Today, I had the opportunity to respond to a question of a prospective client regarding his amputated finger suffered in a work injury. He wondered if he would receive an offer of some kind, eventually. The answer is the workers’ compensation insurance company or third-party administrator of claims would probably not contact him to offer any kind of settlement in addition to what they had already paid for the finger amputation. The reason for this is that they know he does not have an attorney.
5 key things to know for an amputated finger work injury under Illinois law:
- An unsuspecting unrepresented injured worker usually does not appreciate what type of settlement he is entitled to, beyond the standard payment the insurance company gives him for the finger amputation.
- Average weekly wage is usually not calculated correctly by the insurance company, and therefore, workers usually do not receive the full measure of compensation for the finger amputation payment.
- Overall, the potential settlement an attorney could help negotiate for the injured worker depends on what finger was amputated. If it was an index finger or thumb, for example, it might especially preclude the worker from pursuing his usual occupation, due to limitations in his strength; specifically, in grip strength.
- If this ends up leading to a loss of a career, or a wage loss case, then that alone could skyrocket what the case could be worth.
- The type of work the person normally engages in would also be key in any settlement discussion.
I explained to the client that it would cost him nothing for a free consultation, and even if an attorney agreed to further pursue the claim for him, he would not have to pay any fee on the amount paid by the insurance carrier before an attorney filed an application. The maximum fee for an amputation is merely $100. Beyond that, an Illinois workers’ compensation case with an attorney is done on a contingent fee basis, which means there is no fee if the lawyer does not collect for you. If the lawyer collects for you, then it is 20 % of the amount for which the case settles.
The moral of the story is it costs nothing for you to get a free consultation from an attorney, while the possible payoff to you is very high. No worker should attempt to resolve any workers’ compensation claim without the aid of an attorney. At the very least, you owe it to yourself to seek one free consultation with an attorney. In the case of this injured worker with a finger amputation, paying a lawyer 20 % of something would be better than nothing, because nothing is exactly what the insurance company is offering him without a lawyer.