What If I Am Injured and Unable to Perform My Old Job?
Serving Chicago, Surrounding Suburbs and all Surrounding Counties of DuPage, Will & Lake.
TRANSCRIPT: The first assessment we'll make if your injuries are so severe that you can't return to your old job, is number 1, can you work in any capacity? And if your doctors state yes, you can work in some capacity, we figure out what your parameters are, of your capacity to work. If it does not fit with your old job, or if your old job doesn't create a position, within those restrictions that the doctors gave you, you look elsewhere. One of your options is called vocational rehabilitation. And that's where you meet with a career counselor, which is hired and paid for by the workers' compensation insurance company. They'll have an assessment of your educational background, your work history, your age, where you live, and of course your physical capabilities following your discharge from the doctor, when the doctors state you are as good as you are going to get, which is your maximum medical improvement. Based on those factors, they take all of those into consideration, and make a determination in the geographic location where you live if there's employment for you. If there is, we petition of course for them to help you get employment, maintain your benefit pay while you're off work until you find employment, and of course if employment is found, depending on how much that employment pays, you are eligible for settlements, different categories of settlements, especially if that new job does not pay you as much as you were making before your injury. Second option is if you can't go back to your old job, is of course to get your settlement, based upon the extent of your injury as issued by the chart we discussed earlier by the State of Illinois, which designates every body part. They take 60 percent of your gross pay per week and multiply it by the mathematical factor of your disability in the chart based on your body part and they come to a mathematical formula of what your case is valued at. A third option is what's called wage differential. What that means is if you have a new job, and that new job pays you less than your old job, there's a difference in your wages. So as an example, at your old job if you were making $600 a week, gross, and the new job, pays you $400 a week gross, because you can't perform the physical tasks of your old job, there's a $200 gap in how much you were making before your injury and how much you are eligible to make with the restrictions that you have because of your injury. The law in the State of Illinois gives you certain options on wage differential. One of the options, without getting too technical with the mathematics, is that you get a certain percentage being two-thirds of that differential, from the date that you start the job up and through the age of 67. If you're close to the age of 67, meaning if you are within 5 years, you get it for only a 5-year period. Most of the time these sums are calculated into a present value and you get everything in one lump sum at the beginning of your employment with your new employer as opposed to the weekly checks for that two-thirds differential. Financially that makes more sense for somebody because they can use the money now as opposed to getting little increments over the next course of decades or a few years depending on your age, leading up to the age of 67 or 5 years depending on your age.