After recovering from your work-related injury, you will usually want to take a final monetary award as a settlement. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) lays out how this process should occur. A seasoned workers’ comp attorney could help you calculate value for a Cicero workers’ compensation settlement.

The Right to a Settlement

Once a worker has achieved what is known as maximum medical improvement (MMI), they have the chance to win a lump sum settlement of their worker’s compensation case. Through the Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured employee is entitled to a settlement for a Permanent Partial Disability (PPD). If an injured employee does not hire legal representation, they might not know that they are entitled to money for their injury, since insurance companies will often not bring it up.

How Does Someone Calculate a PPD Settlement?

The value of a worker’s compensation case is determined through a specific calculation. To calculate the value of a settlement, an Oak Lawn worker must multiply 60 percent of their Average Weekly Wage (AWW) by the number of weeks’ compensation for the part of the body that they injured, then multiplied again by the percent disability.

Average Weekly Wage

Someone’s AWW is their gross earnings over the previous 52 weeks, then divided by 52. Overtime, sick days, and vacation time can add an extra complication to the calculation of the weekly wage. Since disability checks and settlements are based on a person’s weekly wage, the AWW must be accurate. No one should just trust the insurance company as to what wage should be. Once a person has the correct AWW, they can get the PPD rate by multiplying the AWW by 60 percent.

Scheduled Awards

The Workers’ Compensation Act assigns a certain number of weeks’ compensation for injury to every body part. These are called scheduled awards. Certain things like neck or back injuries do not have a specific schedule for them. For those body parts which are not listed, the Act considers these to be non-scheduled awards. A non-scheduled award, typically called “man as a whole,” is listed as 500 weeks compensation.

What is Someone’s Percent of Permanent Disability?

Finally, a worker must determine the percent of their disability, ranging from zero to 100 percent. In determining a percent of impairment, the WCC takes the following into account:

  • The worker’s occupation
  • The worker’s age
  • The worker’s future ability to earn an income
  • Evidence of disability through medical records
  • A physician’s impairment report as determined by the “Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment” by the American Medical Association

The higher the percent disability, the higher the PPD award. This is one of the more subjective parts of calculating the value of a worker’s comp settlement, so a local lawyer should be present to assist.

An Example of Calculating a PPD Award

Here is a simple example of the calculation of a PPD award. It assumes there is no dispute over the injury, nor the numbers used in arriving at the award. If a worker makes $800/week and suffers a knee strain, their award would be calculated as follows:

  • Average weekly wage of $800 x 60% = $480
  • Schedule award for injury to the leg = 215 weeks
  • Sprain disability rating = 5%
  • PPD award = $480 x 215 x 5% = $5,160

An insurance company will always try to minimize the numbers used in calculating a PPD settlement. Their job is not to pay a person what they deserve but to save the insurance company money by paying out as little as possible. When a worker settles a case, they cannot go back and ask for more money later, which is why it is important to do everything correctly.

Work with an Attorney to Calculate the Value for an Oak Lawn Workman’s Comp Case

Calculating settlements often have unforeseen complications. You might believe that you can negotiate a settlement with the aid of an attorney but this a risk you do not want to take. Reach out to a lawyer to ensure that you are properly calculating the value of your workers’ compensation settlement in Cicero.