Lost wages refer to the earnings an individual misses out on due to an injury or illness sustained at the workplace. This is an important part of workers’ compensation claims.
Its purpose is to compensate employees for the income they would have earned had they been able to work. Learn more about workers’ comp payments for lost wages in Pennsylvania here.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act
Pennsylvania has its own set of guidelines and protocols under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. This act establishes the framework for calculating lost wages. It considers the claimant’s average weekly wage before the injury, ensuring a fair assessment of potential lost earnings.
Calculation of Average Weekly Wage (AWW)
Calculating the Average Weekly Wage (AWW) is the first step in determining lost wages. In Pennsylvania, this is typically calculated by taking the worker’s earnings for the 52 weeks prior to the injury, allocating them into four quarters, and taking the average of the top three quarters. However, a different formula might be used for seasonal workers, salaried employees, and people employed for less than a year.
Determination of the compensation rate
After establishing the AWW, the compensation rate is then determined. Generally, an injured worker in Pennsylvania is entitled to about two-thirds of their AWW as their compensation rate. However, maximum and minimum limits are set yearly, so they change. At lower AWWs, the compensation rate is 90% of the preinjury earnings.
Adjustments and considerations
It’s essential to note that lost wage calculations may be subject to adjustments. Factors such as concurrent employment, seasonality of work, overtime, or bonuses can influence the final amount. Additionally, if an injured worker returns to work in a limited capacity or at a reduced wage, partial disability benefits may come into play. Other factors, such as a prior injury, might also come into play.
Determining lost wages in a PA workers’ comp claim is a systematic process to ensure injured workers receive fair compensation, but it can indeed be complicated, and you need a certified specialist workers’ comp attorney on your side. Contact our office for more information or help with acquiring lost wages as part of your workers’ compensation benefits.