Atwood, Holsten, Brown, Deaver & Spier Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O.
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Calculating Your Average Weekly Wage After a Work Injury

When an employee suffers a work related injury and cannot immediately return to work because of serious injuries sustained, one of the first issues that requires attention is the calculation of the injured worker's average weekly wage so that the benefits that are due are calculated and paid properly. In Nebraska, average weekly wage for purposes of workers' compensation benefits is typically calculated by dividing the 26 weeks, or 6 months, of gross wages immediately preceding the accident by the number of weeks worked. The Nebraska workers' compensation wage statute, Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-126, states:

Wherever in the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act the term wages is used, it shall be construed to mean the money rate at which the service rendered is recompensed under the contract of hiring in force at the time of the accident. It shall not include gratuities received from the employer or others, nor shall it include board, lodging, or similar advantages received from the employer, unless the money value of such advantages shall have been fixed by the parties at the time of hiring, except that if the workers' compensation insurer shall have collected a premium based upon the value of such board, lodging, and similar advantages, then the value thereof shall become a part of the basis of determining compensation benefits. In occupations involving seasonal employment or employment dependent upon the weather, the employee's weekly wages shall be taken to be one-fiftieth of the total wages which he or she has earned from all occupations during the year immediately preceding the accident, unless it be shown that during such year, by reason of exceptional causes, such method of computation does not fairly represent the earnings of the employee. In such a case, the period for calculation shall be extended so far as to give a basis for the fair ascertainment of his or her average weekly earnings. In continuous employments, if immediately prior to the accident the rate of wages was fixed by the day or hour or by the output of the employee, his or her weekly wages shall be taken to be his or her average weekly income for the period of time ordinarily constituting his or her week's work, and using as the basis of calculation his or her earnings during as much of the preceding six months as he or she worked for the same employer, except as provided in sections 48-121 and 48-122. The calculation shall also be made with reference to the average earnings for a working day of ordinary length and exclusive of earnings from overtime, except that if the insurance company's policy of insurance provides for the collection of a premium based upon such overtime, then such overtime shall become a part of the basis of determining compensation benefits.

However, every case is different and calculation of average weekly wage can be complicated by a number of factors, such as:

• If the injured worker is a seasonal employee;

• If the injured worker is paid based on production or on commission versus based on an hourly or daily wage;

• If the injured worker is a part-time employee, or in the alternative, works a lot of overtime hours;

• If the injured worker took weeks off for vacation, holidays, or sick leave;

• If the injured worker was involved in training at a different wage rate prior to the accident;

• If the injured worker was employed only a matter of days or hours before the accident occurred; and,

• If the injured worker received bonuses, payment via non-monetary means, such as free rent or a free cell phone.

The law can be complicated. Obtaining the advice of an experienced workers' compensation attorney at the outset of a work injury claim to avoid mistakes early and ensure benefits are paid properly and timely is recommended. Our attorneys are available, responsive and have decades of individual and combined experience navigating the potential pitfalls of wage calculation and are here to help.

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What Our Clients Say

  • The lawyers and support staff at Atwood Law Firm showed me sincere interest and caring on a very personal level, and I knew at all times my interests were front and center in all aspects of my workers' compensation case. This office is staffed by a great group of people. You can relax and be assured that your welfare comes first and foremost in their decisions and actions with respect to your legal case. You are kept aware of the process and progress in your case at all times, and your input is welcomed. I highly recommend the Atwood Law Firm to anyone needing legal assistance. - WN

  • I cannot thank you enough for the peace of mind you have brought to my family! Both of my parents are extremely grateful for your work. I knew we were in good hands from the first meeting and you have exceeded all my expectations! It may feel straightforward to you, but to us, you have moved mountains. This settlement will allow my parents, particularly my Dad, to enjoy the rest of their lives to the fullest of their abilities. We all agree that we would give every cent back and more for my Dad to walk again, but that is not going to happen... - DW

  • "...He didn't treat me like I was one of 100 clients. He treated me like I was his only client. He acted professionally but with empathy, dignity and friendliness. It didn't matter if it was something small or large, he was always there for me, be it by phone, fax, email, cellphone or meeting me personally at his office or elsewhere. He never rushed me when I didn't understand something, he'd take as much time as needed to explain things to me, especially when it came time for my deposition and in preparation for trial. He was there for me when I truly needed his help..." - CG

  • "...My husband and I felt his kindness immediately and were both very impressed with his knowledge of what to expect in a wrongful death case. He pursued our claim in an aggressive manner while at the same time being very protective of our rights and privacy and sheltered us from any unnecessary contact with insurance agents, or any other adverse parties. My husband and I cannot say enough about the kindness, professionalism and legal ability demonstrated by Atwood, Holsten, Brown, Deaver & Spier Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O." - RD

  • "...If it were not for this law firm all I would have received from this injury would have been a loss of income check and a pat on the back, goodbye. Which only would have been a fraction of what I actually received. He was always professional but more importantly he cared about me and my family as people not just a client. He went beyond his role as my lawyer. He even spoke with my bank and explained why I was behind on my car payment. And this saved me getting my car repossessed..." - HR

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