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Illinois workers’ comp and lost limbs

Posted On March 12, 2015

The loss of a limb is a severely traumatic event. Many workers must switch jobs or retire completely after they lose an arm or a leg in an industrial accident. The loss of more than one limb is even more disruptive and disabling. Illinois workers’ compensation law provides for these cases by offering long-term disability benefits.

Different types of disability in Illinois

To understand the range of benefits available for workers who have lost one or more limbs, it is useful to review the different types of disability available in Illinois. These benefits fall into the following four categories:

  • Temporary partial disability
  • Temporary total disability
  • Permanent partial disability
  • Permanent total disability

When an employee loses a limb, benefits almost always fall into one of the two permanent categories, as a Chicago injured worker lawyer knows.

Permanent partial disability after amputation

In most cases, workers lose substantial wages and many hours of work after an amputation. If they are able to return to work, they often return to a lower paying job. A Chicago injured worker lawyer is aware that these employees are eligible for permanent partial disability. PPD provides two-thirds of the wage differential between the former rate of pay and the current rate.

How long is a worker eligible for PPD?

Workers are eligible for PPD when they lose a body part or the use of a body part. Amputation of a limb obviously falls into this category. Illinois law sets out a schedule of injuries listing the number of weeks of PPD offered in different cases. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, a worker is currently entitled to 323 weeks of PPD for the complete amputation of an arm and 296 weeks for the complete amputation of a leg.

Total disability after amputation

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Standards’ Survey of Occupational Illnesses and Injuries, 3,637 Illinois employees suffered traumatic work-related amputations in the seven-year period between 2000 and 2007. Some of these amputees were unable to return to any kind of work after an accident on the job. In these cases, Illinois workers’ compensation law provides for permanent total disability. This is the most serious and long-lasting level of workers’ compensation. PTD is automatically given after the loss of both hands, both feet, both arms or both legs. Permanently and totally disabled workers are paid two-thirds of their former wage for life.
Recovering after the loss of a limb is a lifelong challenge. If you have lost an arm, leg, hand or foot at work, it might be helpful for you to discuss the details of your case with a Chicago injured worker lawyer.

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