According to the Iowa Workers’ Compensation statutes, there are many ways to calculate an injured worker’s weekly amount of compensation. It depends on how you are being paid. It depends on whether you are being paid by the hour, weekly, bi-weekly, salaried, or other terms of compensation. There are other variables that are important to the weekly rate calculation such as overtime, shift differential, vacation, and holidays.
It is extremely important the weekly workers’ compensation rate be properly calculated. The weekly rate will determine how much an injured worker gets paid for time off work for healing period, as well as compensation for a permanent injury. The weekly rate never changes, and there is no cost of living increase. The weekly compensation rate is approximately 80 percent of your spendable earnings or 66 and two-thirds of your gross weekly wage.
The attorneys at Wertz & Dake intensely review a client’s weekly workers’ compensation rate. It is not unusual to find the insurance company has made mistakes in calculating the rate. These mistakes can vary from an injured worker being owed a few dollars more per week to several hundred dollars. At times, the injured worker is being overpaid.
There is almost no way an injured worker can figure out if the workers’ compensation rate is being paid correctly. Wertz & Dake asks for the records and for the workers’ compensation insurance company to justify its calculations. We carefully review the records on wages. A common significant mistake the attorneys at Wertz & Dake identify deals with representative weeks. The workers’ compensation laws provide the weeks to be utilized to calculate a weekly rate need to be representative weeks. So for instance, if there is a week of wages which is not properly representative of a normal week of work, this week should not be used for the calculations. This can happen if a worker has a vacation week of 40 hours, but a normal representative week is 45 hours. Because the 40-hour week is not representative, it can be thrown out and replaced with a week that is representative. Ensuring the weekly compensation is properly calculated can make a significant difference in how much an injured worker is compensated for an injury.
Mistakes in the weekly compensation rate can result in losses of hundreds or thousands of dollars if not corrected. When Wertz & Dake find these mistakes, we take immediate steps to get the injured worker properly paid. Mistakes made by the workers’ compensation insurance company can be subject to a penalty award if the weekly rate is an underpayment to the injured worker.
If you have concerns with whether you are being paid a proper weekly workers’ compensation rate, you need to have an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney to review the calculations. I would suggest if you have a workers’ compensation claim where a significant amount of weekly benefits are being paid, you should have the weekly compensation rate reviewed by an attorney.