If you are reading this, the workers’ comp insurer must have sent us a document called a wage statement that sets your average weekly wage.
It is critical that this document is accurate. Your average weekly wage is very important in workers’ comp cases because all of your monetary benefits are based on it.
Average Weekly Wage
Your average weekly wage is the average of your weekly wages for the 14 days prior to the date of the accident. It is critical we get this right. All monetary benefits in workers’ comp cases are based on the employee’s average weekly wage.
For example, your temporary total disability payments (the money you receive to replace your wages when you are totally unable to work) is 2/3 of your average weekly wage. Obviously, if your average weekly wage is too low – you get less money!
When we first met and I filed your workers’ compensation claim, we set your average weekly wage to the best of our ability. But because most of my clients don’t actually have the last 14 weeks of their paystubs, I sometimes have to guess at the average weekly wage. I make a good faith reasonable effort, but if I don’t have all the information, we are just estimating. The law clearly provides that you must be paid according to the actual average weekly wage – not what I guess on the claim form.
Your employer is obviously in possession of your actual wage information. This is why the Workers’ Comp Commission allows them to file a wage statement with your exact payment information.
Your employer has filled out a wage statement and it has been filed with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. You should have a copy of it before reading this post.
Look at the weekly wages and the total at the bottom. Make sure they are correct. They divide by 14 weeks, and you come up with the final number you see on the wage statement. (If you worked less than 14 weeks before your injury, they will divide by the number of weeks you did work, or they will use a “like an employee.” If either of those events happens, I will be calling you to discuss it so we get this right.) If we do not challenge their claim, this number will stand as your average weekly wage.
If you wish to challenge their claims about your average weekly wage, please find pay stubs or other documentation showing you were paid a different amount. If you were paid tips or stipends or car reimbursement, also let me know about that. Get me whatever documentation you have, and call me to discuss.
If I do not hear from you, I will assume the insurer’s assertion is correct and your average weekly wage is as shown on the wage statement.