Settling Your Illinois Worker's Compensation Case
One basic benefit available to injured workers in almost all Illinois worker’s compensation cases is a lump sum settlement for permanency associated with the injury. This is the single item that we receive the most inquiries about.
There are two main factors that go into determining how much you receive in a settlement. These are (1) the nature of your injury and (2) your average weekly wage. The Worker’s Compensation Act assigns a certain number of weeks pay to every part of your body. If you lose complete use of that body part, you would receive the number of weeks pay allocated to that part of your body, but at the permanency rate, which is 60% of your average weekly wage.
If you lose less than complete use of that body part, then you receive a settlement which is equal to the percentage of your loss. For example, if you suffer an injury which resulted in 20% loss of use in a body part that had been assigned a value of 100 weeks pay under the Worker’s Compensation Act, you would receive 20 weeks pay (20% x 100 weeks) at the permanency rate (60% of your average weekly wage), or a total of 12 weeks pay at your full average weekly wage.
Knowing this, there are two things that are true about every worker’s compensation case, including yours:
1. It is foolish to compare your case to someone else’s, unless you happen to have the same average weekly wage, the exact same job, the exact same injury, and the exact same medical history. Even then, different insurance companies take different approaches to claims, and your case may be handled differently simply because another insurance company is involved.
2. Any lawyer who tries to tell you what your case is worth over the phone or whether a settlement offer on your case is fair is not doing you any favors. Unless we see your medical records and can verify that your average weekly wage is being computed properly, we cannot tell whether a settlement offer for you is fair or reasonable or what your case is worth. This is why we will not give you an estimate as to your case’s value over the phone.
If you cannot tell whether your average weekly age is being computed accurately, if you cannot understand the significance of all of the information in your medical records, or if you do not know how to determine the value of your injury in terms of the schedule set forth in the Worker’s Compensation Act, you should give serious thought to hiring a well-qualified worker’s compensation lawyer.