Illinois Workers’ Compensation law has changed in its treatment of shoulder injuries.

A recent Illinois Appellate Court case determined that the shoulder is valued as the whole body and not the arm.

Under the Workers’ Compensation Act an arm is worth 253 weeks total.

The body as a whole is worth 500 weeks total.

Settlements are determined on a percentage of the weeks times 60 percent of the average weekly wage you earned the year before you were injured.

The Court case ruled that the shoulder is really part of the back, or the body as a whole.

This does not mean the value of a shoulder case has increased.

Before this case if the shoulder injury was worth 50 weeks, it is still worth 50 weeks. It is just a different percentage of the person as a whole.

For example, 50 weeks equals approximately 20 percent of the arm and it would equal 10 percent of the person of the whole.

The difference it makes is if you have repeat arm injuries.

An employer is entitled to a credit for past arm injuries, or any specific body part injury.

The employer is not entitled to credit for person as a whole injury.

An example is that if you received a past settlement of 20 percent of the arm and were injured again you have to prove you were injured beyond the 20 percent to recover on your second injury.

If you had a past back injury, then there is no credit or offset.

Even a past shoulder injury will not qualify for credit against a new shoulder injury.

That is an advantage for the injured worker.

Questions about your Work Comp settlement? Feel free to contact Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.