More often than not, a workplace injury will be fairly minor—a temporary back injury, some carpal tunnel, a twisted ankle, etc. However, more serious injuries can occur, such as the loss of an arm, leg, fingers, and so forth. In these cases, you are entitled to disability benefits under Illinois workers’ compensation law. These benefits help to make up for your inability to work.
The way these benefits are calculated will depend on the degree of your injury as well as your own individual needs. Each situation is unique, and the factors at play in your workers’ compensation claim will impact what you’ll be entitled to receive.
Permanent Partial Disability
When you receive any disabling injury on the job, you have a number of options. These options include the following:
- Wage differential, in which you receive 2/3 of your lost wages for five years or until you’re 67 years old, whichever is longer
- Scheduled injury, in which you get a lump sum based on your wages and the body part lost
- Disfigurement, which works similarly to scheduled injury, but won’t get you as much if you’ve lost an arm
- Percentage of loss of a person as a whole
When it comes to losing the use of your arm, compensation is typically calculated under Illinois’s schedule of benefits.
Schedule of Benefits
The schedule of benefits is a list of body parts that could be lost or injured in a work accident. Each of these is assigned a number of weeks, thereby representing how much compensation you’d get based on your weekly wage. If, for instance, you lose the use of your arm, you’d get 253 weeks’ worth of compensation, which is calculated at 60% of your average weekly wage (or AWW).
Having the arm amputated will increase the benefit you receive—270 weeks if it’s above the elbow and 323 at the shoulder. Again, these are multiplied by 60% of your AWW for a lump sum amount.
For example, if you work in a foundry and earn $800 per week, then losing your arm at the elbow would be calculated at $800 x 0.60 x 270, or $129,600.
Partial Loss Vs. Total Loss
A partial loss of a body part will not get you as much as a complete loss, and it’s calculated as a percentage of the body part in question. For instance, if your doctor concludes that you’ve lost 30% of your arm, you’d take 253 weeks x 0.30, then multiply that by 60% of your AWW.
If your injuries are extensive and cannot be classified on the schedule very easily, a percentage of your loss of the person as a whole can be calculated. The percentage you are deemed to have lost is multiplied by 500 weeks, then by 60% of your AWW.
In addition to disability benefits, you can also receive compensation for medical expenses, including rehabilitative therapy, surgeries, doctor visits, emergency treatment, and so forth. If you have been completely disabled by your injury (such as losing both arms), then you would likely qualify for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits, which last for your entire lifetime.
In any situation involving a work injury, an attorney can help you get the maximum benefits available. Hart David Carson LLP can provide you with the legal guidance and representation you need in these cases.