What Illinois Work Comp Settlements Look Like

Do not rely on rumors or stories from friends, relatives or coworkers regarding the value of your work injury.

You must understand how Illinois Workers’ Compensation settlements are determined in order to decide if you are getting a fair offer.

The most important factor in determining settlement value is your average weekly wage for the 52 weeks before the injury.

A basic example is comparing a skilled worker to a fast food worker.

Assume that an electrician has the same injury and treatment as a crew member at Arby’s.

The electrician earns $30 per hour. The crew member makes $10 per hour.

Both workers injure their knee, undergo surgery and return to work full duty.

Assume the value of the case is 15 percent of the leg, or 32.25 weeks (leg value in the law is 215 weeks. Times .15 equals 32.25 weeks).

60 percent of the average weekly wage of $1200 equals $720. (The law uses 60 percent because work comp payments are not taxed)

$720 times 32.25 weeks equals $23, 200.

The crew member’s settlement is $400 times 60 percent. $240 times 32.25 weeks equals $7740.

This is a big difference for the same injury and same treatment.

How do the parties reach the value of 15 percent of the leg?

In Illinois the parties negotiate or bargain over the value. There is no schedule that sets the value for certain kinds of injuries. Some states use a schedule, but not in Illinois.

The value has developed over time through a large number of cases that have been decided using an Arbitrator (Judge).

The parties may disagree regarding the value, however the option available if the parties cannot reach settlement is to have the Arbitrator decide.

The disadvantage to using the Arbitrator is that it takes longer and whatever the Arbitrator decides is the value. The settlement offer goes away at that point.

Questions about your work injury case? Feel free to contact Illinois Work Comp Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

 

Auto Injury Tips

I have had several calls recently from people injured an  automobile collision.

They are similar in that the insurance company for the at fault driver makes a settlement offer soon after the date of injury.

You must understand that when you settle your case and sign a release there will be no more money paid from the insurance company.

This is the situation even if you have some future medical treatment related to the automobile collision.

The reason the insurance company is attempting to pay you money quickly after the collision is to reduce its exposure to any future medical bills.

You must make sure that you done treating before you settle your case.

In auto injury cases medical bills must be paid from the settlement proceeds.

This means that all treatment must be completed and taken into account from the damages paid to you.

It is nice to have money quickly after the accident, however it is not a nice feeling to have some needed medical treatment that must be paid out of your own pocket.

Need some guidance regarding an automobile injury? Feel free to contact Bloomington, Illinois injury attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

Remember no upfront fees are charged in Illinois injury cases.

 

Customized Legal Services for the Injured

Everyone is different so why not make sure that your lawyer takes care of you in a way that is personal to your needs.

Want a lawyer who will come to see you- We do that

Want email or text answers to your questions- We do that

Want a lawyer who will work together with you as your partner to get a fair settlement- We do that

What else do you need- We do that too

Make sure to contact Dirk May and Williams and Swee at 309-827-4371 to get personalized legal services for your injury claim.

Illinois Workers’ Comp Thoughts

This is a composite of different discussions and experiences I have had with insurance company staff, attorneys and people who have had sought workers’ compensation in Illinois.

This fictional interview takes poetic license to give you an idea of what happens at an insurance company when a work injury occurs.

What is your job?

I am a claims adjuster for a major insurance company. I handle work comp claims from time of injury until settlement.

How many claimants would estimate show up without a lawyer?

Quite a few do not have a lawyer.

What do you notice about claimants who do not have a lawyer?

They do not understand the process and why their bills are not being paid, or why they are denied, or the rights they have under the Illinois law.

What would you advise them if your boss would not find out?

Make sure you report your injury right away and go to the doctor immediately and tell them you were hurt at work.
This makes your case much smoother. You are also entitled to a settlement at the end of the case. If you are hurt make sure that you get all your medical treatment before you settle your case. Once you settle. It is all over and you have to pay for any future medical treatment.

Why do you think some people go into something so important as a work injury case without a lawyer?

They think that they have to pay a lot of money to get a lawyer to represent them.
They do not understand that the lawyers only get paid if they win, and the State limits how much the lawyer charges.
They do not understand that the insurance company has lawyers helping us every day.

Make sure that you do not make these mistakes in your Work Injury case. Feel free to call Illinois Work Comp Attorney Dirk May with Williams and Swee at 309-827-4371.

Social Security Disability- Behind the Scenes

This is a composite of different discussions and experiences I have had with Social Security staff, attorneys and people who have had sought disability.

This fictional interview takes poetic license to give you an idea of what happens at a Social Security Disability hearing site.

What is your job?

I give the claimants the computer disc with their disability information just before the hearing, and get their paperwork completed.
I also help the Judge gather the information for the hearing and do whatever else the Judge may need to help the hearing run smoothly.

How many claimants would estimate show up without a lawyer?

I would guess about 35 percent of the people do not have a lawyer.

What do you notice about claimants who do not have a lawyer?

They really do not understand what is going to happen at the hearing. I have to walk them through the paperwork and how to open the electronic file.
And they do not know what is going to happen in the hearing.

What have you seen in the hearing?

The people without a lawyer do not know how to explain to the Judge why they are disabled under our rules.
They have no idea how to respond to the vocational expert when they testify the person can do a job.

Why do you think some people go into something so important as a Social Security Disability hearing without a lawyer?

They think that they have to pay a lot of money to get a lawyer to represent them.
They do not understand that the lawyers only get paid if they win, and the government limits how much the lawyer charges.

Make sure that you are well prepared for your Social Security Disability case. Feel free to call Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May with Williams and Swee at 309-827-4371.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation- Where Do I Start?

Workers’ Compensation is a complicated law so you must know what to expect and what to do next.

The first thing you must do is report your accident to your employer and complete an accident report. Make copies of everything.

Next you should go to the doctor and explain that your injuries are work related.

You should let the Work Comp insurance company know what is going on with your medical treatment and give them any off work slips you have. You should also give off work slips to your employer.

When your medical treatment is finished you should let the insurance company know and ask them for a list of medical bills paid. You should confirm with your doctors that all medical bills are paid.

Finally, you are entitled to a settlement at the end of the case.

Some insurance companies will not tell you about the settlement or offer you a low amount.

Make sure that you check with an experienced Illinois Workers’ Compensation lawyer to find out if you are getting a fair settlement.

It does not cost you anything to use a Work Comp attorney until the end of the case. All fees are contingent on you winning your case. Fees are limited to 20 percent of the recovery.

Questions about your work injury? Feel free to contact Illinois Work Comp Attorney Dirk May with Williams and Swee at 309-827-4371.

More Social Security Disability Tips

I go to a lot of Social Security Disability hearings representing people mainly in Illinois and this gives me a chance to see other people who are also there for a hearing. It always surprises me to see so many people who go in without a lawyer.

These people have no idea what is going to happen in the hearing and they are trusting that the Administrative Law Judge and vocational expert will look out for their best interests.

The Judge must tell the claimant at the beginning of the hearing that they are entitled to a lawyer to represent them, and if they proceed without a lawyer then the Judge will issue a binding decision.

You always have the right to appeal from the Judge’s decision, however the evidence you present at the hearing will limit your arguments on appeal.

I have seen some of the decisions Judge’s make when a person does not have a lawyer. Most Judge’s try to be fair, but they cannot see all the things that are in your favor and they are not as invested in your case as you are.

You also need to know what questions will be asked in the hearing and how to answer them properly in light of the Social Security rules.

You need to know what you have to prove to win your case.

It makes sense to have an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer help you because they can prepare you to do everything possible to present a strong case.

The lawyer will only get paid if you win and get paid back benefits. This means both you and the lawyer want to win.

Questions about how to help your disability case? Feel free to call Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May with Williams and Swee at 309-827-4371.

When Does It Make Sense to Settle Your Work Comp Case?

The most important aspect of your Illinois Workers’ Compensation Case is knowing when to settle your case.

Like the old song goes “you gotta know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em”.

Or as it was said in an Indiana Jones movie “choose wisely”.

I have seen people make bad choices because they were either greedy or they thought someone owed them something, or because they felt like they were being treated unfairly.

There is another old saying “hogs get slaughtered; pigs get fed”.

Another thing to remember: the law is not perfect. It is not made to resolve every injury perfectly. There were a number of trade offs made in passing the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. The result is an imperfect law with imperfect remedies for imperfect people.

I once had a law school professor who emphasized with a passion that the law is not fair.

If you are looking for fairness you will not find it in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

You must make the best settlement possible considering the law and the facts in your case.

Do not make a risky bet a perceived high dollar outcome and let a good settlement in hand get away.

Going to trial in a high risk case to get lots of money is foolish and usually results in bitter disappointment when you receive a minimal value or zero verdict.

You should consult with an experienced Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney to discuss your case. Feel free to contact attorney Dirk May with Williams and Swee at 309-827-4371.

When Should I Get a Work Comp Lawyer?

The best time to get a Workers’ Compensation lawyer involved in your work injury case is early in the process.

It helps you because there are many things the lawyer can do to strengthen and protect your case from the onset of your work accident.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation lawyers cannot charge any retainer or hourly fees. So it is to your advantage to hire a lawyer early in the process. The lawyer can only charge 20 percent of the amount they collect for you.

The lawyer will guide you in reporting your injury as quickly as possible to your employer.

You will also be reminded to seek medical treatment right away and provide a clear and complete description of your injuries and your work accident to your doctors.

The lawyer will also tell you to continue with consistent medical treatment until you reach maximum medical improvement.

Your Work Comp lawyer will negotiate a fair settlement for you or help you prepare for a trial before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Arbitrator.

The quickest way to reach the best settlement for you is to have a lawyer who is ready to push the case forward through taking depositions of your doctor and who is ready to show the insurance company that you are prepared to go to trial.

Questions about your Work injury? Feel free to contact Illinois Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Dirk May with Williams and Swee at 309-827-4371.

Your Work Comp Settlement Part 2

Last week we discussed why your wages make a difference in how much money you receive for your work injury settlement or award.

This week we will discuss how the type of injury you suffered impacts your work accident settlement or award.

For instance, if you suffer a concussion, or fracture, or herniated disc this will effect the amount of money you receive.

Some states pay you a set amount for a fracture.

Illinois law does not do this. The law has developed to pay within a range for the type of injury you suffered.

Over time the settlement range develops and may change according to the political climate or the ways the Arbitrators and Commissioners view the injuries.

The basis of the value is how the injury creates a permanent partial disability in the injured worker.

In other words, a fracture is seen as changing your body long term because it may lead to arthritis. Or a concussion may result in ongoing headaches or memory issues. A herniated disc may be seen as effecting the spine and nerve roots over time.

Valuation in Illinois is seen as a balance of what the Arbitrators and Commissioners interpret for each injury or diagnosis. More of an art or feel for each injury type versus set numbers.

This is why it is helpful to have a lawyer guide you to make sure that you receive a fair settlement.

Questions about your injury? Feel free to contact Illinois Work Injury Attorney Dirk May to discuss your workers’ compensation case at 309-827-4371.

Injured on the Job? Watch out for Video Stalkers!

http://cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/insurance-surveillance-injured-1.5899254

Click above to read.

Pretty common in Illinois for insurance companies to send out an investigator to video tape injured workers at home and around town.

Keep your eyes open for vehicles with strangers following you.

Serious Collision, Series Charges

http://stltoday.com/news/state-and-regional/missouri/ex-chiefs-assistant-britt-reid-charged-with-dwi-after-crash/article_10ce718d-4c23-5c42-a4bc-54e09a3ecc43.html

Click above to read.

Impaired driving is a serious charge, and it can result in long term jail time and a large amount of damages for those who are permanently injured or killed. Make sure to contact a lawyer to discuss.

Why Does my Wage matter in Work Comp?

The amount of your wage makes a big difference in how much you get from your Illinois Workers’ Compensation settlement.

The reason is that the law provides that your award is based on 60 percent of your average weekly wage the 52 weeks before your injury.

For instance, if you are hurt on the job at a fast food restaurant you will receive much less money than a union worker who received the same injury and treatment outcome.

Make sure that the insurance company is calculating your wage correctly. There are special rules for overtime and people who work 2 jobs at the same time.

Is the insurance company following the law correctly?

Make sure you have an Illinois Work Comp lawyer on your side.

Feel free to contact Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.