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Northwest OH Legal Blog

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What Injured Workers Need to Know About the Calculation of Their Workers’ Compensation Payments

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) compensates Ohio workers who are hurt on the job in two ways. First, it pays for approved medical treatment related to a workplace injury. Second, it provides different forms of indemnity payments, which are generally meant to provide financial support to injured workers who are unable to work because of their injury.

Unfortunately, these payments are not equal to the wages a Workers’ Compensation Claimant was making at the time of the injury. Most compensation payments are a percentage of the wages earned by the Claimant in the year prior to the injury, known as the Average Weekly Wage (AWW). This includes the wages earned while working for ALL employers, not just the Claimant’s employer at the time of the injury. Payments do not exceed a percentage of the statewide AWW, which is the average wage of every worker in the state. The percentage of the AWW the Claimant receives depends on the type of payment being received.

Some payments require a different calculation than the AWW, but to simply things, we will only discuss AWW. The information the Claimant should know is the same in any case.

A Workers’ Compensation Claimant need not know the methods used to calculate his or her AWW, but should be aware of the importance of his or her attorney having the correct information to make sure he or she is receiving the correct compensation. The AWW is determined by the BWC. However, the Claimant’s attorney is responsible for assisting the BWC in gathering the relevant information needed to determine this figure.

The simplest way of determining the AWW is based on the Claimant’s paystubs for the year prior to the injury. If the claimant does not have paystubs, the Claimant’s attorney will contact his or her employer to obtain this information. In cases where the Claimant was employed by multiple employers the year prior to the injury, such as the case of a journeyman construction worker, the attorney will have to contact each employer. It is essential for the Claimant to advise his or her attorney of all employers worked for the year prior to the injury.

If a claimant did not work for any period during the year prior to the injury, he or she may swear an affidavit stating this fact. If the Claimant was not working due because unemployed for reasons behind his or her control, these weeks may not be considered in the AWW calculation, potentially increasing the amount due to the Claimant. The Claimant’s attorney may contact Job and Family Services to get unemployment information when necessary.

Once the claimant and the claimant’s attorney believe they have adequate information regarding wages, the attorney’s office performs its own calculations to determine the AWW, and will forward the wage information to the BWC. If the BWC and the Claimant are in disagreement as to the correct AWW, the Claimant can file a motion and request a hearing before the Industrial Commission to set the correct AWW.

The same applies to a self-insured employer. The only difference is the Claimant’s attorney must work with the employer to set the correct wages. However, the BWC has proposed regulations which would allow the employer to ask the BWC for assistance in setting the correct wage. This is likely to help Claimants as they will benefit from the BWC’s expertise in setting wages, leading to fewer hearings.

Setting the correct wage for Workers’ Compensation payments is an important way attorneys assist clients with their claims. If you have questions regarding your claim, call the law firm of Allotta | Farley at (419) 535-0075 to set up a free consultation.


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With offices in Toledo and Lima, OH Allotta Farley Co., L.P.A. serves clients throughout northwest OH with various legal matters. Areas of service include Allen County, Ashland County, Auglaize County, Crawford County, Defiance County, Erie County, Fulton County, Hancock County, Hardin County, Henry County, Huron County, Lucas County, Marion County, Mercer County, Morrow County, Ottawa County, Paulding County, Putnam County, Richland County, Sandusky County, Seneca County, Van Wert County, Williams County, Wood County, Wyandot County.

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| Phone: 419.535.0075
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