Many victims who are injured on the job in Illinois have access to workers’ compensation benefits for an unlimited amount of time. But these benefits are not as significant as they used to be. The money available for lost wage replacement and medical bill payment has decreased almost 20 percent since 2013. The insurance industry dominates the workers’ compensation system in Illinois. Injured workers often don’t have much of a voice in this process.
As outlined below, the workers’ compensation time frame usually depends on the nature and extent of the work-related illness or injury. Benefits availability may change, but the role of a workers’ compensation lawyer in Illinois does not change. Insurance company lawyers are only concerned about insurance company profits. So, they do whatever it takes to reduce or deny job injury benefits in specific cases. But a workers’ compensation lawyer in Illinois stands up for you.
Temporary Total Disability
Most trauma injury victims, like fall victims, have temporary disabilities which are completely disabling. These individuals cannot work while they recover.
Usually, the wage replacement and medical bill payment benefit last until these individuals reach MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement). Typically, workers’ compensation pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage. These insurance policies also pay all reasonably necessary medical expenses.
MMI essentially means that additional medical treatment or physical therapy would be ineffective. For example, if Tim breaks his shoulder at work, he may permanently lose some range of motion in the joint so further treatment is futile. MMI basically clears the victim to return to work. In the end, that’s what everyone wants.
Temporary Partial Disability
The MMI rule also applies to TPD cases. These victims can work while they recover. However, they must reduce their hours, accept light-duty assignments, or make other adjustments. These individuals usually receive two-thirds of the difference between their old and new salaries until they reach MMI.
In all workers’ compensation matters, the average weekly wage includes more than regular cash compensation. It also includes irregular and non-cash compensation, like missed performance bonuses and tuition reimbursement. Furthermore, the AWW is forward-looking. It must also account for things like lost future overtime opportunities.
The MMI rule is more relaxed in Illinois than in some other states. Job injury victims in the Prairie State can choose their own doctors. So, the team doctor does not send injured victims back to work before they are fully ready.
Normally, Permanent Partial Disability victims have reached MMI but still struggle with significant disability, such as the aforementioned severe range of motion loss in a broken shoulder. These victims deserve compensation for their future lost wages. There are four different PPD wage replacement categories in Illinois:
- Wage Differential: Some PPD victims are eligible for extended PTD wage replacement benefits for five years or until they turn 67. The same rules regarding average weekly wage calculation apply.
- Disfigurement Benefits: These benefits are usually available in severe scarring cases and other instances that involve the permanent disability of a visible body part. Depending on the severity of the permanent disability, victims could receive up to two-thirds of their AWW for up to 162 weeks.
- Scheduled Injury: If the disability affects one of the injuries listed in the Illinois PPD schedule of body parts, the victim could receive two-thirds of his/her AWW for the amount of time designated in the schedule. Common scheduled disabilities include hand, foot, or finger disfigurement, as well as hearing and vision loss.
- Unscheduled Injury: If the disability is not listed in the state’s schedule, a two-thirds AWW and percentage of 500 weeks rule usually applies. The percentage depends on the extent of the disability.
Job injury victims who are completely unable to work, or lose the use of two or more body parts, receive two-thirds of their average weekly wages for the rest of their lives.
Work With with an Assertive Winnebago County Workers’ Comp Attorney
Accident victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Illinois, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. by calling 815-315-0574. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.