Calculating the Average Weekly Wage


How Do I Know if Workers’ Compensation is Paying Me at the Correct Rate?

Calculating your correct workers’ compensation rate can be hard. We can help!

Workers’ compensation benefits are supposed to be paid at a weekly rate that is based on the 52 weeks you worked prior to your injury. There are some exceptions to this rule.

Workers Compensation Law – Average Weekly Wage

Here is what the law is on how to calculate the “average weekly wage” for your workers’ compensation case. Then, in order to get the rate that you will actually be paid, this average weekly wage is multiplied by 2/3. This is called your “compensation rate.”

Average Weekly Wages. – “Average weekly wages” shall mean the earnings of the injured employee in the employment in which the employee was working at the time of the injury during the period of 52 weeks immediately preceding the date of the injury, including the subsistence allowance paid to veteran trainees by the United States government, provided the amount of said allowance shall be reported monthly by said trainee to the trainee’s employer, divided by 52; but if the injured employee lost more than seven consecutive calendar days at one or more times during such period, although not in the same week, then the earnings for the remainder of such 52 weeks shall be divided by the number of weeks remaining after the time so lost has been deducted. Where the employment prior to the injury extended over a period of fewer than 52 weeks, the method of dividing the earnings during that period by the number of weeks and parts thereof during which the employee earned wages shall be followed; provided, results fair and just to both parties will be thereby obtained. Where, by reason of a shortness of time during which the employee has been in the employment of his employer or the casual nature or terms of his employment, it is impractical to compute the average weekly wages as above defined, regard shall be had to the average weekly amount which during the 52 weeks previous to the injury was being earned by a person of the same grade and character employed in the same class of employment in the same locality or community.

But where for exceptional reasons the foregoing would be unfair, either to the employer or employee, such other method of computing average weekly wages may be resorted to as will most nearly approximate the amount which the injured employee would be earning were it not for the injury.

Average Weekly Wage Explained

Clear as mud, right? Basically, you have to go in order of priority. If you worked 52 weeks prior to your injury and did not miss more than seven days in a row, then you base your average weekly wage on those 52 weeks of earnings. If you did miss more than seven days in a row, then you take those days out and get an average weekly wage for the remainder. If you did not work 52 weeks prior to your injury, then you move on to method 3 where you use an average of the weeks your did work, or parts thereof. If that method is not fair and just to either party, then you move on to method four and look at the wages of a similar employee. If that method is not fair and just, then you would look to option five, the “catchall” method, and set forth a rational explanation for why the method you propose should be used instead of these other methods.

Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

There are a lot of twists and turns to calculating the correct average weekly wage. What if you got a raise prior to your injury? What if you got a promotion prior to your injury? What if your work is seasonal?

There are also special rules for minors, volunteer firefighters and other classes of employees. It is important to consult a worker’s compensation attorney in order to ensure that you are getting paid at the correct workers’ compensation rate.

Call 888-694-5515 or email Stewart Poisson at or Fred Poisson, Jr. at today, they are happy to help you with this challenging process of determining your correct compensation rate and average weekly wage. Both Fred and Stewart are board-certified specialists in workers’ compensation law.

Stewart Poisson focuses her practice on litigation. Stewart opened the Wilmington office of Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC in 2006. She assists clients in both of the firm’s offices in the fields of Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury and handles all appellate work for the firm. She particularly enjoys helping clients who have been injured in workplace accidents caused by the negligence of a third party. She represents clients in the both the personal injury claim and the workers’ compensation claim and is skilled at maximizing her clients’ recovery in these complicated cases.