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Wage Differential Award for a City of Chicago Worker

March 13, 2019

Ramon Pena, Jr worked as a general laborer for the City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. He was working as a garbage collector when he was hurt. On the day of the injury he slipped on something under the snow while exiting his vehicle, injuring his ankle.

As the case went into arbitration, Ankin Law Office attorney, Josh Rudolfi helped Pena secure a favorable decision that included: Permanent Partial Disability Wage Differential of $290/week until the age of 67 or five years from the date of the final award, whichever is later; Pena also received Temporary Total Disability benefits of $530/week for 92 weeks; The City of Chicago was ordered to pay Pena Maintenance benefits of $530/week for 9 weeks; Pena will also receive $25,359 to pay for medical services.

(Read the full arbitrator decision here)

Summary of Events

Pena reported the incident to his employer and was sent to the Physician’s Immediate Care that same day. He was diagnosed with a sprained ankle, placed in a splint, and released to light-duty work.

After physical therapy Pena still suffered from pain. An MRI performed on the right ankle revealed osteoarthritic changes and tears of the anterior talofibular ligament and peroneus braves tendon, as well as loose bodies.

After visits to an orthopedic specialist and subsequent surgery Pena remained off work as he continued physical therapy. A functional capacity test (FCE) was performed and he was deemed unable to return to work with his permanent restrictions. Pena’s doctor opined that he may require future surgical intervention in the form of an ankle replacement or fusion should his condition progress.

The City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation did not take Pena back to work with his permanent restrictions so he underwent a vocational evaluation. Pena accepted a position as a porter/cleaner at a starting pay rate of $11.25 per hour. Later, Pena was presented with a document from his union which indicates that a General Laborer with the City of Chicago currently earns $22.38 per hour. Had he still been at work with the City Pena would be earning almost twice what he was making in his new position.