Illinois Lawyer Referrals and Legal Guidance
Am I Entitled to a Settlement in my
Worker’s Compensation Case?
Findgreatlawyers.com is a free service, run by attorneys, to help you find the right Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer for your unique case. We also answer questions with no obligation. We have helped thousands of people since 2001 and would be happy to help you. If you want our help please contact us at (312) 346-5320 or (800) 517-1614.We help with work injury cases anywhere in Illinois.
If you have a compensable work injury in Illinois, you are almost always entitled to a settlement. If you are injured on the job or become ill because of your job, your employer must pay for worker’s compensation benefits. Worker’s compensation benefits include medical care, disability benefits and rehabilitation benefits.
You can receive worker’s compensation benefits for almost any non-superficial injury. This is true even, for example, if you break a bone and it grows back better than before. Although there is no real disability, you are compensated for how this injury may impact you long term. These benefits are known as permanent partial disability or PPD.
Once your initial medical treatment has ended and you are at maximum medical improvement (as good as you are going to get), you are eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. These benefits are determined based on a review of your medical records, past cases decided by the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission and the status of your job. Unlike other states, where "permanency" is determined or a "permanency award" is given based on a doctor’s determination of the permanent loss of function, Illinois does not recognize such ratings. Rather, it is based on the components noted above. Every case is different and what yours is worth depends on a lot of factors.
As far as settlement, sometimes, it is better not to settle. By going to trial, you can keep your medical rights open for life as it relates to your injury. You still get compensated but it will not be in a lump sum.
For example, assume you have ankle surgery and the doctors put hardware in place that your doctor believes might need to be replaced some day. If you settle, the settlement amount may not cover what that replacement will one day cost you. You might want to leave your medical rights open because once settled and approved, a case is closed and there is nothing that can be done if your injury gets worse in the future. A new injury would be whole new case but, as far as your first injury, any future related expenses would not entitle you to benefits after settlement. You also might be able to get a higher lump sum settlement that includes compensation for future medical treatment.
In some instances the workers’ compensation insurance company offers a settlement by themselves. This can be a trick though because they typically offer way less than what the case is worth. If they do make an offer, many lawyers will be hesitant to get involved. If they don’t make an offer and too much time passes, your case could be barred forever.
Attorneys’ fees in worker’s compensation cases are contingent, meaning you don’t pay anything to your attorney unless you get something. So, your attorney will get a percentage of what you recover but, under Illinois law, not more than 20%. The exception is that if a settlement offer has been made, your lawyer can take 50% of what he recovers on top of the previous offer.
An experienced Illinois worker’s compensation attorney will be able to tell what your case is worth once they review all of your medical records. The lawyers we recommend focus their practice on work injuries and have a real track record of success in obtaining settlements for their clients or making a recovery through trial when necessary. If you would like a referral to one of these lawyers or have questions about your case, please contact us at any time.