Average Weekly Wage in Texas Workers’ Compensation Claims
As the name implies your Average Weekly Wage (AWW) is a calculation of the average of all weekly benefits and earnings for 13 weeks immediately preceding your on-the-job injury or illness. The AWW is used to calculate your Comp Rate (the amount of money you receive each week for Texas Workers’ Compensation income benefits).
The Employer’s Wage Statement – Within a required time frame, the employer is required to supply the insurance carrier (and the injured worker) of the total of all wages and benefits earned for 13 weeks prior to the date of injury. If the injured employee has not worked a full 13 weeks, then the wages and benefits of a similar employee would be used.
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The wage information should contain all wages and benefits including overtime pay, per diem allowance, clothing allowance, travel and fuel allowance, health insurance benefits (if the employer no longer provides health insurance during the employee’s medical absence), and any other form of regular payments, benefits, or services of value that the injured employee is no longer receiving.
The employer must supply this information on the 8th day that the injured worker has begun to earn less than pre-injury wages, or as soon as the employer is notified that the employee is eligible to receive income benefits, or on the date of work-related-death of the employee. If the employer fails to do this, the employer may be fined by the state.
*** NOTE *** The carrier has no incentive to make sure your Average Weekly Wage is calculated correctly. Your weekly comp rate should be calculated using all of your overtime, benefits, health insurance, travel allowances, per diem allowances, or any other type of employment-related benefits or wages. Further, once the carrier begins paying Income Benefits based on a simple 40-hour workweek at your regular rate of pay, there is no need whatsoever for the insurance adjuster to dig further and ensure that you are getting everything you deserve.
It’s very important to make sure the Average Weekly Wage is calculated correctly as soon as possible, because all future income benefits are based directly on the carrier’s determination of what your average earnings were before your injury. Even the slightest underpayment can add up to lots of money over the course of time.
Texas Workers’ Compensation laws are complex and impact many areas of an injured workers’ life and future. The insurance carrier has one goal: to limit or dispute your medical care and your entitlement to income benefits. Call 888-434-COMP (888-434-2667) and talk to our hard-working, experienced workers’ comp lawyers. You owe it to yourself to talk to an attorney who can help you understand your rights, responsibilities and options in this difficult time of your life. The call is free, there is no obligation, and all conversations are kept strictly confidential. Call today.
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Abbott, Clay & Bedoy attorneys are licensed only in the state of Texas unless otherwise indicated in the biographical section. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. We consider employment in another State only in association with co-counsel licensed in that State. References to laws are limited to federal and State of Texas law.