One of the biggest factors in determining what your case is worth is how much is your average weekly wage. The easiest scenario is when someone is paid a salary on the job. Typically you’d take their salary and any bonuses and divide by 52.
Under Illinois work comp law, average weekly wage is determined by looking at the last 52 weeks you’ve worked and dividing the actual weeks worked by your wages. So if you started a job 20 weeks ago and get hurt today, if during that 20 weeks you made $10,000.00, we’d divide that amount by 20 and your average weekly wage would be $500.00.
It is a bit different for teachers. Many teaches only work 40 weeks, but get paid over 52 weeks. So some insurance companies have tried to pay teachers work comp based on a 52 week work period.There was a case decided a while ago that shows this is not how it legally works.
Under Illinois law, not matter how spread out the teacher pay is, unless you are working for the school in the summer, your average weekly wage for workers’ compensation purposes should be based on the weeks you were in school.
So if your annual salary is $60,000 and you are working 40 of those weeks, your average weekly wage is $1,500.00. You don’t get punished for being out of school during the summer or on winter break, spring break, etc.
In fact, if your lawyer is doing a really thorough job, they’d look at all of the holidays you are given off and reduce your weeks work as much as possible. As long as it’s the truth it’s how you should be paid.
Bottom line is that you shouldn’t take the insurance company’s word on this stuff. They are motivated to make your wage as low as possible, we just want the truth. Being paid over a whole year means nothing if you aren’t working during that time.
Bonus tip. I heard from one teacher that they were told that their union negotiated away their rights to claim less than a 52 week period for work injuries. That is not legal and even if it was somehow in the union agreement, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act does not allow you to negotiate away your rights.
We’ve helped a ton of teachers and would be happy to help you. We cover all of Illinois. Contact us any time for a free consultation.