My husband suffered a back injury while delivering in a retail store

Question: 

My husband injured his back while working at a store for his employer who’s business is distribution of consumer goods to retail stores.

After seeing an orthopedic surgeon it was determined that he had a herniated disc in his lower back. He also saw the company’s doctor for an IME and he too stated the my husband had a herniated disc.

Since my husband was injured while working in a store for his company, does this constitute a a third party case? If so, what is the next step?

He has been on limited duty for about three months, and has at this point not sought the advice of an attorney, but plans to find one in the near future. How long can he receive WC and how much should it be…2/3rds of his earnings?

– Jane
, Aurora, IL

Answer: 

Attorney Marc Perper:

Dear Jane:

Based on the information you have provided, it is my opinion that your husband has a valid workers’ compensation claim against his employer.  The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act entitles him to the following relief:  (1) Weekly compensation benefits for the period of temporary total disability (“TTD”); (2) payment of reasonable and necessary medical expenses at the expense of his employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier; and (3) compensation at the conclusion of the case for any permanent disability your husband might have sustained as a result of the injury.

You have asked about the duration of TTD benefits.  In Illinois, there is no arbitrary limit on the compensable period of TTD.  An injured worker is entitled to receive TTD benefits for so long as he remains temporarily totally disabled due to the injury.  The period of TTD ends when he has reached a state of maximum medical improvement, or when he is able to return to work without endangering his life or health.

Your next question involved the amount payable for TTD.  In general, TTD is payable at two-thirds of the average weekly wage, subject to statutory minimum and maximum weekly compensation rates.  However, a great deal of litigation has taken place over the years regarding how the average weekly wage is to be calculated.  If your husband is represented by an attorney or law firm whose practice is concentrated in the field of workers’ compensation, the attorney will understand the formula for computing the average weekly wage and corresponding weekly compensation rates.

You have also asked about third-party cases.  A third-party case is a separate lawsuit against someone other than the employer who might have been at fault in causing the injury.  The information you have provided is not sufficient for us to form any opinion regarding whether your husband might have a viable third-party case.

If your husband desires legal representation, or if you or he would like to discuss this matter in greater detail, please feel free to give us a call at 312-372-8822 (Chicago) or 815-723-8822 (Joliet) for an appointment to come into our office and meet with one of our attorneys.  There will be no charge for the initial consultation.

Thank you for your interest in our firm.

Yours very truly,
Marc A. Perper