When you receive benefits for lost wages in the Colorado Workers’ Compensation system, one of the most important numbers is your average weekly wage (AWW). The average weekly wage effects not only the amount which you are paid every week while you are off work, but it also effects the amount of your final settlement when it comes time to settle your case. The higher the average weekly wage, the more money your case is worth.
Calculating Average Weekly Wage
Generally, you will be paid at the rate of 2/3 of your average weekly wage, which is why it is important to get your average weekly wage up as high as possible. However, this is sometimes difficult, because there are many different ways to calculate the AWW. We want the AWW to be calculated so that you will get the most amount of money, while the insurance company wants to calculate the AWW so that you are paid the least. In calculating the AWW, it is proper to consider the amount of money that you were making per week. This is based on the gross amount of money you were earning. It is not based upon the amount of money which you were actually taking home every week. It is often appropriate to include in your AWW certain fringe benefits which you were receiving at the time of your injury, such as health insurance and the amount you were making in overtime.
Many times, the insurance company does not include everything in your AWW. Usually, the injured worker is not even aware that there are certain things which should be included in the AWW which the insurance company did not include. Also, the injured worker is usually unaware that there may be a different way to calculate his AWW which would result in higher benefits. As your attorney, Steve Gurwin will make sure that your AWW is calculated properly.
Seasonal Worker’s Average Weekly Wage
One example of how an injured worker can be short-changed on benefits involves the case of a seasonal worker. Landscapers generally work more hours in the summer months than in the winter months. If a worker was hurt in January, it is not fair to base his AWW on the past three months, because those will generally be the months during which he received the least amount of money. Instead, it would be more fair to the injured worker (and more accurate) to calculate the AWW based on a full year’s pay. This will usually result in a much higher average weekly wage for seasonal workers. The same is true of other seasonal workers, such as United Parcel Service workers, who put in a lot of overtime during the holidays, and teachers, who often do not work during the summer.
It is important that you have Steve Gurwin as your attorney, because he understands the best way to calculate your average weekly wage so as to give you the most benefits. If the insurance company does not agree, then Steve Gurwin will set the matter for hearing before a workers’ compensation judge, who has the power to determine your correct average weekly wage.
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