While the value of your claim primarily depends upon the nature of your injuries, the wages you earned prior to a work accident are a major factor in determining your workers’ compensation benefits. Sometimes clients have had friends or family members with a similar back injury, course of treatment and prognosis but ask why that friend or family member received a larger settlement. In that scenario, if two people with similar injuries and prognosis, but one is making double the wages, it is likely his or her settlement will be twice as much as the other person. That is because your Average Weekly Wage (AWW) is a large determinant of your workers’ compensation benefits.
Your AWW is based on your average wages earned in the 52 weeks prior to your date of injury. For salaried employees, this is generally what you earn on a weekly basis. For employees who receive an hourly rate of pay, your AWW is the average hours you worked per week, divided by your hourly rate of pay. If you did not work a full 52 weeks prior to the date of your work accident, your AWW is determined by the number of weeks which you actually earned wages.
Generally, overtime pay is excluded from workers’ compensation benefits unless it was regularly worked or required by your employer. If you meet one of these criteria, the overtime hours you worked can be included in your AWW calculation. However, your AWW will be calculated at a straight time rate of pay and not include any additional wages you may have earned at your overtime rate.
Calculating your AWW can be difficult if you have a nontraditional paying job. Only an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist you with ensuring you are receiving the maximum benefits which you are entitled. If you have any questions regarding the workers’ compensation benefits you are receiving, please contact our offices for a free legal consultation.
The attorneys at Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid are committed to representing people who have been seriously injured and incur significant medical expenses as a result of work related injuries. Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid continue to handle workers’ compensation claims and all types of other personal injury cases in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will and Kendall Counties and all throughout the Chicagoland area.