The Chicago Workers' Compensation attorneys at Lipkin & Apter were contacted by TK, a 40-year-old pipe manufacturer who came to us with a history of Achilles (heel) tendon soreness in both feet. TK alleged that he aggravated his left Achilles tendon condition due to repetitive walking, climbing and lifting at work and required surgery. Shortly after the surgery, TK began experiencing significant pain in his lower back. The foot surgeon referred him to a neurosurgeon and, after attempts to treat TK's back pain with injections and physical therapy failed, the neurosurgeon performed a fusion at L5-S1. Unfortunately the fusion was not successful and he required a second fusion, extended to L4-5. As a result of the combination of Achilles and back issues, TK became unable to work and was deemed by his doctors to be permanently disabled from work.
TK's employer denied TK's Workers' Compensation claims that his repetitive trauma injuries were caused or contributed to by his job. We met with both the foot and back surgeons, discussing with each the development and aggravation of TK's problems, explaining in detail to each the duties and demands of his employment. Their understanding of TK's job formed a significant basis of their medical opinion that TK's medical condition was work related.
TK's employer refused to pay TK any Workers' Compensation benefits, his time off of work, medical expenses or his injuries, and the case went to trial. The testimony of TK's treating physicians proved compelling, and we successfully obtained a verdict in TK's favor.
Still unaccepting of its legal responsibilities, the employer appealed - first to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and then to the Circuit Court of Cook County. Both Courts upheld the original trial court verdict. Finally after seven (7) years of litigation, TK received the compensation to which he was deserving-back pay of TTD beginning with the date of injury, medical expenses of $171,000.00 and permanent disability paying $664.20 weekly for life.
Commuting lifetime weekly benefits to a lump sum, especially for a 47 year old man, can be difficult, due to the inherent uncertainty of how long a person may live. The shorter a person's lifetime, the less benefits that have to be paid. The longer the lifetime, the longer the benefits. According to government Life Tables, TK is expected to live until 83 years old. But will he? At this point, of course, there is no way to know. So a negotiation over commuting permanent disability benefits to a lump sum is a negotiation of risk-the risk undertaken by the Workers' Compensation insurer as to how long an injured worker will live. In this case, we were able to obtain nearly all of TK's life expectancy in a lump sum settlement amounting to $891,750.00, which will allow TK to live with a measure of economic security.
Do you or a loved one need assistance with an Illinois Workers' Compensation case? Contact the experienced attorneys at Lipkin & Apter to schedule a consultation.