We are lawyers and we pride ourselves on doing things the old-fashioned way and dotting every “I” and crossing every “t”. Lawyers have been using legal pads since the 19th century. We now live in an age of computers. Our office size will eventually shrink as we have less paper to store. We already scan all medical records we receive, and we send most correspondence by e-mail. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission now has all documents filed electronically through their CompFile system.
In the years since Harold Katz and Irv Friedman became partners in 1954, we have seen the advent of the fax machine and computers for typing letters and then for storing data. We have gone from fishing in our pockets for change to call a client to relay a settlement offer to making that call on a cell phone and then texting or emailing the terms to our secretary in the office.
We strive to retain the accessibility of the old-fashioned country lawyer who will meet you in your town, at your union hall or even in your home while keeping current and using technology to make life better for our clients.
We had a case that was disputed by the employer who claimed that our client’s injury did not occur in the course of her employment. We had to try the case and then appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Our client settled her personal injury case with our friends at Kupets and DeCaro who share office space with our firm. When we finally won the case at the Workers’ Compensation Commission, we had a complex math problem to determine what was owed after considering the lien the workers’ compensation insurance carrier had against the already settled personal injury case. That lien had to be considered when we evaluated the case we had just won.
We agreed to settle the case that had been pending for over two years. In one morning, we received notice that the insurance company’s lawyer had created a settlement contract and posted it on the Commission’s CompFile portal. We reviewed the terms to make sure the contract was correct and protected our client. We added the client’s name and information. We uploaded medical records to support the settlement contract. We then made a pdf of the contract and emailed it to our referring attorney’s office. We spoke with our client on the telephone, explained the contract and asked her to come to the referring attorney’s office in her neighborhood. She went there and signed the contract and our settlement authorization. The referring attorney emailed a pdf of the signed documents back to our attorney. He saved them to our computer case file and then, knowing that the client had signed, was able to sign and submit the contract for approval by the Commission.
This process used to take weeks and was completed in a few hours. Our client’s contract was approved by the arbitrator and posted on CompFile and hour and thirty-one minutes after it was submitted. We immediately downloaded the approved contract and sent it to the insurance company’s attorney requesting the settlement check before the end of the same workday when we first received the contract.
We know that peoples’ lives are affected by the system. We keep ourselves updated on workers’ compensation law and, in fact, many of our attorneys have taught other attorneys and one of our managing partners teaches at a law school. We have a deeper understanding of workers’ compensation law and greater respect at the Workers’ Compensation Commission than a general practice attorney who dabbles in workers’ compensation law. Many such attorneys ask us to handle their clients’ workers’ compensation cases.
We practice a law that is no longer buried in dusty old books, but is practiced in the 21st century where we can research an issue from our desk before calling our client to give advice. One of the benefits of technology is that we have significantly reduced the time between telling a client that we have reached a settlement and handing that client their settlement check.
If you have questions regarding a work related injury or personal accident injury, please contact the skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca for the legal advice and advocacy upon which you can confidently rely. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.