Month: March 2019
How much is my case worth?
A common question we hear when talking to clients is, “how much is my case worth?” But if you are hurt on the job in Illinois you are going to hear terms like PPD or “percentage loss of use,” and they can be confusing. Hopefully, we can clear that up a bit.
Almost every Illinois work injury has some settlement value. When you are done with your medical care is when it’s time to start thinking about a settlement which, if you aren’t permanently disabled or in a situation where you have a significant wage loss, is called PPD or permanent partial disability.
In plain English, PPD is compensation for how your injury is likely to affect you in the future. You get compensated for the diminished nature of whatever body part was injured. It’s a myth. If you break your hand, usually it will grow back stronger so in theory there is no PPD. In reality though if you hurt your hand at work you will be entitled to some settlement or if the insurance company won’t pay, an award from an Arbitrator after a short hearing.
So how do you figure out what your case is worth?
First, we need to know your average weekly wage. To determine your PPD rate for settlement, we take your average weekly salary (gross not net) and multiply it by 60%. If you grossed $1,000 a week, your PPD rate would be $600. There is a cap on this amount. The highest PPD rate you could have if you were injured today is $790.64. So for anyone making $68,522.13 a year or more, $790.64 would be your PPD rate.
The second thing we need to know is what body part is hurt.
The third thing to know is what percentage loss of use did you sustain to that body part. This is determined mostly by looking at your medical records, the treatment you have had, any restrictions you might have, need for future treatment and what complaints you currently have. As lawyers, we would compare what you are going through to other cases that have been decided at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
We then take your PPD rate and multiply it by the number of weeks associated with your injured body part. The table below is the maximum value for any body part.
Part of Body And Maximum Number of Weeks Paid
Man as a whole (neck, back) 500
Index finger 43
Middle finger 38
Ring finger 27
Pinky finger 22
Arm amputated above elbow 270
Arm amputated at shoulder joint 323
Big Toe 38
Any non-big toe 13
Leg amputated above knee 242
Leg amputated at hip joint 296
Loss of sight in one eye 162
Loss of one eye 173
Hearing loss in one ear due to occupational disease 100
Hearing loss in one ear due to accident or trauma 54
Loss of hearing in both ears 215
Kidney, spleen, or lung removal 10
Loss of one testicle 54
Loss of both testicles 162
If you tore your ACL and were determined to have a 40% loss of the leg. 40% of 215 (see the chart, a leg is worth up to 215 weeks) is 86. So if you were making $1,000 a week, your PPD rate would be $600. $600 x 86 means the case would be worth $51,600.00
If you lost 100% sight in one eye and you were making $1000/week before the injury, you would multiply $600 (60% of your average weekly income) times 162 which would net a permanent benefit of $162,000. This number, of course, would change if losing your vision made you permanently disabled or caused a significant wage loss.
If you were disfigured due to your on the job injury, like a scar on your face, the parties involved would need to agree on a number of weeks of compensation that injury is worth and then apply the same amount of weeks to 60% of your average income, with a maximum of 162 weeks.
Does this seem confusing? It can be, but hopefully, this clears things up a bit.
Bonus tip. Beware insurance companies who try to base what your injury is worth solely off an AMA rating. It would significantly undervalue what your case is worth.
And of course, if you have any questions or concerns, you can call us any time at 217-367-6092 for a free consultation.