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Jonathan Rosenfeld

July 9, 2023

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In many cases, it makes sense for both you and the insurance company to enter a workers comp settlement. Before you sign anything, you need to know exactly how much you deserve in financial compensation payments.

Otherwise, you may be leaving money on the table. While an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can give you a better idea after reviewing your case, you should at least understand the principles behind the valuation of workers’ compensation settlements.

The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are available to give you a free consultation.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company Will Likely Offer You a Settlement

It is a reality that most granted workers’ compensation claims will result in a settlement. You want to get your money upfront in a lump sum payment, while the insurance company wants to keep claims from being open on their books for a long time.

If you do not yet have a workers comp attorney, you need one when you are negotiating a settlement. You need to know the settlement value before you can negotiate with any leverage or knowledge.

Do Not Worry About an Average Workers Comp Settlement

One of the first questions that many prospective clients ask us is about the average workers’ compensation settlement for their injuries. We could give you an answer, but it would not particularly help you.

Worrying about an average number could lead to you settling your workers’ compensation claim for less money than you could get. The better question that you should ask is how much you can get. The answer is that everything depends on a number of factors that could vary between injured workers.

What Is In My Lump Sum Settlement?

There are two primary components of a workers comp settlement:

  • Payment for your lost wages
  • Compensation for your medical expenses

In other words, the insurance company is paying upfront the workers’ compensation benefits that you could expect in the future after your claim is approved.

Understanding a Fair Settlement Amount for Your Weekly Compensation

You would be more likely to reach a settlement agreement when you have suffered some type of permanent impairment from your work-related injury or illness. Your settlement offer would be based on several factors:

  • The particular area of the body that was injured
  • The impairment rating that you were assigned for your injury
  • The average weekly wages that you were earning in your job before you suffered a work-related injury

Maximum Medical Improvement in a Workers Compensation Claim

At some point, you may reach the point where additional medical care may not help improve your condition. You would be asked to undergo a functional capacity evaluation (FCE), where the insurance company hopes to get a better idea of your capacity.

The doctor could determine whether you can go back to work, and what restrictions you may have.

Once you have undergone your medical examination, your temporary total disability could become a permanent total disability or a permanent partial disability.

Your Impairment Rating After a Workplace Injury

After workplace accidents, employees may learn that they have suffered a permanent disability or a permanent partial disability. When an employee suffers a permanent injury, they would likely try to negotiate a workers comp settlement.

Your impairment rating describes the percentage that you are disabled. In Illinois, impairment ratings are determined based on the number of weeks assigned to a particular body part.

Your Lost Wages Calculation Begins with Your Average Weekly Wage

Before you can calculate how much you may be able to receive as payment for your workplace injuries, you must know how much you were earning before you were hurt.

In general, your disability benefits for lost wages is two-thirds of what you were earning prior to your injury. Your benefits would be capped at the average weekly wage in Illinois.

The state updates the average weekly wage every six months to account for inflation.

Injured Employees Should Review the Workers Comp Settlement Chart

There is a workers’ compensation settlement chart that Illinois provides. They will compensate you for a maximum number of weekly payments based on the chart.

For example, if you suffered a permanent injury to your hand, you would be entitled to 205 weeks of benefits. An injury that involves disfigurement would result in 162 weeks of compensation benefits.

The table applies regardless of whether the injured employee returns to work. If you are partially disabled, you would receive an impairment rating that would be multiplied by the compensation that you are due to reach the amount of your workers’ compensation settlement.

The Importance of Settling Your Workers’ Compensation Claim for the Right Amount

The entire reason that insurance companies settle workers’ compensation claims is that they want to take the claim off their books. They do not want to be on the hook for ongoing payments related to your claim, whether it is lost wages or medical bills.

The critical thing that the insurance company will ask you to do in exchange for the settlement check is to sign a document that releases them from any future liability in connection with your claim. Once you sign the settlement, the insurance carrier is not obligated to pay anything else in connection with your claim.

If you did not receive enough money in connection with your settlement, you cannot come back for more money in the future. While the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission must approve your settlement, you cannot expect them to be too activist in saving you from yourself.

They could reject a settlement that is far lower than what you would deserve, but they may not object when your actual settlement is in the same ballpark as your settlement value.

Therefore, it is crucial to get legal help when you are negotiating a workers’ compensation settlement. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, our workers’ compensation attorneys know how to estimate your settlement value, so you are on an equal footing with the insurance company when it is time to negotiate.

Medical Expenses Are a Large Part of Workers Compensation Cases

Medical expenses are not just what the insurance company has paid in the past. Your settlement amount should also cover future medical expenses. However, your need for medical benefits may be unclear if you do not know what type of treatment you will require.

If you have suffered severe injuries, you may not know how much future medical care you may need. Some people may not settle cases in which they will still need ongoing medical care because there is too much of a risk that you could underestimate what may be necessary.

You may consider settling the lost wages part of your claim on its own without settling medical expenses to keep coverage for future care. Everything depends on the facts and circumstances of your own injury and what your future needs are.

How to Get a Fair Settlement for Your Workers Compensation Case

You cannot expect the insurance company to give you a fair workers’ compensation settlement on their own without any prompting. You simply cannot trust them to do the right thing in any case.

You would need to work to get a fair settlement. Your attorney would negotiate on your behalf. Even if lost wage amounts are set by a chart, you could contest your impairment rating or negotiate for more compensation for future medical expenses.

Contact a Workers Comp Attorney to Learn More

To learn more about workers’ compensation payouts, and for help with a more difficult case, contact the attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today. We will speak to you to learn more about your workers’ comp case and give you the legal advice you need.

You can schedule a free consultation today by calling us at (888) 424-5757 or by filling out a contact form online. You do not owe us any legal fees unless you receive workers’ compensation payments in connection with your claim.

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
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