This seems to be the month for Average Weekly Wage (AWW) cases. If you have not been keeping up with our blog (first, shame on you! 😉 ), AWW is the calculation of an injured worker’s wages, which is used to determine the amount of workers’ compensation benefits the injured worker will receive. Last week, we discussed the Toigo Orchards, LLC and Nationwide Insurance Company v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Gaffney) case, which dealt with a situation where the worker did not earn a regular set amount each week. This week we will look at a case with set weekly earnings.
In Lidey v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Tropical Amusements, Inc.), the injured worker was employed as manager/fabricator of company who provides amusement park and carnival rides. While doing his job, the employee suffered a severe injury to his right arm, in which the arm was fractured and crushed, requiring multiple surgical procedures. At the time of the injury, he was paid $2,000.00 per week. In the year prior to his injury, his wages increased from $1,000.00 per week to $2,000.00 per week, at least temporarily. There was no discussion whether this rate would continue indefinitely.
Though workers’ compensation benefits were paid voluntarily, they were based on an AWW of $640.00 (yielding a weekly compensation rate of $458.50). Believing he should have compensation based on the AWW of $2,000.00, the injured worker filed a Petition to Review. After evaluating the evidence (primarily testimony from both sides), the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) granted the Petition for Review, finding that the AWW indeed should be $2,000.00, for a resulting workers’ compensation rate of $917.00 (the maximum rate for 2013, the year of the injury).