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.