After an injured worker has received medical and temporary disability benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, they are entitled to a third benefit. This Permanent Partial Disability payment, or PPD benefit, is the “settlement” received at the conclusion of medical treatment. Unlike receiving a personal injury settlement, this PPD benefit is a statutory one, granted under Section 8 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
For purposes of this article, we will assume that a hypothetical injured worker has made a full medical recovery from an injury and has returned back to a full duty job. To value what this worker is entitled to under the Act we must look at a number of factors. These factors can include: evidence of disability, the worker’s age, future earning capacity, occupation, any impairment rating prepared by a physician in accordance with AMA guidelines, medical treatment rendered, and the type of recovery. The last thing to consider to value a case is the injured worker’s “rate.” This weekly pay rate, subject to certain maximums and minimums, will be used to figure out the settlement value.
Every injury, no matter how small, will be entitled to some permanency benefit. For every specified body part, such as an arm or leg injury, there are a maximum number of weeks assigned for permanency for each body part. For a non-specified body part, such as a back or a neck injury, 500 weeks are assigned for the injury. These specified numbers of weeks are derived by statute. Using the previously mentioned settlement factors, an evaluating party will come up with a percentage of disability. This percentage is then multiplied by the statutory number of weeks and that number is then multiplied by the PPD rate. This is how a permanency valuation (under the assumption outlined above) is derived.
In order to get the highest value for a case, an injured worker should have an experienced attorney review their case. An attorney will review the medical records and the aforementioned factors, and value the case based upon what cases of that nature have historically been valued at in the past.
Brian Cichon has been practicing law in Will County for over 20 years. He handles a variety of legal issues, including workers’ compensation. Brian’s primary goal in any legal dispute is to make sure that the solution is the best possible one for his client. He always seeks a practical, cost-effective outcome, and where litigation is necessary, he is ready to fight for his client’s rights.