In Illinois Workers’ Compensation law, there is no compensation for pain and suffering.

Years ago when the law was passed, there was a trade off between requiring an injured worker to prove negligence on the part of the employer and large awards that might be given for pain and suffering.

However, Illinois Workers’ Comp law does take into account how you are doing now after your injury. For instance, you are allowed to testify regarding what you notice about your back now. This is ultimately a form of pain and suffering.

The difference between a personal injury case and a workers compensation case is that pain and suffering usually has some relationship to the medical bills and the type of injury. In Workers’ Compensation the award is based on the wage and the injury and the treatment provided. So if you have a serious injury at a low wage job your recovery will be limited.

Any questions about your settlement value, feel free to give me a call.


In Illinois, if you are injured and cannot return to your old job and can no longer earn the same amount you did before you were hurt you may be eligible for a wage differential.

A wage differential is 66% of the difference between what you used to earn and what you can now earn. You must prove your injury caused your inability to perform your old job. You also must prove your new job effectively uses all your capabilities. In other words, if you return as a store greeter but could work as a school teacher the Worker’s Compensation insurance company will argue they do not have to subsidize your work choice.

Sometimes you have difficulty finding a new job. If that happens you may have to rely on a vocational expert to determine what wage you could earn, or you may have to request vocational assistance from the Worker’s Compensation insurance company.

More later about what happens if you cannot return to work at all.