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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lockport
    Posts
    3

    Default Tore Ulnar Collateral Ligament in Thumb, and Settlement

    I wish I would have found this forum earlier, but I need your advice. I'm a teacher and a coach. During basketball practice, while instructing students on hiding the balls on layups, my hand collided with a player and I tore the ulnar collateral ligament completely from the bone in my right thumb (I'm right handed btw). I notified my principal that same night prior to heading to the ER. ER stated it was a sprain. I filled out an accident report form and a form 45 (I believe thats a workers comp form) when returning to work on Monday.

    I also went to my GP later on in the week who referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon. Surgeon determined it was torn and I had surgery about 10 days after the incident to repair it. They inserted a pin and a button to fix the ligament.

    After talking with my employer and teachers union, I decided to not take the workers compensation benefits for time off work, only the medical. Reason being that if I took Workers Comp benefits, I would not receive a years service credit for our states retirement system (because I would not have worked 180 days of work or been paid through the school district for 180 days of work, which is what a full year of service is in Illinois). What I didn't realize is how many doctors visits I would have and would have to take sick time for, but I guess I should have thought of that before making the decision.

    Anyhow it is now 7 weeks after surgery, and I have completed 2 weeks of occupational therapy so far with minimal results. The insurance company is paying for OT as well. I now schedule my therapy sessions are evenings so I don't lose my sick days.

    I have a 3-4 inch long and quite thick scar on my thumb from surgery, am I entitled to compensation for this permanent disfigurement?

    Also am I entitled to a settlement for my injury for pain, suffering, and possible future medical costs, possible arthritis down the road, etc?

    I just want to make sure I am receiving the benefits I should be and that I didn't make a mistake.

    I would appreciate any and all opinions and advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    chicago area
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Tore Ulnar Collateral ligament in thumb...settlement?

    First of all you are very astute to realize that injuries occurring when coaching sports for the employer/school are covered under workers' comp. I have had a number of teacher/coaches not realize that for many months, after being out of work without pay and having been led to believe they personally were responsible for the medical costs incurred (or a part there of).
    Also, if 'Kudos' is the right thing to say, your GP did the right thing in getting you to an Orthopod timely, instead of misdiagnosing or mistreating the injury for months, like happens with so many people that don't demand to see a specialist.

    With regard to not being paid weekly benefits under workers' comp. for your time off of work, I understand the economic reality of what you opted to do and that makes sense. But you might have sold yourself short, because generally teachers' salary is earned over 8 months, but spread over 12 months, and as such, you 'might' be entitled to more in workers' comp. benefits. Or, if you work summers for the school system, or elsewhere, there 'may' be a basis to increase your wage rate. This is something you should consult with an attorney about.

    With regard to the ultimate valuation of your case, there is no such thing as 'pain and suffering' in the claim valuation formula under Illinois workers' compensation system. Every injury has some value or settlement range. Based on the nature and extent of the injury and treatment, as you have described it, your injury has greater value than a disfigurement case (scar case), and you should consult with an attorney regarding the actual potential value.

    As to future medical costs, it is really premature to even think about this aspect, having just recently undergone surgery, being still in the recovery process and not knowing how well the injury will heal or if future care and treatment is anticipated once you are released by your specialist. Generally speaking, in Illinois, if you settle your case, then you settle all issues, including possible future medical, and agree to let the employer (or their insurer) off the hook for future medical costs. Having said that, if you reach maximum medical recovery, and no future treatment or care is anticipated, then why not settle. But, if your doctor advises you that there is a potential for future additional care and treatment, and if the future anticipated amount cannot be included in the settlement package, then you might want to opt to go to trial/hearing, as opposed to settling. Under Illinois law, trial, as opposed to settling out right, keeps future medical rights open. Again, these are all things that I would suggest that you consult with an attorney about. Good Luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lockport
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Tore Ulnar Collateral ligament in thumb...settlement?

    Thanks hockeylaw...Can anyone suggest a good attorney to represent me? Im in the joliet area.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lockport
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Tore Ulnar Collateral ligament in thumb...settlement?

    Also is it true that Lawyers for workers comp cases only get paid if their client receives compensation, and it is maxed at 20% of the settlement?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    chicago area
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Tore Ulnar Collateral ligament in thumb...settlement?

    Lawyer fees for workers' comp. in Illinois are fixed by law. The Industrial oommision has a standard atty-client contract. It contains standard language. Generally speaking the atty. fee is 20% of what the lawyer gets the injured party in settlement. But the lawyer is also entitled to 20% of what they get the injured party in disputed weekly benefits, if a dispute as to days owed or rate exists. Also, some types of injuries and situations only warrant a $ 100. fee. These are all spelled out in the atty.-client contract. Contact me, direct, if you have any private questions.

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