By The Bainbridge Firm, LLC posted in Workers’ Compensation on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.of
By Jacob Brandt of The Bainbridge Firm, LLC posted in Workers’ Compensation on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.
Despite the simplicity of the AWW calculation, issues often arise when an injured worker is entitled to compensation not as the result of a specific workplace accident but rather the development of an occupational disease. Often, when an injured worker is diagnosed with an occupational disease they have already left the workforce and have no record of wages being earned in the fifty-two weeks prior to their diagnosis. In such cases, Ohio case law has provided an alternative calculation that accounts for instances where an injured worker has an occupational disease and has not worked for some time.
In Preston v. Peabody Coal Co., the Ohio Supreme Court concluded that the “disability due to occupational disease begins” on the day after the last day of work, rather than the date on which the claimant was found to have been totally disabled. Preston v. Peabody Coal Co., 12 Ohio St.3d 72, 465 N.E.2d 433 (1984). What this means is that in cases where an injured worker has become disable, and therefore entitled to compensation, as a result of an occupational disease, the last day worked is the starting point for the AWW calculation.
So assume that an injured worker spent his entire career working in a factory that exposed him to silica dust. Lets say that that this individual stopped working for that employer in 2000 and retired. Then in 2016 that individual was determined to suffer an occupational disease as a result of that exposure to silica dust while working in the factory and filed a compensable claim. To determine that injured workers’ AWW, the Industrial Commission of Ohio would go back to 2000 and use the wages earned prior his retirement to calculate that person’s AWW. They would not use the wages from the fifty-two weeks just before the diagnosis in 2016.
AWW is an extremely important figure in the workers’ compensation system as it sets the baseline for compensation paid out in a claim. Therefore it is very important to ensure that the AWW calculation is proper and does substantial justice to the injured worker. If you feel as though you have not received an AWW that truly represents the wages you earned prior to a workplace injury, don’t hesitate to contact the Bainbridge Firm so that we may help you obtain a proper calculation. We want to do everything we can to help you obtain all the compensation you deserve.
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