Recently in Partial Permenant Disability (PPD) Category

October 13, 2011

Illinois Workers' Compensation Settlements

"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.

April 21, 2011

Ongoing and Recurring Injuries

Many Illinois Workers' Compensation cases follow the same timeline: Injury, Treatment, Maximum Medical Improvement, Release to Work. Workers' Compensation Attorneys help their clients by obtaining payment for reasonable and necessary medical treatment as well as for time off work, and by recovering benefits for any permanent lingering effects or disability sustained from the injury. Also, they help recover any lost earning potential the client may suffer once they have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and are released to work in whatever capacity their doctor prescribes.

But what if that isn't the end of it? Despite a patient being released from medical care, sometimes an injury may resurface at a later date. Fortunately, the Workers Compensation Act provides for recovery in just that sort of situation. If there is a material change in your condition after your treatment has "completed", you may still be entitled to further medical care. Also, you may be entitled to reconsideration of the permanent lingering effects or lost earning potential.

Sometimes the severity of an injury isn't discovered until months or years after it occurs. That was the issue recently addressed in a case by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. After a worker injured her shoulder and was diagnosed with a shoulder sprain, she completed treatment and was released to work full duty. However, she continued to feel pain and take medications for over a year. She was later diagnosed as having rotator cuff tendinitis. The Commission found sufficient evidence that even though she had completed treatment for the initial diagnosis of a sprain and been released to work regular duty, the tendinitis was related to her earlier injury and was therefore compensable.

Workers' compensation law provides for a worker not just during treatment for a work injury, but after a doctor has determined treatment is finished as well. If you are concerned that your previously treated condition is returning or was never resolved, a workers' compensation attorney may be able to help you.

April 15, 2011

Illinois Workers' Compensation Rights Upheld with Senate Bill Defeat

Illinois Workers' Compensation News: On April 14, 2011 Illinois Senate Bill 1349, a proposed amendment to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, was defeated. The proposed amendment would have drastically altered or eliminated many of the rights and benefits that workers' compensation attorneys in Chicago and across Illinois have been fighting for on behalf of injured workers for years. Among some of the proposed changes were:

Providing explicit definitions for the terms "accident" and "injury";
Stricter guidelines for establishing causal connections between the workers' injury and the work accident or circumstances of employment;

Eliminating the injured worker's right to choose their own physician for the first 60 days following notice of the accident, and replacing it with the employer's right to choose which physician may initially diagnose and treat an injury;

Eliminating Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits for injured workers if they are fired for cause, regardless of whether they have finished treating or are able to work;

Eliminating an employer's liability to provide medical care or benefits beyond an initial emergency inpatient or outpatient visit if the employee was intoxicated by alcohol, marijuana, or any controlled substance when he or she was injured;

Terminating wage differential awards at the time when either the employee reaches the age of 67, or when the award has been paid for 5 years, whichever occurs at a later date;
Stricter guidelines for establishing the extent of an injured workers' Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) after treatment has concluded;

Clearly, this proposed amendment would have had a devastating effect on the rights that injured workers have relied on in order to receive the benefits they deserve. However, Senate Bill 1349 only received 25 of the 30 votes required in order for the bill to pass, and the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act survives in its current form to provide for the injured worker.

November 3, 2010

Vocational Training after Injury in Workers' Comp. Cases

Being injured at work can have significant consequences. One possibility is that an employee may be injured so badly that they are on permanent restrictions as a result. This can be devastating for an employee because he/she may feel like there is no other way for them to make a living. This is not true.

The law states that if an injured employee is put on permanent restrictions and the employer cannot accomodate for the injury, then the employer has the responsibility to hire a vocational counselor for the injured employee. A vocational counselor should help an employee explore their future by recommending schools, apprenitice programs and retraining. Unfortunately, many vocational counselors hired by employers do not do a great job. They sometimes will just pressure an employee to fill out job search logs and only push for minimum wage positions.

An injured employee does not have to settle for a less than mediocre vocational counselor. An attorney can aid an injured employee in finding a helpful counselor that will assist the injured employee in finding a career and the training to succeed in the career that is right for them. Contact your Illinois Work Injury Attorney for more information and help in this process.

October 27, 2010

Amount of Compensation for Injured Employees in Illinois

You know you deserve compensation if you are injured at work. But from there the question becomes how much? How much does my injury deserve? The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act lays out complicated formulas for determining the amount of benefit an injured employee deserves. This information can be very helpful when deciding whether to take a settlement or not. For example, there are different rates of compensation if you are temporarily disabled versus permanently disabled. Also, depending on the body part injured and the extent of the injury, you are due compensation for a different number of weeks.

snapshot table.tif

The table above provides examples the period of time an injured employee is to receive compensation of a temporary total incapacity depending on the body part and extent injured. An attorney can help determine how much compensation your are due based on this formula and other information provided in the Act by examining your medical records. Sometimes, an experienced attorney can increase the amount of compensation you receive by arguing you actually have suffered a lost of trade.

However, each case is different and every injured employee has circumstances unique to their situation. The best way to make sure you are getting the benefits you deserve, is to contact your Illinois Work Injury Attorney.

Source: 820 ILCS 305/8

March 23, 2010

Partial Permanent Disability: Illinois

Partial Permanent Disability.

In an Illinois Workers' Compensation case you are entitled to be compensated for the extent that your injury has caused a Partial Permanent Disability (PPD). This compensation is either through settlement or arbitration award once your condition has reached a state of permanence.

What is partial permanent disability?

Partial Permanent Disability (PPD) is any lasting disability from your work injury or illness that affects your ability to earn a living. You are entitled to compensation for Partial Permanent Disability (PPD) benefits even if you are able to go back to work.

How is Partial Permanent Disability (PPD) determined?

When your doctor has found that you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement, he determines what your permanent physical restrictions will be. These permanent restrictions are based on the nature of your injury and the extent of your recovery. Additionally, the restrictions may be based on objective testing such as MRIs, Operative Reports, and Functional Capacity Examinations.

How is your claim resolved?

Workers' Compensation Claims are resolved by settlement or by arbitration. In negotiating settlement, permanent restrictions are compared with the restrictions of similarly situated injured workers with similar recoveries. These comparisons are assessed based on prior arbitration decisions. Your workers' compensation attorney will be in the best position to get an accurate assessment of the partial permanent disability in your case.