Calculating Average Weekly Wage of a Truck Driver
Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers to Fight for Benefits
Under Section 10 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, you obtain disability benefits for work-related injuries based on a calculation of your average weekly wage. Your average weekly wage is defined by your actual earnings on the job, but there are all kinds of situations that make this calculation more complex, and a miscalculation of the average weekly wage could shortchange you, particularly if you do not have legal representation. Insurance companies tend to focus on protecting profits; the trucking company’s insurer may miscalculate the wage such that your weekly benefits payments are significantly lower than they would be with the correct calculation. If you are concerned with obtaining workers’ compensation benefits for a chronic or acute injury you suffered on the job as a truck driver, it is crucial to retain an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer who understands the legal nuances and can knowledgeably advocate for you to receive the full benefits to which you are entitled.
Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits
Average weekly wage is the basis for temporary and permanent disability benefits. Generally temporary total disability or temporary partial disability benefits amount to 2/3 of an average weekly wage. Permanent disability benefits can be determined through several methods including wage differential, scheduled injury, percentage of loss based on partial or whole damages, and disfigurement. Some of these methods rely on the initial calculation of average weekly wage. For example, if you are an injured Chicago truck driver who can no longer working in trucking and must take a different, lesser-paid desk job, you may be entitled to receive benefits calculated according to a wage differential method; this means you should get 2/3 of the difference between prior actual income and earnings at the new job. There is a cap based on the state average weekly wage, which shifts periodically.
Calculating Average Weekly Wage of an Illinois Truck Driver
There are a few different ways of calculating a truck driver’s average weekly wage, but generally, this calculation involves his or her actual earnings. One straightforward method of calculating the average weekly wage is to look at how much you are paid per week. This method is appropriate if you were a full-time employee of a trucking company or other employer. The period used to decide the average weekly wage terminates on the last day of the most recent full-pay period before the work accident. Your actual earnings over the course of 52 weeks are divided by 52. Bonuses or overtime typically don’t factor into the average weekly wage unless overtime is mandatory. For instance, if you must work overtime because you travel long distances delivering cargo, your overtime wages may affect calculation of your average weekly wage for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits.
However, if you work part-time or seasonally as a truck driver, the calculation may be more complex. For instance, if you only drive the truck during the summers, calculating your average weekly wage may require comparison with other truck driver who work in every season. Your average weekly wage could be based on another employee’s earnings if he worked in the same position and worked the full four quarters, and not only intermittently.
Similarly, if you lost at least 5 days in the year before getting into an accident, your average weekly wage would likely be calculated as your earnings divided by the actual number of weeks or parts of them that you worked, after the deductions of lost time.
If you were injured on the job after only working a few weeks or so, your average weekly wage may be calculated by taking the average wage earned by another truck driver who works a similar number of hours each week but worked a full 52 weeks.
Sometimes truck drivers work for more than one employer. In that case, your average weekly wage will be based on your total earnings from all the employers.
Consult an Experienced Attorney for Truck Drivers
If you need workers’ compensation benefits, it is important to understand how your average weekly wage as a truck driver will be calculated. You should consult an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney about your claim. Our lawyers represent injured truck drivers in Rockford, Champaign, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. We handle not only workers’ compensation, but also personal injury and SSDI claims. Call us at 312-724-5846 or complete our online form.