Many people are familiar with the term “value drivers.” We see it applied to all sorts of business dealings, employment situations, and also personal injury cases. In a nutshell, a “value driver” is something that increases the worth of a product, service, or asset. And believe it or not, the right to file a personal injury lawsuit is a kind of asset.
But while value drivers are applicable to personal injury cases, they do not apply to workers’ compensation.
Why not? Read more and find out.
Value Drivers in Personal Injury
Personal injury cases gain value from various sources. First of all, you need a potential source of recovery; insurance. If you have a valuable case and no assets to collect, it’s probably not going to be valuable in the real world. So you need enough insurance available to make a case realistically valuable.
But what else makes a case valuable?
The injuries and damages. Medical treatment. Surgery. Long-term recovery (or lack thereof). Lost wages, Pain and suffering. Loss of a normal life or disfigurement.
No one wants to be seriously injured. And no one wants to be injured and not recover. So, it stands to reason, the only hugely valuable personal injury cases involve someone who was really badly hurt.
We don’t wish that on anyone. But when it happens,, personal injury lawyers work to obtain as much money as possible to properly compensate the injured person or her family.
What About Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation does not provide damages for things like pain and suffering or loss of a normal life (“non-economic damages”).
Instead, workers’ comp is based upon an essentially “no-fault system.” If you are working, performing your prescribed job duties, and are hurt, you are entitled to recover under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. The IWCA provides for you to recover:
- Medical benefits (at any two doctors of your choice and referrals therefrom) are paid by your employer or his insurer
- Lost wages. Temporary Total Disability or TTD is paid after the third consecutive day off work per a doctor’s orders. Once TTD kicks it, it is paid at a tax-free rate of 2/3 of your Average Weekly Wage (average of the 52 weeks preceding the injury)
- Permanency or PPD (Permanent Partial Disability), which is paid at 60% of AWW.
Permanency is the part where the injured worker usually receives a lump sum settlement.
What in the world is that based upon if there are no “value drivers” like pain and suffering, loss of a normal life, or massive medical bills?
Workers’ compensation cases take into account the following factors:
- Body part injured (there are schedules listing various body parts and the number of weeks paid for each)
- Severity of injury
- Disability, or whether the employee will be able to return to his or her normal work duties.
- Any permanent disability or limitations (ie. An iron worker who is limited to lifting no more than 10 pounds overhead) or inability to perform job functions
- Job description
- Any impairment rating
- Wage rate
That’s right, workers’ compensation cases derive some of their value from how much money the injured worker earns. A person making $15/hour may have the precisely same injury as someone earning $150,000 annually, yet their cases will be valued vastly differently.
- Value drivers are often factors in personal injury cases but not in workers’ compensation
- Workers’ compensation cases use a number of factors to determine the value of a case, and things like pain and suffering or loss of a normal life are not considered
- If workers’ compensation sounds confusing to you, you are paying attention. It is confusing!
Contact Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Hoffman
As in all cases involving work injuries or other injury and potential liability, you should immediately get medical treatment, report the injury to your employer, and contact a lawyer with expertise in your type of case, such as workers’ compensation.
If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has over 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
Stephen handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything up front, and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day; contact Stephen now.