Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC – Law Firm in Fairview Heights, IL

DISABILITY LAW

DETERMINING THE SETTLEMENT VALUE ON AN ILLINOIS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CASE

When the Grand Bargain of the Workers’ Compensation Act was completed, employees were able to obtain medical treatment and lost time wages following the work injury. However, the final settlement did not include compensation for issues such as pain and suffering. Instead, settlements were based on an artificially created chart relating to disability to the injured body part. This chart identified the particular body part’s total value. The body part’s value was identified in the following chart:
While there have been minor changes to the chart through the years, the methodology for calculating disability remains the same. An additional limitation occurred in 2011 when repetitive motion injuries to the hands were presumptively capped at 15% disability of the hand and the starting point was reduced from 205 weeks to 190 weeks. To better explain this methodology, below are a few examples of real settlements.
If an injured worker sustained a complete amputation to their hand, the employee would be entitled to 205 weeks of compensation as that is the statutory value of the hand as noted in the chart. This statutory number of weeks is multiplied by 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage to come up with the final settlement or trial value.
Thankfully, full amputations of limbs are rare. However, traumatic injuries to the hand are more common and frequently lead to medical treatment or surgeries to the hand. In such scenarios, once treatment is concluded, frequently parties can agree to settle for a percentage of disability to that hand. In such scenarios, if the parties agree to settle for 10% disability of the hand, the employee would receive 20.5 weeks of compensation which would be multiplied by 60% of their average weekly wage. (205 x 10% = 20.5 x 60% of the average weekly wage)
If you compare that to the repetitive motion injury Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, that 10% disability would only be 19 weeks, which would then be multiplied by 60% of the injured workers’ average weekly wage. (190 x 10% = 19 x 60% of the average weekly wage).
If the injury occurs to a body part not assigned a specific number of weeks, the initial starting point begins at the 500 week level. These are referred to as man as a whole or body as a whole injuries. Such injuries can include spinal injuries, head traumas and hernias. Regardless, the calculation remains the same. (500 x % of disability x 60% of the Average Weekly Wage).
In determining the extent of disability, the courts look at factors such as subjective ongoing symptoms; whether surgery was required; loss of range of motion or strength; and permanent work restrictions. Additionally, the courts consider other issues such as the injured worker’s age, occupation, and future earning capacity. In 2011, the Act was modified to allow for impairment ratings under the American Medical Association. These ratings are provided by the insurance company’s doctor and historically will be below any final disability amounts that are awarded. These ratings are only factored in as one of the elements considered by the courts.
Calculations for permanent partial disability assume that the injured worker was able to return to work with either the same employer or a different employer at or near the same wages. If the employee is unable to return to work and has a significant loss of wages, the calculations could be considered a wage differential as opposed to a settlement for permanent partial disability. Each settlement for permanent partial disability is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Although there are ranges of settlement based upon the injury, the final resolution can vary dramatically based on the outcome of medical treatment as well as the venue to which the case is assigned. If there are questions regarding whether the settlement offer is fair or whether wage differential is a better settlement, consult a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney who can assist you in determining the best resolution for you.

As part of our firm’s commitment to clients with severe injuries and physical limitations, we are proud to also offer legal representation for clients seeking to appeal adverse disability law determinations from the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. This truly sets us apart as an all-inclusive and comprehensive injury law firm in the metro St. Louis and southern Illinois region. Common cases we accept include:

Social Security Disability Appeals:

  • SSDI / SSI Appeals
  • Disability appeals following work injuries
  • Disability appeals for chronic pain syndrome and related conditions

TIME LIMITS TO KEEP IN MIND

Disability claims – VA and SSDI – each have unique time limits and rules that make it very important to speak with an attorney early. If you miss the deadline to appeal a denial, you’ll likely have to re-apply and lose your right to retroactive benefits. This could mean losing tens of thousands of dollars in potential compensation. As soon as you are denied, call our firm to discuss your options.

LET YOUR COMPENSATION BEGIN HERE

If you were injured or you’ve developed a severe and chronic medical condition or injury that prevents you from working, let Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC help you appeal your disability denial. Like most of our injury-related services, we use a contingent fee for these cases, so you don’t owe us unless we succeed.  Call us at (618) 777-6133 or contact us online to discuss your case. An initial consultation is provided at no-cost for VA disability and SSDI cases.

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Covid-19 Announcement

Governor Pritzker has implemented a “Stay-at-Home” order. This order is to contain the highly contagious virus known as COVID-19. Due to this order, our physical office here in Fairview Heights will be closed until the lifting of the order. This will not affect the services in which we provide to our clients.

Our Attorneys and Staff will be working from home during this time, meaning we will receive your phone calls and emails. Please bear with us as we will respond to your questions and/or concerns as quickly as possible. We thank you for your understanding, please stay safe and only go into public whenever it’s absolutely necessary.

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