When asking what your Illinois workers compensation case is worth, there are a lot of factors that go into determining that. One of the biggest factors that go into valuing a case is what is the ultimate recovery you make. If you are able to return to work full duty as you were before the injury, you are still entitled to a settlement, but it will be less than if you need accommodations.
Cases where you have permanent restrictions due to a job-related injury in Illinois are almost always going to be worth more than if you can return without restrictions. There are plenty of other factors that go into determining what a case is worth (age, job history, wages, education, medical treatment received, need for future medical care, subjective complaints, etc.), but restrictions can turn a case worth $50,000 into one worth five times that amount or more.
When we say permanent restrictions, the most common one is a lifting restriction. Your doctor, sometimes after a functional capacity examination (FCE), might say that you can’t lift more than 20 pounds for example. Other restrictions could include limits on bending, standing, walking, reaching overhead, pushing, pulling, typing, and just about anything else you can think of.
If your employer can accommodate your restrictions with a real job, your case will be worth more than if you were 100% healthy. It won’t make the settlement go up by an exorbitant amount, but it will definitely add value to the case. How much more likely depends a lot on your field of work. A laborer or nurse with a permanent 50-pound lifting restriction will see a bigger increase in the case value as compared to a teacher or secretary who has the same issue. That’s because those jobs are harder to do with lifting restrictions and your future income is more likely to be affected.
Where permanent restrictions really make a case worth more is when your employer doesn’t have a job for you within your restrictions. If you were a high-wage earner and now can only find work making a lot less, you could be entitled to wage differential benefits. Under Illinois law, you’d get paid 2/3 the difference between what you’d currently make in your old job vs. what you can make. And those benefits would last until you are 65 years old.
In one memorable case I worked on, a 20-something was making over $40 an hour working on a construction site. He sustained a bad foot injury and couldn’t do any work on uneven ground. Due to his limited education, he could only find jobs making just above minimum wage. In the end, we secured approximately $400,000.00 in benefits for him.
And if you have permanent restrictions and not only can your old employer find you work, but there is no stable job market for you, your case could be worth even more money. There is no age limit for payments to workers who become permanently disabled.
Remember that every case is different. So many factors can go into what a case is worth. If you’d like a free, confidential consultation about your case, you can contact us any time at 312-346-5578. We cover all of Illinois.