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When Your Lawsuit Becomes Your Life

When Your Lawsuit Becomes Your Life

In almost 15 years of helping people try to find the right lawyer for their Illinois legal matter, I've talked to more than 300,000 people by phone and e-mail.  I've helped a ton of people and I've also had many others who I couldn't help because they didn't have a case at all.  Can't get blood from a stone, right?

People really want justice.  They don't want an objective form of justice, they want what is justice in their minds. I can take one son for ice cream at lunch and then offer the other one a cookie at dinner and the ice cream eating child might find it unfair that he's not allowed to have desert at dinner.  In most instances he can let that go quickly once I explain that he's not allowed two deserts in one day (yes, I'm a tyrant).  But every now and then he will get focused on something like this being terribly unjust and not be able to let it go.  I could have taken him to the Cubs game on a father/son outing and bought him the biggest, grossest helmet sundae that they sell and it would still be unjust in his mind.

Fortunately even in the worst moments, it's forgotten the next day. Even if it's irrational behavior, many people do something like that.  However, in my line of work I come across people who can never let injustice go.

I recently received an e-mail inquiry through our site. I did something unusual for me and ignored it as it was from someone who has contacted me many times throughout the years.  He has a very old workers' compensation case which is settled and wants to sue his lawyer and somehow re-open the case because he thinks his lawyer and the defendant were working against him.

I like every other lawyer I know am not opposed to making money. It's not my sole purpose, but if we are going to get involved in a case it sure helps. We looked at his case years ago and determined that there was not a case which could be won.  I had another lawyer look at it and he agreed with me.  I got subsequent e-mails a year or two later from this same person and learned that others had looked at the case and rejected it.

Approximately three years after the fact, I got this new inquiry.  He seems angrier than ever about it.  Basically it appears to me that his hopes for justice has taken over his life.  He might be mentally ill, but it's so common that I wouldn't be surprised if he otherwise functioned well.  I talk to people like him all of the time.  They don't usually call me multiple times, but it's not uncommon to hear something like, "I've been searching for years and no lawyer has the guts to take on my case."  No part of them considers that maybe, just maybe they don't have a case.

The guy who got back in touch with me could have the best case in the world, but based on the information he's provided me, it appears that it's too late to file a lawsuit anyway against his lawyer as he's known about their alleged malpractice for more than two years.  Yet it seems he's going to be haunted by his perceived slight for years to come.  And I say this because after I ignored the first e-mail he contacted me again and we had another exchange where it's clear that he's convinced that this was all a conspiracy against him.

I can't imagine that I was able to convince him or anyone else not to make a legal matter their life.  But hopefully one person will read this and take a step back, realizing that they are letting too much of their happiness depend on fair versus unfair.

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