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What is my workers’ compensation case worth?

Lynn Taylor

undefinedOne of the most common questions injured employees have is how much their case is worth. Below are a few quick answers to common questions employees have regarding what the value of their workers’ compensation claim may be.

Am I entitled to any compensation at the end of my case?

Most likely, yes. In addition to payment of your medical bills and weekly wages while you are off work, you may be entitled to an award for permanent partial disability. Permanent partial disability awards compensate employees who are able to return to work, but continue to experience symptoms or difficulties as a result of the injury.  In most circumstances, if you’ve suffered a compensable work injury, you are entitled to an award for permanent partial disability.

Do I automatically get a settlement for permanent partial disability when I’m done treating?

No, your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier is not required to offer you a settlement at the end of your claim. If the insurance carrier does not make a settlement offer, it may be necessary to proceed to trial and have an arbitrator render a permanent partial disability award.

Someone I know had the same injury…why did they get more money?

No two cases are exactly alike. There are multiple variables that come into play when determining the value of a case, other than just the type of injury, so permanent partial disability awards for the same injury can vary widely. It is also important to note that permanent partial disability calculations are based on your average weekly wage, so employees with higher average wages will receive more than employees with lower average wages, even if all other factors are the same.

What factors are taken into consideration in determining permanent partial disability?

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act lists five factors that are taken into consideration when determining permanent partial disability. The factors are:

  • The level of the AMA impairment rating, if one has been obtained;
  • The occupation of the injured employee;
  • The age of the employee at the time of the injury;
  • Whether there is any evidence of a future reduction in potential earnings as a result of the injury; and
  • Evidence of ongoing disability corroborated by the medical records.

Each of these factors is considered and weighed and no one factor is determinative.

I saw online what someone in another state got for the same injury.  Is that what I’ll get?

No. Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, so even if all other factors were the same, comparing permanent partial disability values from different states is like comparing apples to oranges.

I had a similar injury several years ago and received a larger settlement.  Why?

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act was amended in 2011, which caused a reduction in the value of permanent partial disability awards. Therefore, if you suffered the same injury prior to 2011, the value of your permanent partial disability award was likely higher than what you would currently receive.

Is the pain and suffering I went through from my injury taken into consideration?

Unfortunately, the pain and suffering you experienced while recovering from your injury is not one of the factors used to determine permanent partial disability. However, the continued symptoms and problems you experience as a result of your injury after your release from care would be a significant consideration in determining the value of your case.

Why can’t you tell me what my settlement will be at the beginning of my case?

It’s impossible to know from the outset what kind of treatment you will undergo and how well you will recover from your injury. Because the value of permanent partial disability is heavily dependent on these factors, permanent partial disability values can’t accurately be estimated until near or at the end of your course of treatment.

What is my workers’ compensation case worth?

In order to maximize the amount of your permanent partial disability award, you should discuss all of the factors and considerations in your specific case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.  Call the lawyers at Woodruff Johnson & Evans at (866) 400-4450 or fill in our Contact Form to discuss how we can obtain the maximum value for your workers’ compensation case.

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