What Is The Average Weekly Wage?
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, there must be a way to assess how much compensation you are entitled to during any period of work-related disability. The most common way that this is done tends to be by calculating what is known as the average weekly wage (AWW), and then assessing how much of this amount is appropriate compensation based on the nature of the injuries you have suffered. Because it is the first step toward receiving benefits, it is imperative that the AWW be calculated correctly.
Method Of Calculation
Florida law lays out the method by which the AWW is calculated, and while it is complex, it is not impossible for the average person to follow. Sec. 440.14 states that the AWW is based on the earnings you had the 13 weeks immediately preceding your accident. It also makes clear that if you work multiple jobs (“concurrent employment” in legal jargon), the earnings from both jobs must be included, as an injury will in theory cost you work at both jobs, not only the one. Sometimes, extra job-related costs such as transportation fees or uniform costs are also included in the AWW calculation, but this is not always the case.
Either way, the amount of earnings, plus any extra costs added in, is the basis for the AWW. Each week’s pay is added together and averaged to arrive at the AWW, and from that amount, the injured employee is generally entitled to 66 ⅔ percent of that if they are temporarily disabled to the point where performing their job is not possible, and differing rates if they are permanently disabled or able to return to light duty. If you were not able to work “substantially” during those 13 weeks – 75 percent of the time or more – the income for a similarly situated employee can be used.
Factors To Verify
Because the AWW is such a critical part of determining workers’ compensation benefits in Florida, it is imperative to be certain that your insurer has made those calculations correctly. However, there are multiple figures and pieces of information that go into that calculation that you can verify before your claim goes ahead. Some of these include your rate of hourly wage, any bonuses or commissions, overtime pay, and any deductions made by your employer, such as for health insurance premiums and the like. Double-checking this data can help make sure the calculation of your AWW is accurate.
Florida law also holds that the maximum weekly compensation rate for on-the-job injuries will be equal to the statewide average weekly wage, as calculated by the Florida Unemployment Compensation Division (FUCD). Tables of the minimum and maximum compensation rate are available on the Division’s website, and it is important to be aware of that maximum, as if your AWW works out to be higher, you may not necessarily receive that full benefit, depending on the specific nature of your situation.
Enlist An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Ensuring that you receive the workers’ compensation benefits that you are owed after an injury on the job can be a complex endeavor. Contacting a knowledgeable attorney can help simplify the process, so that you can focus your energies on healing. The Orlando workers’ compensation attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group are happy to try and answer any questions you may have. Call us today to set up your initial consultation.