What Benefits am I Entitled to—Part 2 Lost Wages Overview

By: Eric D. Abes

In Workers’ Compensation, injured workers are entitled to two main types of benefits: lost wages and medical care. Lost wages benefits are relatively self-explanatory: replace the wages you are not earning due to your injury.

Each year, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation sets the ranges for workers’ compensation indemnity benefits. As benefits are paid weekly, so too are the wages calculated. This is referred to as the Average Weekly Wage. But how do you calculate the wages at the time of injury?

For someone with a fixed salary, it is easy. However, in my experience, very few injured workers are paid a fixed wage. More common are those paid hourly wages where the hours vary. Typically, you add up the wages for the past four thirteen week periods of work, immediately prior to the injury, take an average of the three highest periods, and calculate the weekly average. But what about overtime? What about per diem for travel, food, or lodging? What about bonus? What if an employee only works seasonally?

As you can see, all of this is very complicated. Over my next few posts I will attempt to explain at least some of this. However, your best bet is to contact an attorney. The laws governing workers’ compensation are very complex and confusing. You need a professional who knows the law and can make sure you receive the benefits you deserve.



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