If you are injured on the job, the benefits to which you are entitled are in large part based on your average weekly wage. Generally, the average weekly wage is determined by looking back 52 weeks prior to the injury and adding up the total gross wages earned divided by 52 weeks. Of course, if the injured worker did not work a total of 52 weeks, the wage would typically be the average of the total earned divided by the number of weeks worked. Overtime is included if regular and mandatory. The overtime rate is not included – just the hours.
The average weekly wage is important in that an injured worker’s pay while off work (called temporary total disability) is 2/3 of the average weekly wage and it is not taxable. So if the adjuster at the insurance company has computed your average weekly wage too low, your benefits are affected. Additionally, if you sustain permanent damage as a result of your injury, your permanent partial disability rate or your permanent total disability rate are also based on the average weekly wage.
In addition to the average weekly wage, there are maximum and minimum amounts for temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits and permanent total disability benefits. The maximum and minimum amounts can be found on the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission website.
At Moellring & Ambler if we file a claim on your behalf, we will request a wage statement from the insurance company and request pay information from you to make sure your average weekly wage is being calculated correctly.