A nice woman called me after undergoing successful carpal tunnel surgeries to both of her hands/wrists. She had post surgery therapy and is back to work on a full duty basis. All of her medical bills have been paid and she was paid TTD benefits for the approximately six weeks worth of work that she missed.
She had heard she was entitled to some sort of settlement and called the insurance company trying to get one. They told her that they don’t offer settlements when a worker is returned to work on a fully duty capacity and wished her a good day.
She called hoping to find out if this is true. Does the insurance company have to offer a settlement?
The answer is a weird one. The correct answer is that they don’t have to offer anything. By that I mean they would not be subject to any penalties for failing to make an offer. On the flip side, they could get hammered by an Arbitrator if they don’t pay for TTD benefits or medical bills that are related to your work injury.
But just because they don’t have to offer one doesn’t mean you can’t force your hand. To my knowledge there has never been a case with a surgery or any injury which required a decent amount of medical care that didn’t end up in some permanent partial disability award of some sort. With a surgery x 2 like this one, it would surely be somewhere in the five figures.
So how do you make that happen? It’s pretty simple. A lawyer files your case, gathers your medical records and files a motion for trial. That is almost always enough to get settlement talks going. If they offer a fair amount, great. If they don’t then you go to trial and the arbitrator will award a fair amount. Most insurance companies don’t want to do that because if they do, you also get to keep your medical rights open as relates to this specific injury. Insurance companies don’t like the unknown and the possibility of future medical bills is a great unknown which usually will motivate them to settle with you.
Bottom line for you is that unless your case is not really a work related injury, you can expect that with any decent amount of medical care you are entitled to something. That might be as little as $500 or hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. That amount depends on a lot of factors such as your wage, your injury, your medical care, your age, your ability to go back to your old job and your future medical needs.
We are workers’ compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in the state. You can reach us at (312) 346-5578 or via our online contact form. There is no fee to ask us questions or speak with us about your situation.