If you’ve been injured on the job and can’t return to work, you will likely need something to get you by until you are well. If you have a good attorney, they can help you receive more than just medical bill compensation in your worker’s compensation benefits. You may also be eligible for a weekly wage benefit equal to a portion of your current average weekly wage. However, determining your benefit amount is not always cut and dry.

Your average weekly wage in a worker’s compensation case is different from your actual weekly paycheck. You will typically receive only ⅔ of your average weekly wage as opposed to your full paycheck amount. However, there are ways in which you can increase your weekly amount with the help of an attorney.

The most common method to calculate the wages is to use your wages earned for the prior year divided by the number of weeks that you have worked. This includes tips, bonuses, per diem income, and other forms of income that aren’t included in your regular paycheck. Adding this additional income to your total earnings for the year can help to put more in your pocket when calculating your average weekly wage.

If you have not been at your current company for a substantial amount of time, or if your job changed significantly throughout the year (say, you were promoted or changed industries), wages can be estimated based on other employees in the same position or job description as you. Calculations may also be different if you are a seasonal worker who only works part of the year, or an employee who earns a significant portion of income from tips or commission. Your attorney will walk you through how to determine your average weekly wage in these special circumstances, and help you maximize your benefit amount while you’re away from work.

When calculating your weekly wage, you will have to take into account the “max rate” in Florida. This rate is the maximum benefit any Florida employee is allowed to collect through worker’s compensation. It is calculated annually and is equal to 100 percent of the Statewide average weekly wage, rounded to the nearest dollar. For 2019, the max rate is $939, based on the average weekly wage of Florida workers in 2018.

Knowing your average weekly wage will help you plan for the future and budget appropriately while you’re out of work. Accurate estimation is essential if you are to receive the money you deserve. If you do not go over this figure carefully with your attorney and employer, you could be losing hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Talk to Katherine Stone of Injury Florida Law Firm to go over your worker’s compensation options and find out your average weekly wage. Katherine will walk you through the steps of applying for worker’s compensation, and advocate for you to ensure you receive the full medical and wage benefits available to you through your employer and the state of Florida. To learn more, contact Katherine at kstone@injuryfloridalawfirm.com or call the office today.