Permanent Disability Benefits in Illinois Work Injuries
Permanent disability benefits are workers' compensation benefits for individuals who have sustained a serious injury. The injured employee can receive permanent disability benefits in a few different instances.
Statutorial permanent disability. This is where there is a loss of both hands, both arms, both feet, both legs, both eyes, or the permanent and complete loss of the use of any of those body parts. If that were the case, it would constitute a permanent and total disability. This is true even if, for example, you lost both feet, or the use of them, but could still do your job as an accountant. Even though you could work, you would still get permanent disability benefits. Essentially the law is that if you lose two or more limbs from a job accident you are permanently disabled. Period.
Permanently and totally disabled. This is where a medical doctor states that you have permanent restrictions such as severe back, neck or leg problems where your movement is restricted and you are unable to do many normal activities of daily life. In order to prove this, you will first need a doctor to state what your permanent restrictions are. You may then be asked by your employer (or your employer's insurance company) to undergo an independent medical examination. You don't have to be wheel-chair bound or confined to a bed to have a doctor state that you are permanently disabled. You do likely have a serious injury where your physician recognizes that doing any sort of job will put you in tremendous pain or risk of greater injury.
Odd-lot permanent total. This is where an individual is released by a doctor as having permanent medical restrictions (e.g. no lifting more than 10 pounds, needs to lay down for 15 minutes every two hours, etc.) and the individual goes through vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation is a process by which a vocational counselor interviews you and assesses your skills. Based on that assessment and other factors such as age, education, job history, life expectancy, language skills, etc., the counselor determines that there is no stable job market for you. That doesn't mean you can't do any work at all, just that there is no stable labor market for you. This protects injured workers whose employers will make up a job for them only to fire them once the case has settled.
Permanent disability benefits are paid for the remainder of a disability which is usually the rest of your life. The payment rate is 2/3 of your average weekly wage, but there are certain minimums and maximums as far as what you will receive. Those amounts vary based on when you were hurt. In many cases the insurance company will offer a lump sum settlement to resolve your case. The amount a case is worth depends on many factors including your wage, how old you are and the likelihood that a Judge would find you are permanently disabled.
Honestly if you are in a position where permanent disability benefits are a possible option then you are likely in a lot of pain and discomfort. There is no amount of money that is worth your health and we imagine you'd do anything to be feeling better. That said, if you don't have a work injury attorney who regularly deals with permanent total disability cases in Illinois then you are playing with fire. The difference between a good and bad attorney could be hundreds of thousands of dollars for you.
A good Illinois workers' compensation attorney will be able to advise you on a course of action that will best suit your needs in light of your injury, age, overall health and other factors. It's rare that an insurance company will agree that a worker is permanently disabled and quite often the only way to secure these benefits is by going to Arbitration. If you would like a recommendation of an Illinois work injury attorney with a track record of success in obtaining permanent disability benefits for their clients, please contact us at any time.
Since 2001 illinoislawyers.com has helped thousands of people who have sustained serious injuries on the job. We are based in Cook County, but are not just a place to find Chicago permanent disability attorneys or other lawyers for work injuries. Rather when we speak with you our lawyers analyze your situation, offer advice and recommend an independent law firm that best fits your needs. We have a network of attorneys throughout Illinois in places like Rockford, Chicago, Decatur, Edwardsville, Alton, Waukegan, Naperville, Moline, Ottawa and Bloomington (to name a few). Every work injury attorney we suggest has a real track record of success. We would never recommend an attorney to you that we wouldn't suggest to a family member or friend.