Auto Workers With Partial Disabilities
Sometimes injuries leave auto workers with partial disabilities that last the rest of their lives and restrict the kinds of work they can do and the amount they are able to earn. If you have been injured as an auto worker and left with a partial disability, you may be able to recover workers' compensation benefits even if you are able to go back to light or part time work. It can be important to consult an experienced Chicago workers' compensation attorney to get a full understanding of your rights and options.Auto Workers With Partial Disabilities
If you've lost full or partial use of a body part due to a work injury such that you can't do the same job you could before you got injured, you may have a viable workers' compensation claim. In Illinois, auto manufacturers and repair shops need to pay permanent partial disability benefits to those workers that suffer an impairment or disfigurement, yet are able to go back to work in another capacity, or with a lightened load. This is in contrast to permanent total disability benefits, which are paid to an employee that's completely and permanently unable to do any work.
Sometimes it's not entirely clear how much a worker is going to recover after an accident. While a clean break in a bone in the leg may be easy to assess, more complex fractures may not. It can take time to know whether your life will return entirely to the way it was before your work accident. Before it can be decided what benefits you'll need long-term, you'll have to finish healing. Usually, a doctor must find you have reached maximum medical improvement before this determination can be made. Maximum medical improvement is only achieved if you're not expected to get any better with appropriate medical care.Ways to Calculate a Permanent Partial Disability Benefit
Your employer or the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission looks at whether you're entitled to permanent disability benefits after maximum medical improvement is reached. There are different ways to determine this. Generally, if you need to do a different job that pays less than the old one, you can obtain 2/3 of the difference between what you earn in your new job and what you would've earned in the old one. However, you can only earn up to the state average weekly wage.
Another way to calculate the disability payment is 60% of your average weekly wage according to a schedule of specific body parts set forth under Illinois law. You'd multiply the number of weeks associated with the specific body part by 60% of your average weekly wage and the result is a permanent partial disability benefit. For example, a hand is paid for 205 weeks. For another example, a ring finger is paid for just 27 weeks. The big toe is paid for 38 weeks. Loss of sight in one eye is paid for 100 weeks.
What if you suffered an injury that isn't listed in the schedule? In that case, the Commission would look at your physical impairment and the impact of your particular disability on your life and determine a percentage for your loss as a whole person. The percentage lost from your personhood is multiplied by 500 weeks to decide how many weeks of permanent partial disability payments to which you're entitled, and that's multiplied by 60% of the average weekly wage.
Sometimes a partial disability is a disfigurement rather than a loss of use. For example, if you suffer facial burns as an auto worker, you may be scarred for life, and you may be entitled to a partial disability award in the form of a benefit for the value of your disfigurement. A skilled work injury lawyer can help you navigate the calculation process if applicable in your case.Workers' Compensation Attorneys for Chicago Employees
If you are an auto worker with partial disabilities in Chicago, a workers' compensation lawyer can help you confirm that the right method is used to calculate your partial disability benefit. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent injured workers in Champaign, Aurora, Quincy, Rockford, and Springfield, as well as Kane, Champaign, Sangamon, Winnebago, Adams, and Cook Counties. We will also evaluate your circumstances to determine whether other relief, such as damages in a personal injury lawsuit or SSDI may be sought. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online.