Illinois Workers’ Compensation Case Worth and Settlement Guide
There are multiple variables that go into the equation in determining how much your workers’ compensation case is worth under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. These questions should help you get in the right mindset when evaluating your case:
- How much time were you off work?
- What kind of treatment(s) did you receive?
- Are you able to return to work?
- If you must find a new job, how much does it pay in comparison to your old one?
- Do you have permanent restrictions? If so, what are they?
- Do you have disfigurement?
- Did your injury cause permanent total disability?
What is the average workers’ compensation settlement amount?
One of the most common questions we receive from prospective clients is – what is the average amount of money that I will get for my workers’ compensation claim. At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we want to look at how these claims are calculated and discuss some factors that affect workers’ comp claims. It is very difficult to determine how much your settlement will be for a work injury. As we will discuss in the upcoming sections, there are various factors that go into total amounts awarded. What we can tell you is that workers’ compensation insurance in Illinois will include coverage of reasonable medical care that is needed to cure or relieve the injury.
How are workers’ compensation settlements calculated?
We want to show the general method for how disability compensation is calculated. However, because each case is different, please do not use this as a concrete guide to your particular situation. Our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys evaluate each case based on their unique factors.
1. Scheduled injury
- Illinois law allows for a maximum number of weeks of compensation available for various body parts. A full list of scheduled injuries can be found by clicking here.
- Using this method, an employee determines total compensation by multiplying 60% of their average weekly wages by the number of weeks allotted for the body part injured.
- For example, the chart we linked to lists a thumb injury as receiving 70 six weeks of compensation. If an employee is paid $500 a week, they would receive 60% of this weekly, or $300. Total compensation would be $300 multiplied by 76 weeks, which equals $22,800.
2. Loss of percentage of person as whole
- If an employee loses the ability to perform a task that they could perform before the injury, compensation will be calculated as follows:
- The percentage of loss multiplied by 500, which equals the number of weeks the employee will be compensated.
- Using the mentioned above, the number of weeks will be multiplied by 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage.
3. Wage differential
- If an injury requires the employee to accept a new form of employment that results in less income, they may be entitled to two-thirds (66.67%) of the difference between the wage from their old job their new job.
- If it has been determined that the injured employee has been disfigured, which is defined as a serious and permanent change to their appearance, additional compensation may be available. Together, the employer and the employee will work to determine the total weeks to be paid (which cannot exceed 162 weeks). This weekly number will then be multiplied by 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage to arrive at a final compensation.
In these cases, temporary disability benefits are paid to the injured worker to cover a portion of their income. We say a “portion,” because this does not cover their total lost wages. Temporary disability benefits will cover 66 2/3% of the average weekly wage of the injured worker, up to a maximum set by state law.
Factors affecting settlement amounts in workers’ comp claims
There are various factors that affect how much a workers’ compensation claim will be. This will largely depend on the severity of the injury and the total amount of care needed to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
However, total amounts will also depend on various other factors. This can include the income of the injured workers and maximums allowed under state law. As we mentioned above, when it comes to insurance payments for a worker’s income, this will be 66 2/3 of their income up to the limits allowable under the law (which adjusts every six months in Illinois).
The insurance company will play a large impact on the kind of benefits that an eligible recipient receives. These companies employ insurance adjusters, and it is impossible to say how they will handle a case. In general, it is the job of the adjusters to pay as little as possible for a claim, so you can be sure they will look to lower the settlement anyway they can.
A worker’s employer will also impact a case, particularly if they dispute the facts of the case. If they do dispute the case, this could affect your ability to recover maximum compensation.
How are settlements approved?
Workers’ compensation insurance in Illinois is a “no-fault” system, meaning that the injured worker should receive coverage regardless of who caused the injury. When a worker reports the injury, they will receive coverage for their medical bills and a percentage of their lost income. Usually, these injuries are relatively minor, and there is not much dispute between the injury victim and the employer or insurer.
Most cases are settled by the insurance carrier with no dispute. However, if there is a dispute between the injured worker and the employer or insurance carrier, there may be a need for a workers’ compensation hearing. A Chicago personal injury attorney can help you with these situations and, in most cases, settle before a hearing occurs.
Our Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers are immersed in workers comp matters every day and have a sound understanding of not only the law but the system as well. We encourage you to reach out and consult with our team at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates if you have a work injury. Let our family, help yours!