There are a number of ways to answer this question, which we get all the time. The most truthful answer probably is “I don’t know,” but we also will take the time to explain why we don’t know and give you some idea of the different factors that play a part in the value of a case.

Some attorneys will try to guess at a dollar amount; others will just tell you what you want to hear. Neither is helpful, and in fact telling you want to hear (“Your case is definitely worth six figures”) can backfire when it becomes clear, down the road, that the case is worth much less.

Every case is different. The outcome can depend on any number of factors, including the following.

-       The arbitrator assigned to the case. Arbitrators, like judges, are supposed to be impartial, but in reality they have certain tendencies. If your attorney has a good amount of experience, they should know what they are. Some arbitrators are seen as more worker friendly, while others seem to favor employers.

-       Your wages. The more you were earning before the injury, the more the case is worth. This is because the formula used to determine a settlement includes the extent of your injury as well as your wages.

-       Whether you have an attorney. If you have an attorney, your case likely will be worth more. Insurance companies tend to give low settlement offers to injured workers who aren’t represented. An attorney with years of experience negotiating with insurance companies is going to know what is fair and be able to get it for you.

-       Your recovery and your health. Permanent injuries, especially serious permanent injuries, are worth more. Until you undergo treatment, it’s difficult to predict what shape you’ll be in when treatment is complete. 

-       Your job status. If you can’t return to your pre-injury job or can but with restrictions, your case will have more value.

-       Your subjective complaints. How the injury effects your daily living is really relevant.

-       Your age. A permanent injury to a 25 year old is often worth more than the same injury to a 60 year old.

-       When you were hurt. Values of cases for injuries from before September 1, 2011 are different than those from after that date.

We are workers’ compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

By Michael Helfand