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Tampa Workers' Compensation Attorney / Blog / Workers Compensation / Determining Lost Wages in a Florida Workers’ Compensation Matter

Determining Lost Wages in a Florida Workers’ Compensation Matter


The lost wage replacement rule appears straightforward. Victims with temporary job-related disabilities are entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wage until their doctors clear them to return to work. The method for determining the AWW is less straightforward. Most insurance companies add the last ten “net pay” lines for the last ten weeks and divide by ten. Others take an even easier way out. They cut and paste the figures from a statewide AWW table.

As outlined below, both these methods often shortchange injury victims. These families need as much lost wage compensation as possible, so they can pay bills while their primary breadwinners recover from their injuries. Despite what TV commercials strongly imply, insurance companies don’t voluntarily do what’s right in these situations. They only care about their own profits. Instead, a determined Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer must force them to do what’s right.

Base Pay

Boilerplate applications from general tables are clearly inadequate. Lost wages is not a one-size-fits-all determination. Instead, the calculation begins with the victims’ base pay. That’s usually different from net pay.

Many workers authorize voluntary payroll deductions, such as retirement account contributions and international tax over-withholding. Victims deserve AWW credit for this money. It’s theirs and they spend it how they chose to spend it.

Semi-voluntary deductions, like union dues, are in a gray area. Sometimes, union membership is optional. Additionally, the employer doesn’t benefit from union due collection. Once again, the employee decides how to spend the money the employee earns.

One quick note before we go further. Workers’ compensation benefits are available to employees. Employers don’t get to unilaterally decide who is an employee and who is an independent contractor or non-employee.

So, if you were hurt on the job, always ask a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer to review your case, regardless of your legal employment status.

Non-Cash Compensation

This compensation includes parking allowances, expense reimbursements, transit allowances, housing allowances, and per diem payments. Sometimes, these payments vary from paycheck to paycheck. Expense reimbursement is a good example. Frequently, employees save their receipts and submit them for reimbursement a few times a year.

Non-cash compensation creates two large AWW issues. First, the last two or three months might be inadequate, because of the periodic reimbursement schedule discussed above. Second, employers sometimes pay these costs directly, especially parking and public transit costs. Nevertheless, these payments are part of the AWW.

Future Wages

Many people are entitled to annual compensation increases. Others get pay bumps when their initial probationary periods end. Still others get pay bumps if the minimum wage increases.

If the increase would have occurred while the victim was working, the AWW must change. Assume Terry is hired February 1 and gets hurt on March 29, one day before his probationary period ends. His workers’ compensation lost wage replacement should reflect his new, higher salary, not his old, lower one.

The same principle applies to missed future overtime opportunities and missed future performance bonus milestones. If a work-related injury causes such economic losses, the employer must cover these losses.

 Count on a Thorough Hillsborough County Attorney

Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.



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