GWC Injury Lawyers attorney Harris Elliott recently negotiated a substantial workers’ compensation settlement for a client who was injured on the job – thanks to his knowledge of recent developments in the law.
In January 2014, Mr. Elliott’s client was walking into the main employee entrance of the electronics store where he worked when he slipped and fell on slush. He suffered a displaced lumbar disc, which ultimately required surgery.
Because his back injury resulted in permanent restrictions that prevented him from lifting more than 25 pounds, he was unable to return to work as an installer. After finishing his medical treatment and returning to work, the client’s employer had moved him to a tech support job, which typically pays $11.00 to $12.00 per hour, instead of the $19.95 per hour he earned as an installer. Despite this difference, the employer continued to pay the employee at a rate similar to what he had been earning before he was injured.
After returning to work, Mr. Elliott’s client received an initial settlement offer of $30,045.63 from his employer. This amount represented 12.5% loss of use of the person as a whole – a measure of disability under workers’ compensation law. “The first offer was shockingly low,” said Mr. Elliott. “My client is somebody who lost his livelihood of many years because of permanent, work-related injuries.”
A NEW RULING
Despite the fact that he was earning about the same amount of money in tech support as he had been while working as an installer, Mr. Elliott argued that his client was still entitled to a wage differential settlement by citing the recent workers’ compensation decision Jackson Park Hospital v. the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission that had been issued in January of 2016. “If other employers would not hire the employee with [his] limitations at a comparable wage level, the post-injury wage cannot be considered an accurate reflection of the claimant’s earning capacity,” the ruling stated.
“Other tech support workers would not earn the same amount as an installer would,” Mr. Elliott explained. “Consequently, my client’s future earning capacity had been limited by the permanent nature of his injuries despite being paid at an arguably inflated rate.” By being aware of this recent decision involving Illinois workers’ compensation law, Mr. Elliott was able to negotiate a wage differential settlement of $160,000 for his client – more than five times the amount that had initially been offered.<< BACK TO BLOG POSTS