How much is my Workers’ Compensation case Worth?

 A common question we hear when talking to clients is, “how much is my case worth?”  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.  If you aren’t permanently disabled or in a situation where you have a significant wage loss, this will be based on PPD or “permanent partial disability.”


In plain English, PPD is compensation for your disability and considering how your injury is likely to affect you in the future.  You get compensated for the diminished nature of whatever body part was injured.  This compensation can be paid as a settlement, or if the insurance company won’t agree to pay a reasonable amount, then as 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 (AWW). To determine your PPD rate for settlement, we take your average weekly wage and multiply it by 60%.  For example, if you grossed $1,000 a week, your PPD rate would be $600 per week of compensation.  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.  IF you need to know more about how to compute your AWW, see our previous article on the subject.


The second thing we need to know is what body part is hurt.  The Illinois Legislature has assigned a certain number of weeks to the various parts of your body.  For example, your leg is worth a maximum of 215 weeks of compensation.  You can see a list of the weeks of disability for each body part below.


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, what complaints you currently have, and the probability you will have increasing problems or wage loss as you grow older.  As lawyers, we would compare what you are going through to other cases we have handled over decades and cases that have been decided at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.  This is our area of expertise and why you need a lawyer.  We ensure that you get a fair result for your injury.


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


Hand 205


Thumb 76


Index finger 43


Middle finger 38


Ring finger 27


Pinky finger 22


Arm 253


Arm amputated above elbow 270


Arm amputated at shoulder joint 323


Foot 167


Big Toe 38


Any non-big toe 13


Leg 215


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


It is important to remember that just because you may have hurt your leg, or your arm, it does not necessarily mean that your compensation is limited to disability to your leg or arm.  There are circumstances that could allow you to recover far more compensation than disability only to the injured body part.  With that in mind, and assuming you are only entitled to disability to a certain body part, computing the value of your claim simple.

For example, if you tore your ACL and were determined to have a 40% loss of the leg.  40% of 215 weeks (see the chart, a leg is worth 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.

Does this seem confusing?  It can be, but hopefully, this clears things up a bit.

Bonus tip.  Beware of insurance companies who try to base what your injury is worth using  an AMA rating.  It would significantly undervalue what your case is worth. Want to know why?

And of course, if you have any questions or concerns, you can call us any time at 618-241-9251 for a free consultation.