What Should I Know About Settling My Workers' Compensation Claim?
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When it comes pursuing an Illinois workers' compensation settlement there is a lot to think about. First, don't settle too soon. Don't settle until your medical care is complete and you have returned to work because when you do settle, your employer is no longer required to pay for expenses related to your injury. If you settle and then require additional medical treatment, you will have to personally cover those expenses. An experienced Illinois workers' compensation attorney will be able to walk you through the process, including advising you on the appropriate time to settle. Once you do settle your rights as relate to that injury are closed forever.
The next thing you should know is that workers' compensation settlements are not meant to set you up for retirement or be a windfall of any kind. Rather, the purpose is to compensate you for the partial disability you will experience in the future. The settlement, called permanent partial disability (PPD), is determined by a formula that takes into account the following:
1. your pre-injury wages - what were you earning before you were injured?
2. your subsequent medical treatment - what have your medical bills amounted to in order to rehabilitate you to return to work?
3. your stabilized medical status - what condition are you in now, after your injury?
An experienced Illinois workers' compensation lawyer will review your records and assist you in determining what your claim is worth. So, it is important to keep accurate records (medical records as well as correspondence with your employer). Certainly a good attorney will want to get you as much as possible as the more they get for you, the more they get themselves.
If you have been hurt and can no longer work the type of job you had before you were injured and have to take a pay cut, you may be entitled to wage differential benefits until you are better - until your disability ceases. Wage differential benefits in Illinois are 2/3 of what you would currently be making in full performance of your previous job versus what you can currently make now. For example, if you earned $600.00/week at your old and you can now only earn $300.00/week, you would be entitled to 2/3 of the difference each week (2/3 of $300 difference) or $200.00.
If it is determined that you can never return to a stable job and are found to be permanently and totally disabled, you would be entitled to permanent disability benefits for the rest of your life, which is a weekly payment equivalent to the temporary total disability (TTD) benefit rate, but may be adjusted for costs of living. Calculation of this rate can be complicated but is generally 2/3 of your weekly average wage for the past year. Again, an experienced Illinois workers' compensation attorney will help to determine what you are entitled to.
If you are in need of future medical treatment or are worried about what will happen if you wake up ten years and your injury that was better is now a problem again, there is an option for you. By taking a case to trial before an Arbitrator, you can keep your medical rights open as relates to your injury for the rest of your life. So if you have a back fusion today and are worried about back problems 15 years from now, when you go to trial as long as you can prove that your future problem is related to the work injury the insurance company will have to pay for your treatment. You still get compensated in a way similar to your settlement. That said there are risks of going to trial and it can certainly take longer. A good attorney will counsel you on the right decision.
No matter what stage you are at in the process, you should have a lawyer on your side.
and we will point you in the right direction. We don't promise a result, but do guarantee that we will treat you like a family member or friend. All calls are free and confidential.