Almost every caller to our office at some point wants to know what their Illinois workers’ compensation case is worth. If it’s not the first thing they ask, it’s in the back of their mind somewhere and it will be asked at some point. That’s a perfectly logical thing to wonder about.

I tell people that every case is different because every case is in fact different. What your case is worth depends on your medical treatment, wages, age, job history, future medical needs, possible defenses to your case and many more things.

And while I don’t want to give an example that makes people think they can figure out what their case is worth, I do think it’s relevant to show how one laborer in Illinois was awarded 45% loss of the leg for his injury.

In that case, the worker was part of a landscaping crew. He did what you’d expect. He mowed lawns and cut trees. He also did things like help construct patios and other basic landscaping duties. One day at work he was cutting a large tree trunk when it fell on his leg. He ended up having surgery and missed about three months of work.

That doesn’t sound like a major injury until you learn more. The Arbitrator awarded 45% of the leg for some of the following reasons:

  • His job is physically demanding and requires him to be on his feet most of the day.
  • He was only 35 and had 30 years left of work life expectancy.
  • His detailed injury was a fractured tibia, a spiral fracture of the fibula, a subluxation of the patella, an acute, traumatic, comminuted fracture of the lateral tibial plateau, a complex torn meniscus and bone loss.
  • He has permanent hardware in his leg from the surgery which consists of plates and screws.
  • He may need future surgeries for ligament repair.
  • He didn’t meet his physical therapy goals.
  • His surgical wound isn’t healing well.
  • He describes his pain as 8 out of 10 when he physically exerts himself.
  • He has frequent moments of leg instability.
  • He has trouble sleeping on his left side due to pain.

The picture I’m trying to paint is that these are the types of details that are taken into consideration when settling a case or getting an award at trial as happened here. The basic case is a guy hurt his leg, had surgery and returned to work. Too many people hear that simple story and conclude that their case must be worth something similar. The reality as shown above is so much more. This guy had really significant injuries and has ongoing issues. He returned to his normal job which lowered the value of his case, but also has a heavy duty job which increased the value. These aren’t common sense or one size fits all evaluations. So when we tell you that every case is different, this one does a good job of showing it.

If you want an estimate of what your case is worth, that can only happen when it’s clear what your medical care and ability to work will be. We are happy to do that with a review of your medical records. If you want to speak with a lawyer for free, you can call us any time at 312-346-5578.