A common mistaken belief is that the severity of your injury is the sole determining factor in how much your workers’ compensation claim may be worth monetarily. While more serious injuries are typically valued higher than less serious injuries, a significant factor in case value is how much you earn in wages in the job in which you were injured. It is critical to note that only the wages of the job in which you were injured are considered. If you have a second job where you earn extra income but you were not hurt there, those wages are not considered in the value of your workers’ compensation claim.
Determining what pay rate or wages to use in evaluating your workers’ compensation claim is not always as simple as asking how much you were making per hour or how many hours you were working per week. Calculating your correct wage is key to claim value and how much you may be paid weekly, and the calculation may be far more complex than meets the eye. A fact that the insurance company will not tell you, as they prefer to pay you as little as possible!
Here are a few key things to take into consideration when calculating wages:
*The entire years’ worth of wages prior to your accident in the job in which you were hurt is applicable. What does this mean? Well, if you received a raise during this period of time, more likely than not, the lower wage also must be considered in addition to the higher pay. This can be frustrating and may well adjust your pay rate downward. By the same token, if you were offered a true promotion into a new role, we would want to be certain to argue the lower wages prior to that promotion are not considered so that you are given the benefit of the higher wages.
*Did you receive any bonuses? These count, and your employer and the insurance company prefer to leave those out in most cases!
*Did your employer provide housing or anything else in lieu of wages? We also must consider these factors in your wage calculation.
*The actual number of days you truly were at work earning wages matters. If you had unpaid time off and it is extended over a specific period of time, those days should be excluded from the calculation so as not to falsely lower your wages.
Wages in the land of Workers’ Compensation can be very complex and a great deal of litigation may be involved in determining your average weekly wage. It is VERY important to retain a Workers’ Compensation expert to ensure that your wages are properly calculated. If not, you could be paid based off of an incorrect rate that could be much LOWER or you could end up owing the insurance company money back if they overpay you! Neither of these situations will be beneficial to you. Further, this could also result in a lower settlement value. It is CRITICAL to have an attorney determine the actual case value and proper wage to apply.
We invite you to contact us at 704-370-1212 for a free consultation with Maggie Shankle. Maggie is a Board-Certified Workers, Compensation Specialist, which is the highest ranking you can have in the practice of Workers’ Compensation. Call us today and get the experience, care and compassion you need and deserve. We would be happy to help look into the details of your claim to ensure you are protected!