How Do I Calculate Average Weekly Wage:  Virginia Workers’ Compensation

Been injured on the job?  Confused by all the legal terms and paperwork you need to complete?  Trying to figure out your Average Weekly Wage (AWW) and have no idea what you’re doing?  Here is a little guidance on how to calculate Average Weekly Wage which may clear up some of the confusion.

In Virginia, an injured worker’s Average Weekly Wage is determined by his or her earnings on the job where the employee was working at the time of the injury.  Average Weekly Wage, or AWW, is defined by Va. Code § 65.2-101 as “the earnings of an injured employee at the time of the injury.”  The idea behind average weekly wage is that the AWW should closely approximate the money lost by the injured worker as a result of the injury.

Calculating Average Weekly Wage

To calculate average weekly wage, usually an injured workers’ earnings are added over the last year (52 weeks) and then that amount is averaged by 52 weeks.  For example, say an injured worker makes varying amounts per week working at a convenience store.  He might have some weeks where he earns $200.00, some with $250.00, and some with $275.00.  You would add up the amounts for 52 weeks and then divide that answer by 52.

Say the total of those 52 weeks equals $12,575.00, then:

$12,575.00/52 = $241.83 Average Weekly Wage

What Happens If I Get A Promotion Before My Injury?

Say you’ve gotten a promotion just before your injury occurred.  The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission says that when a worker receives a promotion just prior to an injury, the average weekly wage should reflect the higher salary.

Can I Add Money From Side Work As An Independent Contractor In My Average Weekly Wage?

Suppose you are a painter and do painting jobs on the side as an independent contractor.  Unfortunately, you are not able to add in income from this work when you determine your average weekly wage.

I Work Two Jobs That Are Similar But With Different Employers. How Does This Affect My Average Weekly Wage?

If you work two similar jobs, you may be entitled to have your wages from both jobs counted toward your average weekly wage. While no two jobs are exactly alike because one job may have some additional duties, this does not usually result in a refusal to combine the wages. Here is an example of how this works:

A police officer has a second job as a night security guard at a motel.  He becomes injured while trying to arrest someone at the motel.  In this situation, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has approved agreements where each employer pays its share of the injured workers’ wage loss benefits based on the combined wages.

I Was Hurt At My Seasonal Employment.  How Do I Calculate My Average Weekly Wage?

When computing the average weekly wage of a seasonal worker, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission will only average the number of weeks you actually worked at your seasonal job if you show that you remained in the labor market during the off season. Some people try to use seasonal work to supplement their Social Security checks and never plan to work more hours during the off season.  In that instance, if you are injured during your seasonal work, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission will compute the wage over the entire fifty-two week period.

What If There Is A Mistake In My Average Weekly Wage?

If it appears that a mistake was made when your average weekly wage was calculated, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has the power to amend the AWW.  The Commission can set aside an award of Average Weekly Wage on the grounds of fraud, mistake, or imposition.

Can I Count My Fringe Benefits In Calculating My Average Weekly Wage?

Because it is nearly impossible to calculate a dollar worth for fringe benefits, they are not included in the calculation of the average weekly wage.

I Am In The National Guard.  How Do I Calculate My Average Weekly Wage?

If you are in the National Guard, your average weekly wage is covered by Virginia statute.  Members of the Virginia National Guard who are injured in the course of their duties are entitled to the maximum rate of compensation regardless of the amount they made before the injury.

Talk To An Experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you have questions about how to describe your work injury or any other questions about your Virginia Workers’ Comp claim, it is wise to contact a lawyer for some advice.

If you’ve been injured on the job, it is helpful to talk to a lawyer who is experienced in workers’ compensation claims. At the Ritchie Law Firm, you can talk to us for FREE . . . NO STRINGS ATTACHED! We can give you advice on your claim before you make a decision that could damage your case. Check out our article on “How Much Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Cost” here.

At the Ritchie Law Firm, we have successfully handled thousands of workers’ compensation claims. We’ve seen injured workers who have trusted the insurance adjuster only to find out that their time to file the paperwork to protect their claim had expired.

Virginia Workers’ compensation is a complex system that can be very difficult to navigate. Be very careful to make certain that your rights are protected before you sign anything. Talking to our workers’ comp lawyers about your claim is free. If we take your case, we don’t get a fee unless we win your case. There is no risk to you to get some information about your case before you make any decision that might negatively affect its outcome.

For more than 45 years, the Ritchie Law Firm has successfully helped thousands of injured workers navigate the complex workers’ compensation process. The Ritchie Law Firm specializes in serving injury victims. We never represent insurance ompanies or corporations. If your workers’ compensation case is going to hearing, you will want a trial expert on your side. We are board certified trial specialists through the National Board of Trial Advocacy. The attorney you choose for your workers’ compensation case can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Choose wisely. . . you can talk to us for free. Call today 800-277-6124 or fill out the form below. Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious injuries as a result of a job injury.

Ritchie Law Firm serves injured workers in all of Virginia while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester. Check out case studies from some of the cases we’ve handled by clicking here.

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