Illinois Workers’ Compensation Case Value: What's My Case Worth?
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Case Value: What's My Case Worth?
People wanting to know the value of their Illinois Workers Compensation Case is the most common question I get asked when someone who got hurt on the job contacts my office. And it makes sense.
If you got hurt at work, you may not have any money coming in and you may be worried about doctor bills. And maybe, in the back of your mind, you might be worried about whether you can return to your old job.
In most cases, a lawyer needs to review your case and have a lot of facts about your Workers Comp case before they can even begin to tell you your case value.
But I just made things easier for you.
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So how can you know what your Illinois Workers Compensation case is worth?
There are several factors that go in to it.
What is your Weekly Wage?
In Workers Comp, we call it "Average Weekly Wage" (AWW). Basically, it is your wages you make in an average week. We use the total number, not the take home pay. The gross pay, not the net pay.
Why is it important?
All of your benefits in an Illinois Workers Compensation case come down to how much money you make. That's because how much your get paid while off work (TTD - Temporary Total Disability) and how much settlement money you get at the end of the case (PPD - Permanent Partial Disability) is calculated by using your Average Weekly Wage.
Let's say you work 40 hours per week and you make $25 per hour. That means in an average week, you make $1,000.
Your TTD Rate would be $1,000 x 2/3 (or 662/3%) = $733.33. That is what you would get every week you were off work with a doctor's note.
Your PPD Rate would usually be 60%. So $1,000 x .60 (or 60%) = $600.00. This number is used to calculate what you get at the end of your Illinois Workers Comp case.
So the way it works out is, the more money you make per week, the more money you get while off work, and the bigger the settlement at the end of the case. Keep in mind, though that there sre State amximum and minimum TTD and PPD rates. This is great for lower wager earners but it cuts off the Illinois Workers Compensation case value for high wage earners.
Also note that if you are completely and totally unable to work due to your on the job injury, then the Permanent Total Disability (PTD) rate is 2/3 or 66 2/3%.
How Serious and Permanent Is the Injury?
How bad your injury is will determine how much medical care you are likely to be able to get without a dispute arising. When a case is being paid with no hassle or argument, we call it an "accepted case".
Often times, a client will hire me, and as soon as I am on the case, I am able to get payments and benefits going. Or if they are already being paid, they stay good. And this way, if any problems arsie, the injured worker can call me, and I cansort out the problem with their Workers Comp benefits quickly.
But when a case is disputed, it means that the Workers Comp insurance wants to fight the case. That means they can refuse to pay your time off work or your medical bills. They will also usually not want to pay a settlement (PPD) at the end of the case. This is when having a lawyer on your side is very important.
The seriousness of your injury will determine how much medical care you can get, as well as how long a doctor is likely to give you an off work note. But the true importance of the serious ness of the injury comes in calculating your settlement at the end of the case.
How Are These Cases Settled?
It is a lot of math and it is sort of weird. Let's see if I can explain it.
In a work injury case where you recover and can go back to your old job, we look at your medical records. We need to know how serious your injury is. We want to know what the treatment was, and what your ongoing complaints are.
Then, we look up similar cases in a book or a computer databases. These are kept by companies who support the efforts of law firms which handle work injury cases. There is usually a monthly or yearly fee to get access to these books.
You find similar cases. Same treatment. Same body part. Same surgery. By doing that, you come up with a percentage range of loss of use of the bodypart.
For example, a particular injury might have been settled in the past somewhere between 5% of a leg and 10% of a leg from looking up similar cases.
The Workers Compensation law says that 5% loss of use of a leg is 10.75 weeks of work and 10% of a leg is 21.5 weeks.
10.75 weeks x your PPD rate of $600.00 = $6,450.00.
21.5 weeks x $600.00 = $12,900.00
So in our example, your case would settleme somewhere in between $6,450.00 and $12,900.00. But your medical bills and time off work would also be paid in addition or separately.
Keep in mind that this is an example. In a real case, I always start high and make them work me down to a lower range. My job is to get injured people as much as I can. Not to save insurance companies money.
Also, keep in mind that Workers Comp allows for payments of many other kinds of benefits. Thqat will depend on your situation and your injury. Even in a small injury, a good Workers Comp lawyer can get you all the benefits you deserve. And that sometimes means benefits you didn't even know you could ask for.
Can You Return To Your Old Job? Are You Completely Disabled?
As we talked about above, if you cannot retur to work, then you do not use the PPD rate. Instead, you use the PTD (Permanent Total Disability) rate. Again, that is 2/3 of your weekly salary, not 60% as in PPD.
If you are found to be Permanetly and Totally Disabled, then you receive benefits of the PTD payments for life. Keep in mind that there is a statutory maximum rate. It goes up every year. For the yer 2021, for example, the maximum rate is $1,210.45.
If you are not able to return to your old job, you may still be able to be retrained to do a different one. Vocational assessment and rehabilitation and job training are benefits which are all possible in an Illinois Workers Compensation case. Again, it depends on your situation.
Mind Your Deadlines
Keep in mind that you have 45 days from the date of your work injury to report your Illinois Workers Compensation case injury.
You have 3 years from the date of your injury to file the case at the Workers Compensation Commission.
I always repeat these deadlines so no one misses one. If you have a lawyer, they will help with these so you do not have to remember them.
Getting a Free Consultation is a good idea.
A free consultation is, well, free. And you can get an idea of your case value. You get your questions answered.
Then you have none of the headache or hassle of trying to know all about your Illinois Workers Compensation case, your options, your benefits, how to get them, and the law. It makes your life better.
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