Average Monthly Wage – Get it Right!
By Attorney Erica Gonzalez-Melendez
Snow Carpio & Weekley
One of the most important aspects of your case is average monthly wage. All of your compensation while your case is open and active depends upon your average monthly wage. At the close of your case, if you get a permanent impairment, the amount of compensation you are paid for the impairment depends upon your average monthly wage.
Your average monthly wage is the amount of money you earned in the 30 days prior to your injury. The goal of setting the average monthly wage is to get a picture of the amount you were earning at the time of your injury. If you have more than one job, the earnings from the second job would count as well.* Sometimes, the amount you earned in the 30 days prior to your injury isn’t an accurate reflection of your earnings on your date of injury. There are lots of reasons that this may happen: maybe you worked less hours or had an unusually high amount of earnings in the days prior to your injury; you could’ve started the job two weeks prior to your injury and therefore there are not 30 days to count prior to the injury. If it’s the case that you had an unusually high or low amount of earnings in the month prior to the injury, then the Industrial Commission will look at an “expanded wage base”, meaning, looking at earnings over a year or six months, whichever is more appropriate. If you very recently started your job, they may look at the earnings of other employees at your company who have a similar job to yours. If you recently had a change in your pay rate, the commission will look at your pay from the day of your raise forward.
As you can see, the average monthly wage is a crucial part of your case and it’s important to get it right. If you have questions about how your wage was set, you should consult with a worker’s compensation attorney. Both sides have 90 days to protest a Notice of Average Monthly wage set by the Commission so it’s important to consult with an attorney early in your case regarding this issue.
*The earnings from the second job would count if the second employer is covered by the Worker’s Compensation Act.
For more information on Workers’ Compensation or Social Security Disability, please contact Snow, Carpio & Weekley toll-free at 855-325-4781 or visit our website at www.workinjuryaz.com. We serve the entire State of Arizona and have offices located in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma and Lake Havasu City.