Samuel was working several industrial jobs to make ends meet. He worked part time at a national freight company making between $190 and $250 per week. Sam’s second job was with a pest control company that paid considerably more than the first job.
In 2006, Sam was injured at his first (lesser paying) job. That employer set his average weekly wage (AWW) at $160.45 and his full weekly wage (FWW) at $250.80, based solely on his earnings from that one job. So Sam’s attorney filed a motion with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to reset his average and full weekly wages based on his combined earnings at both jobs. The employer disagreed with this motion and it was sent tot the Industrial Commission for a hearing. After listening to Sam’s attorney’s argument, the district hearing officer, citing “special circumstances,” granted Sam’s motion and reset his AWW at $417.05 and FWW at $457.36, based on income from both jobs.
What is the AWW based on?
The AWW is the basis upon which an injured worker’s benefits are computed. They should approximate the average amount that the worker would have received had he continued working after the injury. The AWW is typically based on the employee’s earnings for the year prior to injury divided by 52 weeks. This formula can, however, be abandoned if there are “special circumstances” under which the average weekly wage cannot justly be determined by applying that formula. When this occurs, the administrator of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation uses a method which enables them to do “substantial justice to the claimant.”
Sam’s additional employment at the pest control company was a special circumstance that warranted inclusion of those earnings in the aggregate wage for the year preceding his injury. There are multiple other “special circumstances.” If you believe your situation may be one of these, then you should contact an attorney to discuss this matter.
The son of a Youngstown steelworker who worked himself in steel mills as a young man, Joseph A. Moro is acutely aware of the challenges that working people face and the dire impacts that injuries and impairments can have on them and their families. After he earned his undergraduate degree from Youngstown State University and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Joseph has largely dedicated his practice to handling workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. He is a fluent Spanish speaker who is certified as a Workers’ Compensation Specialist by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) as well as a certified Veterans Affairs Representative. He currently serves as the OAJ Regional Representative for Youngstown-Warren and on the OSBA Workers’ Compensation Specialty Board.