recovered money in 98 out of 100 of them would be unheard of.
Sadly, this attorney doesn’t need to lie. He has had some great results for his clients in the past and he seems to be a very good lawyer. But for whatever reason it appears that someone convinced him or someone else that this marketing trick was a good idea or that they could somehow spin it to be technically true when in reality it isn’t.
This type of deceptive advertising drives me bonkers. It’s really slimy in my opinion and has the potential to harm the client and the legal profession in general.
The honest truth about medical malpractice lawsuits in Illinois is that there are very few slam dunks and almost every case is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes six months or more to properly investigate a case and even if a lawsuit is filed, things can come up that can derail the case.
Bottom line is that if some attorney is bragging in a way that seems too good to be true or makes it seem like they are head and shoulders above every other lawyer out there, it’s probably because they are lying.