"What's my case worth?" That's a question we hear all the time from injured Illinois workers involved in Workers' Compensation claims. It may seem easy enough, but the answer to that question is really quite complex - especially under the most recent changes to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act.
There are three main types of benefits available to injured workers in Illinois: payment for reasonable and necessary medical expenses, compensation for missed time from work, and some sort of permanency award.
One way in which the amount of the permanency award can be determined is by calculating Permanent Partial Disability, or "PPD." This settlement award comes in the form of a percentage representing some permanent lasting effect that the injury and/or treatment has. It is then multiplied against a schedule value depending on which part of the body the injury affects.
Under the new law, there are five factors considered in determining the extent of loss for the purposes of a PPD settlement percentage:
Physician's Rating. This is a rating given pursuant to AMA guidelines that seeks to quantify your level of impairment using objective criteria.
Occupation. This factor takes into account the physical and educational requirements of the occupation you were engaged in when you were injured.
Age. Your age may play a part in determining the extent of your permanent partial disability.
Future Earning Capacity. Frequently determined by a Vocational expert, a drop in your earning potential can contribute to a determination of the extent of your permanent partial disability.
Evidence of disability corroborated by treatment records. The history of your injury and progress through treatment, as well as the lasting effects as observed by your physicians can also factor into your permanent partial disability amount.
The interplay of these factors and assignment of a percentage value can be a very confusing and complex formula. Moreover, insurance companies may try to convince you that their physician's rating is the exact percentage you will be able to retrieve. Before considering any settlement for your work injury, you should talk to someone with experience. Our team of Workers' Compensation Attorneys have decades of combined experience in fighting for the maximum settlement amounts for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.