Weekly Wage (AWW)
Your Average Weekly Wage is calculated by averaging your gross wages (before taxes) over the 26 weeks prior to your injury. You should ask for a copy of the Form 25 which lists your 26 weeks of wages to ensure it is correct. The Form 25 lists a lot of the rules for determining the AWW. Some of those rules are:
- Each week of work must be listed separately so you can see how many hours were worked each week.
- Any week where you worked less than half the week should not be included.
- The week that you were hurt should also not be included.
- Overtime and bonuses must be included.
The AWW is then used to determine your Weekly Compensation Rate (“WCR”). Your WCR is 2/3 of your AWW. The amount of the Weekly Benefit (TTD) is the WCR plus $10 for each dependent (dependent is defined in 21 VSA 601.) For most people, the WCR is equal to their after-tax wages.
Every year on July 1st your Weekly Benefit should be increased by a Cost of Living Adjustment which is published by the Vermont Department of Labor. The insurance company must file a Form 28 showing the increase as of July 1st every year.
Medical End Result is also called Maximum Medical Improvement or Medical End Point. This means your condition is stable and there is no further treatment which will improve your condition. This is a determination that must be made by a doctor.
After you reach medical end you can still get treatment for pain, or to help you remain functional (called “palliative care”). Such palliative care includes: medications, chiropractic care, acupuncture, or physical therapy.
Once you are at medical end result the insurance company can file a Form 27 with the Vermont Department of Labor to terminate your Weekly Benefits.
This is also the point at which the assessment of permanency is done for Permanency Benefits.
If an insurance company doctor says you are at Medical End Point, and your treating doctor disagrees, you need to get something in writing from your treating doctor and file it with the VT Department of Labor.
Faith Job Search
If you have been cleared to return to work by a doctor, whether full duty with restrictions, or part-time, you will be required to perform a good-faith job search to remain entitled to Weekly Benefits (TTD).
When you are doing a job search, you must be able to prove that you are unable to get a job because of your injury. If you are unable to find a job for some other reason (like no one is hiring), you may not be entitled to continue the weekly wage replacement benefits. The insurance company must file a Form 27 with the Department of Labor to terminate your weekly benefits for failure to conduct a good faith job search. If your benefits have been terminated, you should call a lawyer.
The insurance company should provide you with forms to be filled out weekly documenting your job search activities. It is extremely important that you provide as much information as possible – the number you called, the name of the person you spoke to, the results of the contact, etc. These forms must be submitted to the insurance company weekly for you to continue to receive your weekly benefits.
Call Our Rutland, VT Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been seriously injured, our Rutland, VT personal injury law firm is here to provide you support, guidance, and representation as you seek damages. Please call us today for a free consultation. We can begin working on your case immediately.