Most injured workers will be entitled to a permanency settlement or award once treatment is completed - or once the medical condition has stabilized. The most common award will be what is called a "scheduled loss," for an injury that caused partial disability but did not affect one's earning capacity or job prospects.
As ghoulish as it sounds, the Illinois legislature breaks up a person by body parts and each "part" is given an assigned permanency multiplier. For example, if you hurt your knee that will be considered a percentage loss of your leg at a rate of 2.15 weeks permanency per percentage lost. Or, if you have elbow surgery that will be a percentage loss of your arm at a rate of 2.53 weeks per percentage lost. The number of weeks will then be multiplied by 60% of your Average Weekly Wage for the case to arrive at your recovery.
As an example, assume you have elbow surgery. Maybe that would be worth 15% loss of your arm, or 15 x 2.53 weeks = 37.95 weeks. Let's say your average weekly wage for the case is $900, making your 60% permanency rate to be $540. 37.95 weeks x $540/week = an award or settlement of $20,493. Because every case has different facts and different wages, no single injury is worth the same monetary value in all circumstances.
For those who are seriously injured and have lost access to all of part of their employment capacity, the law provides permanent total disability benefits for life or what are called wage impairment benefits, which is a differential payment covering 2/3 of the difference between what a person can earn now versus if they had never been injured at all. Wage impairment benefits are only paid until age 67, or for 5 years, whichever is greater.
Did you know?
There are five factors the Illinois Worker's Compensation Commission uses to determine permanent partial disability under Section 820 ILCS 305/8.1b(b):
1) The reported level of impairment pursuant to subsection (a);
2) The occupation of the injured employee;
3) The age of the employee at the time of the injury;
4) The employee's future earning capacity; and
5) Evidence of disability corroborated by the treating medical records.