The single most important number in your worker’s compensation case is your Average Weekly Wage. If your Average Weekly Wage is being understated by the company or their insurance company, you could be getting shorted thousands of dollars over the life of your case.
You get three basic benefits. Two of them are based on your Average Weekly Wage. One is Temporary Total Disability which is the benefit you get while you are off work due to the injuries. It is 2/3 of your Average Weekly Wage. The other is Permanent Partial Disability, which is the settlement you receive at the end of the case. It is based on the part of the body injured and degree of permanent impairment you have following the on-the-job injury. Without diving into too much detail, you get a number of weeks pay at the permanency rate which is 60% of your Average Weekly Wage.
For the sake of illustration, let’s assume that the company calculated your Average Weekly Wage in a way that was $150 less than it was supposed to be and you were off work for 5 months, or 20 weeks. At 2/3 of your Average Weekly Wage, the $150 differential in your Average Weekly Wage means that your weekly check is $100 less than it should be, and over the course of 20 weeks, that means that you would be shortchanged $2,000.
Take it to the next step … the settlement. Assume for the sake of discussion that your case was going to be settled for 50 weeks pay at the permanency rate of 60% of your Average Weekly Wage. That $150 differential between what your rate should be and what the company says it is amounts to $90 per week, and over 50 weeks, that is a $4,500 differential in what you would be getting for a settlement.
The $150 differential between your disability checks ($2,000) and your settlement ($4,500) is $6,500.
Do insurance companies do that? You bet. Little hinges swing big doors. If they manage to do this to one driver a week, that would amount to $338,000 per year. Do they do it? They probably pay adjusters bonuses for it.
One of the basic services you get when you hire us as your attorney is that we verify that your Average Weekly Wage is being computed properly so that you don’t get short-changed that way.