Calculating Lost Wages
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As an injured worker, you may be entitled to receive lost wage payments to help offset reduced income while on “no work” or “light duty” status as a result of a workplace accident. The amount you are due is controlled by Section 440.14 of the Florida Statutes and is based on your Average Weekly Wage (AWW).
The primary method of determining your AWW is by taking an average of your weekly gross income for the 13 weeks immediately before your work accident. If you worked two jobs during the 13-week period, gross wages from both jobs are added together.
The value of employer-paid fringe benefits, such as health insurance, will also be included in the AWW if your employer stops providing the benefit. This means your lost wage check should increase after your employer stops paying toward your health insurance.
What If You Didn’t Work at the Same Job for 13 Weeks before the Accident?
If you didn’t work for the same employer for 13 weeks before the accident (or if you worked significantly less hours than was customary for you), your pay rate may be based on the 13-week wage average of a “similar employee” in the same employment.
If there is no “similar employee” then your AWW may be based on your contract of hire—the stated pay rate multiplied by the amount of hours you were hired to work. Seasonal workers can often expand the 13-week period to 52 weeks in order for the court to account for wages that vary greatly over the year.
You should know that the amount of lost wages owed is frequently miscalculated by the insurance company, and many injured workers find that they are owed additional past wages.
If so, you may be entitled to an additional 20 percent penalty plus interest on late payments. Your attorney should review the payout history in your case to ensure you are receiving the amount you are rightfully due. You can help in this process by providing pay stubs for the 13 weeks before the accident.
A $40 increase in your lost wage checks may not mean anything to the insurance companies, but it can make all the difference when bills are due and you are unable to work. Let one of our Florida workers’ compensation attorneys determine whether you are receiving all the money you are entitled to.
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