I talk all of the time about how Illinois workers compensation laws change constantly. Nothing can demonstrate that better than the fact that Coronavirus cases didn’t even exist until a few months ago. Now they are the most common call we get.
With our partners throughout the State, we have been filing cases for COVID injuries for workers who have been diagnosed with it and can credibly relate it to their job duties. Most of these cases have been for nurses, grocery store workers, nursing home workers and meat processing employees. But we’ve also been helping people who work in businesses where many co-workers had it and were allowed to continue working without quarantine.
This naturally leads to the question, “What is my case worth?” The answer of course depends on how bad of an infection you have. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been one trial settlement yet related to this so we don’t have data of other cases to compare it to. And it makes sense that there hasn’t been a settlement yet because it’s simply too soon for one of these cases to get resolved unless you had a very minor infection and were just trying to get your bills paid.
What’s unique about Covid 19 is that it affects people in different ways and can have long term complications that don’t show up right away or aren’t obvious. For example, there are reports of people having severe lung function problems that could last 15-20 years even though they are otherwise discharged from care. In some cases Covid has lead to a stroke when someone otherwise seems fine.
So to answer the question, I can’t tell you what your case might be worth until we have a firm grasp on what’s really wrong with you. Even then, right now my focus for an injured worker would be to make sure your bills get paid, you get the treatment you need and you are compensated for your time off of work. That is what’s important now. Settlement value will be important at some point, but you wouldn’t want to settle a case for $5,000 today that might be worth $50,000 in six months when more information is available.
This blog post may seem like a non-answer, but it’s an honest answer. Shady lawyers make stuff up so they can give you an answer that you want to hear. We tell the truth and the truth right now is that while Coronavirus is like most cases in that we need to see your medical records to give you a proper valuation, even with that review we’d likely recommend you wait until we learn more about this pandemic to determine what your claim might be worth.
THE BIG EXCEPTION to this is for people who die from the virus or become obviously permanently disabled from it. In those cases, although you can anticipate the insurance company will fight you, we can give a much more realistic settlement value range because those cases are valued like any other catastrophic injury claim.