Workers’ Comp Calculating Your Average Weekly Wage in Virginia
Even if you have never been hurt at work before, you likely know that if you are and it happened while you were performing your job duties, you are eligible for benefits through the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. Beyond that general knowledge, though, you may have questions about calculating your weekly wage for the purposes of workers’ comp benefits after a workplace injury.
Calculating your average weekly wage in Virginia can be straightforward if you primarily receive just wages or salary. But it can become complicated if you make a lot of overtime, receive bonuses, or commissions, have a substantially similar second job. Accordingly, if you have a workers’ comp claim, you should consider talking to one of the Roanoke injury attorneys at Lugar Injury Law about your case. Our experienced workers’ comp attorneys can make sure that you account for all your various forms of compensation so that you provide an accurate weekly gross wage number on your claim form. Call (540) 523-1633 today for a free consultation to discuss your claim.
How to Calculate Your Workers’ Comp Average Weekly Wage
If you can not work while recovering from your injuries, you may be entitled to temporary total disability payments (TTD) for the time you are off. To determine how much you are entitled to weekly, the state sets minimum and maximum benefits rates each year. In addition, the state determines a cost of living increase (COLA) and reimbursement for mileage, if you have travel-related to your medical needs that arose from your work injury. These rates, which can be found online at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission website, are:
- Maximum compensation rate effective July 1, 2019 is $1,102 per week and the minimum compensation rate is $275.50 weekly.
- Mileage reimbursement is $.55 per mile
- COLA rate, effective October 1, 2019, is 1.85%
To calculate your rate, you use your earnings for the 52-weeks prior to your accident, take out any weeks that you had no pay, and then divide the number of weeks into your earnings to determine your average weekly wage. Once you determine that number, you will be eligible for 66.66% of it as your wage loss benefits. For example, if your average weekly wage is determined to be $800, your weekly workers’ comp wage loss benefit is approximately $533.28.
It?s important to keep in mind that you may have other considerations besides just wages. You may need to account for:
- Tips and gratuities ? even if you did not pay taxes on cash, you can include tips and gratuities into the calculation of your average weekly wage
- Bonuses ? whether discretionary or scheduled, don?t forget to account for bonuses
- Allowances ? reimbursement for business items such as a car or cell phone should be included
- Overtime ? include all overtime in your calculations
- Fringe benefits ? the value of your benefits, such as medical or 401K, are part of your total compensation and should be accounted for
By including all forms of compensation, your average weekly wage will be higher and maximize your workers’ comp benefit. If you lowball this initial figure, you could lose thousands in benefits or settlement of your claim. That?s why it is vital to discuss your case with one of our workers’ comp attorneys.
An important consideration is to be mindful of the minimum benefit as well. If your average weekly wage is less than $410, you may be entitled to the minimum compensation rate of $275.50 a week. Conversely, high wage earners who are well beyond the maximum compensation rate of $1,102 need the help of our attorneys to understand their options.
We Can Help Calculate Your Average Weekly Wage in Virginia
Suffering a workplace injury and then having to navigate the workers’ comp system is a lot to handle, especially while you are recovering. For peace of mind, let us help you with your workers’ compensation claim. We can accurately calculate your average weekly wage so that you receive the benefits you are entitled to by law and evaluate other important concerns in a workers comp case. Contact us today at (540) 523-1633 to set up a free consultation about your case.