Workers’ compensation benefits tied to wage amount

The historical roots of the Workers' Compensation law in Pennsylvania go back to 1915, when humanitarian concerns in Pennsylvanian and around the country led to the passing of laws establishing the no-fault system. Workers were suffering more severe injuries during the rise of industrialism, and they had little or no resources to sue their employers for workplace injuries.

A tradeoff was made in the law between the employer and employee—if a worker is injured, the employer will pay benefits without regard to the fault or negligence of the employee. However, those benefits are the only remedy available to the worker—the employer is relieved from being sued, and the worker's workplace injuries are taken care of more quickly. The remedy starts with a snapshot of the worker's pre-injury earnings history to project his or her future wage loss, the "average weekly wage."

Average weekly wage exclusions

The calculation made to determine how much a worker will receive to replace his or her wages during the time off work is a frequent issue in workers' compensation cases. The formulas for calculating the "average weekly wage" can be quite complex when different sources of income are considered to be wages or not. For the employee, the higher the average weekly wage, the higher the weekly benefit amount received, so there is an interest to include all possible income in calculations.

Consult an attorney

Even if an employer is cooperative in a situation where a worker is injured on the job, the law is too complex to go it alone. An experienced and diligent workers' compensation attorney can make sure you receive the correct amount of benefits if you are injured at work.