Calculating Average Weekly Wage
After suffering from injuries caused by an accident at work or enduring harm from a pre-existing condition exacerbated by work-related tasks, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation. Our Schaumburg and Wheaton workers’ compensation attorneys seek to advance the rights of injured workers. We understand the importance of proving compensable injuries occurring in the course and scope of employment so that you can receive the benefits to which you are entitled.Calculating Average Weekly Wage Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that workers injured in the course of employment may be entitled to wage loss benefits, disability benefits, medical costs, and vocational rehabilitation. This no-fault insurance system provides monetary relief to injured workers. If an employee has suffered an untimely death, burial and death benefits may also be available to surviving family.
Section 10 of the Act makes clear the method for computing compensation based on an average weekly wage. The average weekly wage consists of the injured employee’s actual earnings for 52 weeks before the date of injury, illness, or disability. The Act also provides methods of calculating the average weekly wage if the worker has been employed for less than 52 weeks. Further, the Act makes clear that overtime is not included in the calculation of the average weekly wage. However, there may be exceptions, particularly if the worker was required to work overtime as a condition of employment, or if they consistently worked overtime every week.
An injured worker’s average weekly wage is the foundation for determining all temporary and permanent disability benefits set forth in the Act. The different types of disability benefits that may be awarded include temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent partial disability, and permanent total disability. Often, the amount of a worker’s average weekly wage is disputed, as employers and insurance companies may seek to minimize their benefit payment amounts.
According to Section 10 of the Act, the four methods of calculating the average weekly wage of an injured employee are:
- Actual earnings in the 52 weeks prior to the accident, ending with the last day of the employee’s last full pay period;
- If 5 or more calendar days were “lost” in the 52 weeks before the accident, earnings will be divided by the number of weeks worked;
- If employment was less than 52 weeks, earnings are divided by the number of weeks and parts worked; and,
- If employment was short or casual, and calculation according to any of the above methods is impractical, then the calculation will be as it would have been for wages earned over a 52-week period by a worker at the same grade level, performing the same work, for the same hours, and for the same employer as the employee in question.
For all workers’ compensation benefits, an injured employee must demonstrate causation by showing that their injuries were caused by an accident or work-related condition. In some situations, a lump sum settlement may be the most advantageous manner of receiving a payment. Other workers may receive installments over time. A settlement contract must be examined carefully, and a skilled work injury attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected.
Annual cost of living adjustments may be awarded as well to those workers permanently or totally disabled from a workplace injury. These adjustments are intended to reflect the changed amount of the average weekly wage from the previous year. After a final decision on a compensation claim and beginning in the second year of the award, cost of living adjustments will reflect any changes in the employee’s average weekly wage.Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Wheaton and Schaumburg
If you have suffered injuries in a job-related incident, a skilled workers' compensation lawyer in Wheaton or Schaumburg can help you understand how to properly calculate your average weekly wage. At Therman Law Offices, our dedicated team is prepared to provide legal representation throughout the process of pursuing the type of benefits best suited to your particular case. We understand that every case is unique, and rely on their combined legal experience of more than three decades to advance the rights of injured workers. We proudly assist people in cities including Schaumburg, Wheaton, Oakbrook Terrace, Downers Grove, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Lisle, and Bolingbrook. Contact our office by phone at 312-588-1900 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.