A reader sent us the following question about his work injury:

I was injured at work. The company I work for took full responsibility for my accident. Workers comp is paying all my medical bills and my employer is paying all my wages. I want to know if you get anything for being hurt? I cant do any of the things I use to. The accident happened 3 weeks ago and I recently found out it could be 6 more weeks before I am off light duty. So basically if I lose no wages and have no medical bills do I even have a workers comp case?

I think this very nice guy was simply confused about how the system works.  Under Illinois law, you get three benefits if you are hurt on the job.  The first is payment of 100% of your reasonable and related medical bills.  There should be no co-pays or out of pocket expenses for you.  Not even a penny.  It does have to be reasonable which means that the insurance company doesn’t have to pay for therapy and treatment that is not generally accepted in the medical field.
The 2nd thing you get is payment for your lost time, also known as temporary total disability benefits (TTD).  As happened in this case, the employer can choose to continue your regular salary.  They sometime do this as an act of good will and other times because it saves them money.
The third benefit comes at the time you are medically ready to settle your case.  This is called permanent partial disability or  PPD.  The amount of medical care you’ve received and the time you’ve missed from work is a factor in how much your case will be worth.  And if those items aren’t paid for already, they can be part of a settlement.  But them having already been paid is a good thing and does not lower the value of your case.
The only times you wouldn’t get a PPD settlement would be if your injury is very minor or there is no possibility of any future problems.  In other words, if you sprain your finger or get a black eye, you likely won’t get any PPD, at least not beyond a couple of hundred dollars.  But most cases are worth somewhere between a few thousand and a few hundred thousand (higher end if you suffer a permanent wage loss or inability to work).
But most cases have some value.  It’s not normal for a case to be going as smoothly as this one appears to be and there is of course no guarantee that the insurance company won’t cut off his benefits.  But whatever happens won’t change the fact that there is a case here and it does have some value.

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