A reader asked us the following:
I was injured three plus years ago. I was 35 on date of injury and am now 39. I underwent six surgeries ending with a total knee replacement. I am no longer able to have employment in law enforcement and was approved for and am just now receiving medical disability pension. In your opinion, what is a reasonable amount I can anticipate from a W/C settlement?
I know everyone wants to know what their case is worth. But your goal isn’t really to find out what your case is worth, your goal is to get the most money you can get under Illinois law for your case. If I tell you that I can settle your case for $100,000.00, that might sound awesome to you. Who couldn’t use that money? But if you knew that the case was really worth up to $300,000.00, you’d be furious if you resolved the claim for a low amount.
For this reader, I couldn’t possibly tell him what his case is worth without knowing more information. First off, if he can’t go back to his old job, what job can he go back to? Why can’t he return to that old job? What did his doctor say? Does the insurance company doctor agree or say something different? What was he earning when he got hurt and how much would he be earning right now under that job? How does that compare with what he’s currently able to earn? Has he been offered vocational rehabilitation? Is this a wage differential situation or is he realistically permanently disabled from returning to any meaningful sort of work?
All of these things matter. I would love to make this person happy and give them a settlement figure, but doing so would be a lie and certainly not in their best interests. When you have a life altering injury, a detailed analysis is needed to determine what the case is truly worth on a low end as well as on the high end. A case like this isn’t going to have a set value, but instead will have a range that it could be worth. Our job is to determine that range for you and then get as close to the high end of that range as possible.
There are plenty of law firms out there that will let you call them and give you an answer that makes you feel good in the moment, but they are just selling you a bag of magic beans. Nobody could possibly know what your case is worth without most or all of this detailed information.
And while nobody wants to hear it, you’ll never get close to what your case could be worth without legal representation. There is no requirement that the insurance company even make you a settlement offer at all and if they do, they are always going to try to hit the lowest possible range of fairness for you. And in many cases they try to make you believe that the AMA (American Medical Association) rating that a doctor will give you is controlling when in fact it is not.
Like anything else in life, the more information you can get and we can get, the more accurate of an analysis that will take place and the more likely you are to get the best result possible for you. And that’s what it’s really all about. Not the fastest answer you can get, but the best answer.