TP, a 45 yr old State of Illinois employee, was injured when a vehicle he was driving was crashed into by a semi tractor trailer, driven by an employee of AGM Transport, a Georgia based company. TP sustained a herniated cervical disc that required fusion surgery. He remained off work 6 months, then returned light duty for several more months.
Workers’ Compensation Pays Total Temporary Disability
Throughout this time off work, TP received weekly Temporary Total Disability payments and medical treatment from workers’ compensation. As has been discussed in other parts of the Lipkin Apter website, a person who has been injured in the course of his employment by a third party, ie. a person or entity separate from his employer, can collect both workers’ compensation and personal injury benefits. However, to prevent a double recovery for the same accident (something prohibited by law) up to 75% of the total workers’ compensation benefits is to be repaid if (and only if) the personal injury case is successful.
Distinctions Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims
There are important distinctions between workers’ compensation and personal injury as to what can be claimed in damages:
- Temporary Total Disability at 66.66%; Personal Injury at 100%
Weekly workers’ compensation payment, or Total Temporary Disability, occur at a pay rate of 66 2/3% of a worker’s average weekly wage. In a personal injury case, the claim for lost wages is at 100% of the worker’s salary.
- Medical Bill Payment Varies
Medical bills in workers’ compensation are paid in accordance with a state mandated medical pay schedule, something far below the bills as charged by a doctor or hospital. In a personal injury case, those medical bills may be asserted as charged. Lastly, only in a personal injury case can you seek money damages for pain and suffering and disability.
- Repayment of Workers' Compensation Payment May Be Negotiated
Moreover, while the law says that workers’ compensation insurance is to be repaid 75% of monies it has paid, it is often possible to negotiate down the workers’ compensation lien, which results in more money received by the injured person. Thus, a personal injury case is worth far more than a workers’ compensation case (assuming negligence can be proven).
Over $1,000,000 Combined Settlement
In TP’s case, Lipkin & Apter negotiated an $875,000 settlement with AGM Transport (without filing a lawsuit), and also negotiated a reduction of the workers’ compensation lien from $250,000 to $50,000. TP was awarded a combination of both Workers Compensation (adjusted) and Personal Injury for over $1,000,000.
Choose Experience for Satisfaction You Deserve
If you have been seriously injured in a job related accident, it is important to seek experienced professional counsel with an attorney who has the understanding of workers' compensation law as well as personal injury law to achieve the satisfaction you deserve. Contact the attorneys at Lipkin & Apter by phone, via our website chat or contact form to discuss whether you have a case. There is no charge for this initial consultation.