Importance of Accurately Calculating the Average Weekly Wage
All indemnity (money) benefits paid to an injured worker throughout the life of his/her workers’ compensation claim are paid based upon the Average Weekly Wage. If the Average Weekly Wage is under calculated from the beginning, it will result in months or potentially years of under paid benefits. For this reason, careful examination of how the carrier arrives at the Average Weekly Wage and whether that calculation is correct is a very important issue in most workers’ compensation claims.
Under most circumstances, if the individual work substantially the whole of the 13 weeks before the accident, (defined as at least 75% of those 13 weeks), then the average weekly wage is calculated by taking the total earnings total money earned by the claimant during the 13 week period. There is a form used by the insurance carriers to calculate the average weekly wage, which is referred to as a wage statement (DWC Form 1a-pictured at right). The form is supposed to be completed within 14 days after the employer’s knowledge of any accident has caused the employee to be disabled for more than 7 calendar days.
In order to make certain that the average weekly wage relied upon by the insurance carrier is correct, it is important to consider the following questions:
- Does the carrier have my correct hourly rate of pay?
- Did I work any overtime during the 13 weeks before the accident?
- If I perform work involving sales, does the money reflected on the 13 week wage statement accurately reflect my earnings during the 13 weeks, or merely the money I was paid during the 13 weeks?
- Was I paid (or entitled to) any bonuses during the 13 weeks before the accident?
- Was I provided with health insurance by the employer during the 13 weeks before the accident? If so, what amount of money on a weekly basis did the employer pay toward the premiums associated with that health insurance? If the employer paid any portion of the health insurance premiums, is my health insurance coverage still in force? Does the insurance carrier can does the employer continue to pay their portion of the health insurance premium?
If you have questions about calculating your average weekly wage or your Tampa workers’ compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us to speak with an experienced Tampa workers’ compensation attorney today. We offer free consultations, and there is never a fee if we don’t recover benefits on your behalf.