Work related accidents occur in every workplace. Under North Carolina law, if your work related injury prevents you from working, you may be entitled to lost-wage compensation to assist you in your recovery.
In most cases compensation is based on your average weekly wage (AWW). Under NC Workers’ Compensation Law, you are entitled to 66 2/3% (.6667) of your average weekly wage. Once calculated, this value, your compensation rate, is payable on a weekly basis.
So, how is your average weekly wage (AWW) calculated? Under North Carolina Law, there are four ways in which the courts determine your AWW as instructed by the legislature:
- First, if you have been on the job for more than a year, the Average Weekly Wage is the total amount of money earned during the 52 weeks prior to the injury divided by the number of weeks worked. If you have missed 7 or more calendar days during the 52 week period, these weeks are deducted when calculating your AWW.
- Second, if you’ve worked less than 52 weeks, the Average Weekly Wage is the total amount of money earned during the employment divided by the number of weeks worked.
- Third, if the employment is so short that it is not fair to apply the second method, then look to the wages of a similar employee.
- Finally, if none of the prior methods would be fair, then the Average Weekly Wage is the amount of money that wouldmost closely approximate the amount of money you would be earning.
Average weekly wage calculations should include all overtime and bonuses, as well as non-wage allowances such as per-diems and housing.
These benefits are subject to a 7-day waiting period, meaning, you will not be compensated for the first 7 days you are out of work. Once you’ve been out for 7 days, the proverbial clock begins to tick. However, if you are unable to work for more than 21 days, you will be compensated for the initial 7 days. Additionally, be advised that there is a maximum weekly benefit mandated by the state. While this number is adjusted annually, the maximum compensation is calculated by the date of your injury. These benefits cease when you are physically able to return to work, even if you choose not to return to work.
If you have questions concerning your rights in a workers’ compensation claim contact Miller Law Group for a free consultation.