Wage Differential Law in Illinois Workers' Compensation Claims
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A work injury might leave you unable to do your job, either temporarily or permanently. In some cases, an employer will offer an injured employee an alternate job or position, often referred to as "light duty," that will accommodate their physical limitations. In other cases, an injured worker who cannot do his or her job will be able to find a job elsewhere. Continued employment can be a relief for an injured worker, but not if the new job comes with a smaller paycheck.
We understand how significantly a work injury can affect your ability to pay your bills or support your family. Our goal is to explain, in plain English, all of the benefits you are entitled to under Illinois law. Plus, we will help you find an attorney if you are having trouble getting benefits or if the insurer is paying you less than you are owed.
When a new job or position results in a pay cut, Illinois workers' compensation law offers a solution that essentially pays the worker part of the difference. It's called wage differential benefits. Assuming you are eligible for workers' compensation in the first place (your injury was caused by your job, you filed your claim on time, etc.), wage differential laws entitle you to 2/3 of the difference between your old pay and your light duty. So, you should get a regular paycheck for the new job or position, plus a workers' compensation check for 2/3 of the difference in wages.
Sometimes, even a light duty job puts your health or recovery at risk or is too difficult given your injuries. In these cases, Illinois law provides injured workers with “temporary total disability” payments. Temporary total disability, or TTD, is compensation for injured workers who are unable to work at all, as determined by their doctor. You also are entitled to temporary total disability payments if your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions. In other words, even if you are physically capable of doing some work, your employer might not have any light duty work available.
Don't rely on advice from your employer or their insurance adjuster. Trust your own instincts. If you are earning less because of a work accident, you may be entitled to benefits. Sometimes, you might have to fight for them. If benefits are denied or disputed, your attorney can request a hearing in front of an arbitrator, like a judge, who can order that you get paid. If you need help finding the right attorney for your case, contact us. We will recommend someone who has years of experience – and success – getting wage differential and other benefits for their clients.