Many people today need to work more than one job to pay the bills. But what happens if they get injured? Are they entitled to recover for lost wages from all of their jobs? The answer is based on the fundamental purpose of Workers’ Compensation laws – which is to compensate injured workers for the losses they experience as a result of injuries sustained on the job. These losses include lost wages.
Average Weekly Wage Calculation
Most states use the “average weekly wage” (AWW) of an employee to determine lost wage. This includes income derived from all jobs held at the time of the injury. AWW is typically calculated by looking back to the earnings from the year prior to the injury. If a worker is injured after only a short time on the job, then assumptions can be made as to the amount of wages they could reasonably have been expected to earn in the prior year. Sometimes this is done by looking to statistics of similar occupations in the area, for the same level of work and experience as the injured worker, to derive an estimate to use in calculating the AWW. If this calculation is unfair to the employee or employer due to exceptional circumstances, then the statute allows for other methods to be used to determine lost wages.
For workers having more than one job, they bear the burden of proving wages earned from jobs other than the one where the accident occurred. Accordingly, the AWW calculation for the job where they did not get injured is not likely to be determined using the estimate method mentioned above. In this case, the AWW will likely be calculated based on pay stubs to determine wage loss benefits.
Amount of Compensation
States do not usually provide for an injured worker to be compensated for the full amount of AWW. They differ in how they balance the interests of compensating workers with the interests of keeping costs down for employers and insurance companies. Many states require insurance to cover two-thirds of the AWW. This is the case in South Carolina. The compensation rate is calculated by multiplying the AWW by 0.6667.
Severity of Injury
The amount of compensation is based on the degree of disability. If you are able to work with medical restrictions, either for fewer hours or for a less demanding job, then you are likely eligible for partial disability benefits. In this case, the amount you are able to earn can be subtracted from the Workers’ Compensation amount paid for lost wages. If you are not able to work at all for a period of time but can eventually return to work, then you would likely receive temporary total disability benefits. If your injury is so severe that you are totally disabled, then you might qualify for permanent Social Security disability benefits.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Injured Workers in South Carolina
Workers’ Compensation law is complex, has mandated procedures and deadlines, and involves establishing a variety of different forms of proof of injury and employment. A misstep can alter the outcome of an injured workers’ claim by thousands of dollars. Allow an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. to represent you in your case. We have six offices throughout South Carolina. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623.
We are proud to represent injured workers across South Carolina, including those in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.