How Much is My Workers’ Compensation Claim Worth?
When you’ve suffered a work injury and are facing medical bills, lost work time, and perhaps ongoing limitations, you’re naturally concerned about the value of your workers’ compensation claim. It’s one of the first questions many new workers’ compensation clients ask. However, every workers’ compensation case is different. While an experienced workers’ comp attorney can provide an educated assessment of the value of your case, you should be wary of anyone who claims to be able to provide hard numbers in advance.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney like Steve Hanagan or Brian McGovern can explain the pros and cons of entering into a workers’ compensation settlement in detail, and help assess whether or not a settlement would be beneficial in your case. If you’ve been offered a workers’ compensation settlement or are evaluating how best to pursue your workers’ comp claim and you aren’t represented by an experienced workers’ comp lawyer, call us today for a free consultation: 618-241-9251
What Determines the Value of a Workers’ Comp Case?
A workers’ compensation settlement is calculated based on projected future workers’ compensation benefits, such as permanent or temporary partial disability payments. Weekly benefits are determined using a formula that includes:
- The injured workers’ pre-injury earnings
- A weekly cap (as of 2018, $1463.80/week for permanent total disability (PTD) or temporary total disability (TTD) and $790.64/week for permanent partial disability (PPD)
- A weekly minimum, which is increased if the injured worker has a dependent spouse and/or children
In determining a workers’ compensation settlement, the parties must also consider which body part or body parts have been injured, and to what extent. Illinois workers’ compensation law assigns a maximum number of weeks of compensation for each body part, and that number is adjusted based on the seriousness of the injury.
Future Medical Expenses and Workers’ Compensation Settlements
Ideally, a workers’ compensation settlement takes place after the treating physician has released the injured worker from care. When negotiating a workers’ compensation settlement in a case involving ongoing, lifelong, or potential future medical care, it is important to recognize that the settlement will likely cut off access to additional payment for medical expenses. Thus, it is critical that any projected medical expenses are factored into the settlement.
Depending on the specifics of the case, including whether the injured worker is receiving or applying for Social Security Disability, projected medical expenses may be built into the settlement total or subject to set aside for medical purposes.
Conflict in Workers’ Comp Claim Valuation
In theory, the formulas and caps make it simple to calculate a workers’ compensation settlement. Unfortunately, your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company have a powerful incentive to dispute the numbers. Insurance companies make a profit by taking in premiums while paying out as little as possible in claims. To further complicate matters, the need for future medical care is often somewhat speculative. The degree to which an injured worker’s medical condition will improve may also be uncertain.
Thus, valuing a workers’ compensation claim is rarely—if ever—a matter of punching some numbers and data into the prescribed formulas. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier will be working to minimize costs by limiting the payout and exposure. The right workers’ compensation attorney will fight to ensure that you receive adequate compensation and have access to the medical care you need.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Whether you’re just commencing a workers’ compensation claim or are considering a settlement, an experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help you avoid pitfalls and protect your rights. The sooner you get a knowledgeable advocate on your side, the better.
Unlike many workers’ compensation law firms, the lawyers at Hanagan & McGovern don’t see a free consultation as an opportunity to hard sell you. After decades of experience with workers’ compensation claims, we know that while many clients benefit from working with an experienced attorney, it isn’t necessary for every claimant. If we believe all you need is information, that’s what you’ll get.
Call us right now at 618-241-9251 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.