Many people who sustain injuries at work will need to miss work for medical treatment or while they recover. Lost income can cause financial problems for your household relatively quickly, but, fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits include reimbursement for some of your lost income. Specifically, following a job-related injury, you are entitled to receive two-thirds of the wages you lost due to your injuries.
Your compensation rate – also known as your “comp” rate – helps determine the amount of your benefits, whether you missed a few days of work or you need temporary or permanent partial disability benefits. Your workers’ compensation “average weekly wage” is the basis for an insurer’s determination of your comp rate. It is important to know how your average weekly wage is calculated to ensure you receive the full benefits you deserve for lost wages.
How North Carolina Determines Your Average Weekly Wage
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act determines how insurers or self-insured employers might calculate your average weekly wage for the purposes of your claim. There are four options for this particular calculation:
1:If you have been working at your job for over one year, they may take the total amount of your earnings over the past 52 weeks before your injury and divide that total by the number of weeks you worked. If you took off for at least seven consecutive days during that year, that period of time should be excluded.
2:If you have had your job for less than one year, they should divide your total earnings during your current employment by how many weeks you worked.
3:If you have been at your job for a very short time that the above method would not render a fair calculation, they should base your average weekly wage on that of an employee in a similar position.
4:If none of the above would have a fair result, the amount should be approximated based on what you would earn if you had not been injured.
There can be conflicts over which method is most appropriate in a given situation, and you want to have an attorney protecting your rights to a fair calculation of your average weekly wage.
Preventing Calculation Errors
Once an insurer sets your average weekly wage, it will not be adjusted throughout the duration of your claim. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that you ensure no calculation errors occur. Even the slightest error can decrease your benefits, and the money you lose can add up quickly over time.
For this reason, it’s highly advisable to have an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney checking the calculation in your case. We can ensure the proper method is used, provide proof of all sources of compensation from your employer, and identify whether any special rules or exceptions apply in your case.
Consult with a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer You Can Trust
The workers’ compensation average weekly wage plays a critical role in your claim and resulting benefits. At the King Law Firm, we carefully review this calculation to ensure you receive the maximum benefits you deserve after your workplace injury or illness. If you sustained an injury on the job, contact us online or call (800) 635-1683 to schedule your free case evaluation today.
Don’t Trust Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case With Just Any Attorney.
Attorneys Ken and Leah King are Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Lawyers