One of our readers sent the following question to us:

My husband hurt his back at work. He has a salary position at a local factory. His salary wage is $1750 bi weekly. He generally earns overtime above this amount as well. He was off for 1 year and 2 weeks. He had to have back surgery. He was just released from his surgeon and allowed to settle. We do not have a lawyer, as his companys insurance has paid everything without question. His doctor said his body loss was 25%. We have no idea how much to anticipate for a settlement. Nor are we sure we want to get a lawyer since the insurance company hasn’t caused any problems. Is there a standard method to calculating how much of a settlement would be realistic? I’ve found conflicting calculators online; one coming up with $26,000 and another $130,500 (big difference!) as what he should get. I’d like to know a ballpark of what he might realistically get offered so we know whether or not to pursue getting a lawyer to try and get more.


One of the great myths out there, that is being pushed by a handful of attorneys, is that there is some calculator where you can plug in your injury and wages and determine what your case is worth.  I believe there hope is to get you to hire them by them convincing you that your case is worth a ton of money so you’ll hire them.  That’s why you see results like the one above that are so far off from each other.  It’s basically all made up.

Beyond that, the doctor rating is mostly irrelevant as it’s just one of six factors that should be considered in determining a case’s worth. 


This case could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.  It could be worth $30,000.  But with an injury this serious you would be foolish not to have a lawyer at least look at it.  When you have such a high range of what a case might be worth, you could cost yourself tens or hundreds of thousands if you don’t have real help.


But gimmicks like calculators are just a joke, no different than someone who tells you what a case is worth without seeing your medical records.  It’s a great marketing trick to get you in, but there is no authenticity to it.  I never promise a case result (other than that we’ll bust our butts for you), but we’ll never try to trick you in to hiring us or anyone in our network.


And to answer the question, there is no standard method to figuring out what a case is worth.  Every case is unique and you have goals and issues that others don’t have.  There’s no hidden secret to making a proper evaluation.  You can only truly do it by having years of experience and truly getting to know a case.

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