Michigan work injury lawyer answers the question ‘why is my workers’ comp check so low’ by discussing average weekly wage and how to calculate wage loss benefits.
We get many confused telephone calls and emails regarding wage loss benefits. These payments are a disabled employee’s lifeline when they get hurt on-the-job. Many people live paycheck-to-paycheck and cannot afford to lose any income. We understand these challenges and want to help explain legal rights. Here are some answers to the frequently asked question: Why is my workers’ comp check so low?
Michigan workman’s compensation is designed to pay wage loss benefits to people who cannot work. The amount paid depends upon income before getting hurt. Disabled employees can generally expect to receive 80% of their after-tax average weekly wage, subject to a state-wide maximum. This is calculated by averaging the highest 39 paid weeks out of the 52 paid weeks before getting hurt. Why is my workers’ comp check so low? Because the insurance company probably made an error!
Wage loss benefit calculation
Individuals on workers comp in Michigan should get 80% of their after-tax average weekly wage. This is calculated by adding up the highest 39 paid weeks out of the last 52 weeks before the workplace injury occurred. Overtime, premium pay, bonuses, discontinued fringe benefits, and even second jobs should be included in the calculation.
Our attorneys find that a reason your Michigan workers’ comp check is low is because the insurance company probably estimated based upon hourly rate and a standard 40 hour work-week. This is incorrect and robs people of money. The claims adjuster should be using actual wage records from the employer. Information about discontinued fringe benefits should have also been disclosed.
It is usually up to the disabled employee to provide wage records from any second job that can no longer be performed. Make sure to obtain these wage records and provide them to the insurance company as soon as possible.
Tax filing status and number of dependents also plays a role in the wage loss benefit calculation. Make sure to provide this information to the insurance company.
Post-injury wage earning capacity (PIWEC)
Another reason your Michigan workers’ comp check is so low is because the insurance company might have made an adjustment based upon PIWEC. This is when the insurance company says a person can work despite being disabled from their current position. They use a transferable skills analysis and labor market survey to argue that other jobs are available. Biased vocational assessments are used as a basis to reduce wage loss benefits.
Our experience shows that PIWEC is a very flawed system. Insurance companies abuse the process to pay less in wage loss benefits which could be the reason why your Michigan workers’ comp check is so low. We had one client see his weekly checks get slashed to just $19 per week. It is important to challenge any biased vocational assessment in court. A magistrate will ultimately decide if work is available within qualifications and training. It is also very important to perform a good-faith job search as this will be evidence that no employer will hire you. Contact an experienced lawyer if weekly checks are unfairly reduced or cut-off.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 337-5167 for a free consultation today.