GWC attorney Donn P. LaHaie recently obtained a $375,000.00 workers’ compensation settlement for a union telephone lineman. Mr. LaHaie was able to maximize his client’s settlement thanks to his skill in determining Present Cash Value.
Union Telephone Lineman Injured Performing Duties of Job
In 2013, Mr. LaHaie’s client was performing the duties of his job as a telephone lineman when he seriously injured his lower back. Specifically, he suffered from disc herniation at L4-L5 and L5-S1, which ultimately required a surgical spinal fusion.
But despite the surgery, and the extensive course of physical therapy the lineman subsequently underwent, his injuries prevented him from returning to his prior position.
The Role of Present Cash Value
“My client’s relatively advanced age of 50 worked against the value of his workers’ compensation settlement,” said Mr. LaHaie. “Under Illinois law, your settlement has to reflect two-thirds of your wage differential. This is the difference between what you earned at your previous position and your expected wages at a new position, from the time of settlement until age 67, or 17 years in my client’s case – making the settlement less than it would have been for a comparably employed younger worker.”
In this instance, the wage differential claim was settled on the basis of the Present Cash Value. This is an amount paid at the time of trial that, when invested at a non-speculative rate of interest, would equal the amount that would be paid to the client over the 17 years. It would mean arriving at a sum to be paid today that would account for years of payments that would not come due until the future.
The higher the assumed interest rate and the higher the presumed earning capacity, the lower the Present Cash Value would be, so in its negotiations with Mr. LaHaie, the workers’ compensation insurance company argued for a greater assumed interest rate and anticipated earning capacity. In doing so, the insurance company’s goal was to minimize the Present Cash Value of the lump-sum settlement – even though the client had not taken on new employment at the time of negotiations.
Settlement Far Exceeds Insurance Company’s Assessment
Mr. LaHaie successfully argued, however, that any future salary his client earned would be lower than the insurance company’s assessment, a determination he based on the jobs for which the client was applying as part of his employment search.
By calculating a high wage differential for his client, presenting a more realistic view of his future medical expenses, and arguing for a more modest assumed interest rate, Mr. LaHaie negotiated a lump-sum settlement in the amount of $375,000.00, far greater than the insurance company’s assessment of Present Cash Value for the client’s case. He was also able to obtain full benefits for the client until contract approval.
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
With over $2 billion recovered for our clients and offices throughout the state, GWC is one of the premier Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury law firms in Illinois. For more than four decades, our Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys have been helping our clients and their families obtain the justice that they deserve.