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Ledgerwood Law Group

Average Weekly Earnings Might Involve More Than You Expect

Maybe you think you understand the concept of “average weekly earnings,” or AWE. Just take a look at the figure on your paycheck for the last few weeks and average them out. There you have it, right?

Unfortunately, that’s the conclusion reached by a lot of injured workers in Northern California when they attempt to handle a workers’ compensation claim without legal representation. It can lead to getting seriously shortchanged in your weekly temporary disability (TD) and permanent disability (PD) payments—making it a whole lot harder to make ends meet while you can’t work.

Chances are your employer—or employers—are providing you with forms of compensation other than your hourly wages. They can increase your TD and PD checks significantly, as long as you remember to claim them. Let’s take a look at some types of income workers frequently neglect to take into account.

Monetary Income

This class of income is typically compensated as cash, but they aren’t necessarily paid out on a weekly basis. Non-salaried monetary income should be calculated into your AWE on the basis of how many opportunities for this type of income you are projected to miss due to your injuries. Included are the following:

  • Wages
  • Tips
  • Overtime
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses

 

Non-Monetary Income

Often, employers will compensate their employees by providing them with non-monetary compensation. This type of income should also be considered, especially if you are required to pay income tax on it. Some examples might include:

  • Lodging
  • Rent and utilities
  • Meals
  • Childcare

 

Determining appropriate items in this category can be tricky; if you aren’t sure, consider speaking with a Northern California workers’ compensation attorney.

Earnings From Other Jobs

If there’s one mistake we’ve seen a lot of unrepresented workers make when determining AWE, it’s not declaring earnings from a second job they had at the time of their injury. Second jobs can have a tremendous impact on AWE—we’ve seen cases where it doubled a client’s numbers.

Remember that, for all categories of income, you will need to provide proof of your earnings to the insurance adjuster.

One of the biggest hardships for injured workers is that there isn’t anyone on your employer’s side of the equation protecting your interests on a workers’ comp claim. If you’re starting to feel like the cards are stacked against you, don’t wait another minute—talk to a knowledgeable Northern California workers’ compensation attorney today. Call 888-761-7383 or fill out the online form for more information. Don’t miss out on our free book, The California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual, available to you free.