When you are injured on the job and qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you will receive a weekly income replacement check. Georgia’s workers’ compensation calculator uses an average of your pre-injury income to determine your benefit amount. Injured workers receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage.
There are some types of situations in which this can get tricky, such as if you missed time from work, if you were on light duty, or if you work more than one job. You may wish to consult a workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta who can ensure you’re set to receive the full amount of compensation to which you’re entitled.
Calculating Your Average Weekly Wage after a Work Injury
Your average weekly wage will be calculated in one of three ways:
- Using Your Earnings – If you worked in the same employment for the 13 weeks prior to the injury, you will simply add your pre-tax weekly wages for the previous 13 weeks and divide by 13 to arrive at your average weekly wage.
- Using Similar Employee’s Earnings – If you did not work “substantially the whole” of the previous 13 weeks, you may use the wages of another employee who is engaged in the same employment. A “similar employee” is one who works under the same job classification or has the same pay scale as you. In this case, you would add the similar employee’s wages from the last 13 weeks and divide by 13.
- Using Your Full-time Weekly Wage – If there is no similar employee, then you may multiply your hourly wage by the number of hours which would constitute full-time employment. This number may vary depending on your contract; in many cases, it’s 40 hours.
Your income replacement check will be two-thirds of the average weekly wage. For example, if your average weekly wage amounts to $500 a week, you will receive $333.33 (two-thirds of that amount) each week. Note, in the state of Georgia, there is a cap on the amount of weekly workers’ compensation benefits you can receive. As of July 1, 2013, the maximum amount you can receive is $525 a week.
How Concurrent Employment Affects Average Weekly Wage
Concurrent employment means you were working for at least two employers before you were injured and your injury prevents you from working at both jobs. Georgia allows you to add wages from both jobs (the job at which you became injured and the job at which you did not become injured but you cannot perform because of your injury) when calculating average weekly wage, as long as the jobs are similar.
To arrive at a final average weekly wage, compute your average weekly wage for each of your jobs and add the results together. So, if you average $200 a week from one job and $350 a week from the job at which you became injured, your final average weekly wage is $550.
The two jobs must be concurrent and similar. This means that the employee’s duties must be similar, not necessarily that the employers must be similar. For example, an employee may work as a cashier for a supermarket and as a cashier for a clothing retailer. While the employers are different, the employee’s duties are similar. This would likely qualify as concurrent similar employment.
The Importance of Accuracy in Calculating Wages
There are several factors that might reduce your average weekly wage on paper and lower the amount of benefits you receive. For example, you might have worked only 11 out of the last 13 weeks because of an unpaid vacation. Or you might have only worked three out of five days of the week for a few weeks.
It’s important to ensure that your weekly wage is calculated fairly and accurately so that you receive the full amount of benefits to which you’re entitled. You’ll want to speak to a lawyer and have him or her examine your pre-injury work hours and income, ensure that extenuating factors are accounted for and verify that the insurer has an accurate figure listed as your average weekly wage.
Bader Law Firm, LLC, Helps Calculate Your Average Weekly Wage
For help with your workers’ compensation claim in Atlanta or to have a legal professional examine your benefits for accuracy, call Bader Law Firm, LLC at 404-888-8888 for a free consultation.