What Happens if You Get Permanently Injured at Work?
Workplace injuries can lead to extensive pain suffering as well as major medical bills. Additionally, individuals injured on the job may not be able to earn money while they recover. In some circumstances, individuals may never be able to return to work, depending on the severity of the injury. Here, we want to discuss what happens if you sustain a permanent injury on the job.
How Illinois Workers’ Comp Handles Permanent Injuries
Most people know that workers’ compensation insurance will handle medical bills and a portion of lost wages for individuals who sustain workplace injuries. However, this is not meant to be permanent. The vast majority of people recover from their workplace injuries and are able to return to work.
However, there are times when individuals sustain significant permanent injuries that prevent them from carrying out the same duties they were able to before or from working at all. If an individual has sustained a permanent work injury in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois, then they have the right to receive lifetime disability benefits. These benefits are equal to two-thirds (66.66%) of the average weekly wage you were earning before the injury occurred.
However, it is important to point out that these benefits are subject to a maximum of 133.3% of the average weekly wage for the state at the time the injury occurred.
When are Permanent Total Disability Benefits Paid?
Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are usually only paid after a person has received medical treatment and a doctor has determined that they have reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI), which means that any further medical care will likely not improve the condition further.
Individuals in Illinois will be eligible for PTD if the following applies to their circumstances:
- They have complete partial loss of a body part, including losing a limb, eye, or finger in an accident
- They have complete or partial loss of use of part of their body, such as not being able to use or fully use in arm or leg due to nerve damage
- They have a partial loss of the use of their body as a whole, such as no longer being able to move heavy objects around due to a back injury
There are various ways that permanent total disability payments occur. This includes:
- Wage differential. This refers to the payment a person receives if they have to change to a lower-paying job as a result of their injury. Wage differential will make up for two-thirds of the difference between the former pay and the current pay.
- Scheduled injury. Individuals can recover permanent disability payments based on 60% of their average weekly wage. Illinois caps the number of weeks individuals can collect payment for an injury depending on the body part that sustained a permanent injury.
- Permanent loss of person as a whole. This method is applicable if a person experiences an injury that is not listed on the “scheduled injury” list for Illinois. This compensation will consider a person’s age, occupation, pain, range of motion, and inability to perform certain tasks.
- Disfigurement. If a person sustains a serious or permanent change to their appearance, particularly to the face, neck, head, hands, arms, or lower legs, a disfigurement value will be assigned.
The calculations that go into PTD can be complicated, and we strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled work injury lawyer in Chicago as soon as possible to help you through this process.