When you have been injured on the job and are expecting a long recovery time, it’s likely you are getting nervous about how you are going to pay for everything while you are unable to work. Some companies automatically offer long- and short-term disability leave for injured employees and will begin working on benefits and workers’ compensation packages without hesitation.
However, other companies may offer a minimal amount of compensation to their injured employees, especially to those who work irregular hours, overtime, weekends or seasonal work.
This is where the concept of “average weekly wage” comes into play. An average weekly wage, generally speaking, should cover the salary earned by a particular employee every week. When an employee does not work regular hours, he or she may have a more complicated weekly wage calculation.
Take a teacher, for example. Teachers work only nine months out of the year at school, so if a teacher is injured on the job, an insurance company may try to average out his or her wages over the entire year, including the summer months, to lower the average weekly wage. However, this wage will not accurately reflect the amount that the teacher really makes every week.
Temporary Disability Claims
An accurate calculation of your average weekly wage can make a huge difference in whether you receive enough compensation to cover your actual expenses and encompass your full earning potential. If you have a temporary disability claim, your average weekly wage will impact how much disability you are eligible to receive.
Temporary compensation benefits begin when you have missed more than three shifts or three days of work. If you are out of work for at least two weeks, you will be paid for the first three days of work missed. You may receive temporary total disability if you cannot work at all. You can also receive partial disability benefits if you are able to do some, but not all of your work.
These benefits will continue until you are able to back to work full-time, or until your doctor declares you able to work at a modified position and your employer offers you something more in line with your current abilities. You may also reach maximum medical improvement, which will stop your benefits. It is important to note that while you’re on temporary benefits, you will be paid two-thirds of your average weekly wage, so make sure those numbers are accurate.
In addition to temporary disability, your average weekly wage will also impact any permanent disability claim you may need to make. If your injuries are so severe that they prevent you from returning to work ever again, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for the rest of your life. This is critical to support yourself, as well as any children or dependents you may have.
At Levine Law, we represent anyone who has been injured on the job. For more information about calculating an average weekly wage in your case, contact a Denver workers compensation attorney today.