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You may have heard the phrase permanent total disability.  That’s when you have a work related injury that has lead a doctor to state that there is no line of work you can return to.  It’s a somewhat rare, but in some cases you are so injured that a physician will say that you can not safely return to any type of work.

In other cases though, you may have a very severe physical restriction due to your accident, but not a doctor saying you can’t do anything. In those cases too you can receive permanent disability benefits for life if you can prove you are an “odd lot permanent total.”

“Odd lot” is one of those weird work comp terms that most people have never heard of. It basically means that due to your injury and the other factors in your life like your age, work experience, etc. there is no stable labor market for you.

To prove you are an odd lot, you have to perform a really diligent job search. That means looking for lots of jobs that appear reasonable for you based on your work experience and your physical limitations.  You should keep a log of who you contacted, what the job was, what follow up efforts you made and what the result was.  If you apply at 200 different places and nobody will hire you, that goes a long way to proving there is no job market for you.

This effort is best supplemented by a vocational counselor report.  Just like you can choose your own doctor, you can choose a voc counselor to help you look for a job, prepare a resume and author a report as to what jobs are available for you.

In a recent case, a worker applied for  more than 1,500 jobs without success.  The voc counselor testified that he worked hard to find a job and that in all likelihood would not be able get one.

Now even with all of that, the insurance company can still try to prove that jobs are available.  In this case though they didn’t do that.  They said they offered vocational rehabilitation efforts, but they required him to be able to drive at least 30 minutes which was against his restrictions.  That’s not a good faith effort on their part to help him.  They then did a labor market survey which is a test that is nowhere near as effective as an actual job search.  To them it showed he was “prospectively employable” but the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission was not persuaded by this.

The bottom line is that if you put in a good faith effort and can’t find work and the insurance company can’t prove that real jobs exist for you, you should be considered an odd lot permanent total.  This is important as the difference between winning or losing this issue at trial would likely be hundreds of thousands of dollars.