When dealing with workers’ compensation cases, the Average Weekly Wage (AWW) is used to calculate the amount of monetary benefits being paid to an injured worker.
An injured worker’s AWW is calculated by taking the average of an injured worker’s gross wages from the 13 weeks prior to the week of the accident. In calculating an injured worker’s AWW, the law does not consider whether those 13 weeks included the worker’ best 13 weeks or worst 13 weeks. The injured worker may have taken double shift and been paid overtime or business may have been slow and they were cut, sent home early or not put on the schedule. Regardless of the reason why an injured works hours in the 13 weeks were high or low, the law only looks at what wages were actually paid during this period to set the AWW.
If an injured worker did not work at least 75% of the 13 weeks prior to the accident, the law requires the employer to calculate the injured worker’s AWW based on the wages of a similar employee. If there is no similar employee, the law provides for the use of a contract of hire rate to calculate the AWW. If neither of the above exists, then the law allows for n AWW calculation based on actual wages earned divided by the days or weeks worked.
An injured worker’s AWW can be increased by including fringe benefits but only when the employer stops making payment for those benefits. For example, if an injured worker’s employer contributes to the employee’s health insurance after the accident, those monies are not included in the AWW because they are still being provided. However, if the employer stops paying their portion of health insurance, that benefit is added to the AWW. Fringe benefits which may be added to the AWW, include, but are not limited to: health, vision, dental, housing, food and other services. Life insurance is not included.
Concurrent wages can also be included to increase an injured worker’s AWW. Concurrent employment is employment other than where the injury took place. If an injured worker had more than one job, and cannot work at the other job due to the workplace injury, then the lost wages from both jobs are included in the AWW. If there is no loss of wages from the “other” job, then the AWW will only include the wages from the job where the injury took place. There are other legal limitations placed on what wages can be included as concurrent employment.
If you were hurt at work, call one of our dedicated and experienced workers’ compensation attorneys to determine how to increase your AWW and maximize the lost wages to which you are entitled under the law. Call (561) 600-4024 or contact us online to speak with one of the dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt today.
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