To be permanently and totally disabled under Illinois law means that there is essentially no job you can do because your injuries and physical restrictions due to the injury are so severe that they prevent you from being able to work. The standard to show that under Illinois work comp law is different than showing you are disabled from working for purposes of social security.
People who are declared permanently and totally disabled under IL work comp law are usually the most physically injured people around and they can receive for life benefits to compensate them for their injury. But there is another category of people who also qualify for permanent disability benefits. They are called “Odd lot permanent totals.”
Essentially an “odd lot” is someone who was injured at work, has permanent restrictions, but also has limited vocational abilities so there is no reasonably stable job market for them. That is usually someone who has a very low education level, doesn’t speak English well, is older and not suitable for re-training for a new job, has a work history in something they can no longer do like manual labor or someone who has looked for a job for a long time and can’t find one.
These workers aren’t so physically damaged that they can’t do any work, it’s that they have other factors that are also working heavily against them. An employer “takes you as they find you” so you don’t get punished for having only been a laborer your whole life or not having had much education.
Once you establish that you fall in to this odd-lot category, the burden shifts to the insurance company to prove that there is some stable job market for you based on your background and limitations. So if you dropped out of school in 8th grade and have been a welder for the last 40 years, you can’t be reasonably expected to take a data entry job. The insurance company could try to prove some other job is available (maybe if your able to stand all day you could work security or be a greeter at a store), but they can’t just make up some job.
Bonus tip. You don’t have to take some crap job that they say is available. It ultimately comes down to whether or not you are eligible for permanent disability benefits, wage differential benefits or regular permanency benefits. In other words, your case is worth something, but how much depends on what type of work you can realistically do.
Is this confusing? It can be. Call us with any questions. And whether you hire us or some other firm, if your injury is this serious it would be a huge mistake not to have a lawyer who knows what they are doing. Not doing so could be the difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5578 for a free consultation.