How to Calculate Workers Comp Wages in North Carolina

When we first meet with new clients, they’re usually upset when they learn how much they’ll receive under workers compensation. Most employees assume that they’ll receive the same amount through workers comp that they made before they got hurt. The truth is that you don’t make nearly the same amount of money on workers comp wages as you do while you’re working full-time. Instead, you’ll be entitled to just 2/3 of your average weekly wages. 

Some of our clients aren’t sure how to calculate their weekly average workers comp wages. This is usually something our workers compensation attorneys in North Carolina cover during your free, initial consultation.

Here, we will discuss what benefits you’re entitled to under workers compensation in North Carolina. We will also explain how your average weekly workers comp wages are calculated. Finally, we’ll talk about what your workers compensation attorney in North Carolina can do if your average weekly wages are calculated incorrectly.

If you still have questions about your workers comp wages, feel free to contact our office directly. You can always schedule your free, initial consultation over the phone or through our website.

What Benefits Do You Receive Under Workers Compensation?

If your workers compensation claim is approved, you’ll be entitled to certain benefits. The first type of benefit you’ll receive is medical coverage for any treatment you need related to your injuries. The second type of benefits you’ll receive are weekly workers comp wages while you are out of work. The third type of benefit is career rehabilitation in case you’re not able to do the same kind of work that you did before your workplace accident.

When it comes to medical coverage, it’s rather self-explanatory. As long as the medical care is related to your workplace accident, it will be covered by your employer’s workers compensation insurance carrier. This includes such things as hospitalization, surgeries, and prescription medications. 

As for career rehabilitation, most of our clients don’t need this. Ideally, you’ll be able to return to work as soon as you’re fully recovered. In the rare case that you end up permanently disabled, your employer will have to offer you vocational training so you can find a new position. It is a matter of replacement or workers comp wages that usually concerns our clients the most.

Your Employer Will Need to Calculate Your Average Weekly Workers Comp Wages

In order to pay your weekly workers comp wages, your employer needs to calculate your average weekly rate. Most states determine your average weekly rate the same way. In North Carolina, your employer will look at your past 52 weeks of employment and take an average of those 52 weeks. 

If you have not worked for your company for a whole year, then your employer will take your average weekly wages from the weeks that you did work there. If you’ve only worked there for a couple of months, your employer may need to take the average weekly wages of another employee in the same position as you.

Since you only receive 2/3 of your average weekly wages while on workers comp wages, it’s important that your average weekly rate is as high as possible. Regardless of what you earn, the most you can receive in weekly benefits is $1,102. This means that if you make more than about $1,600, you will not receive a full 2/3. 

For example, if you typically earn $2000 per week, 2/3 of that amount would be $1,332. However, since the weekly maximum benefit rate is only $1,102, that is what you will receive.

workers comp attorneys in North Carolina

In order to ensure that you get the best possible rate, your workers compensation attorney in North Carolina will check to make sure your employer calculated your workers comp wages properly. If they are incorrect, they will reach out to your employer to have it adjusted. If they refuse to do so, your personal injury attorney in North Carolina will simply contact the state’s workers compensation commission. 

Your Attorney Can Help if Your Workers Comp Wages Are Calculated Incorrectly

In North Carolina, any income you received prior to your workplace accident will be considered for benefits purposes. This means that when your employer calculates your average weekly workers comp wages, they must include the following things:

  • wages or salary
  • bonuses 
  • commission
  • additional expenses such as travel, uniforms, or supplies

The reason that the workers compensation law allows you to include all types of income is because the government understands how difficult it is to survive on just 2/3 of what you normally make. In order to calculate your benefits amount, your employer will take 2/3 of your gross pay. We try to explain this to our clients when they tell us how angry they are that they’re only receiving 2/3 of their average weekly wages. Since your workers comp wages are not taxed, you may end up bringing home as much as you made while working full time.

How Long Do You Receive Benefits?

Another question we usually hear from new clients is how long they’ll receive workers comp wages and benefits for. North Carolina happens to offer benefits longer than almost any other state. In North Carolina, you can collect workers compensation benefits for a period of 500 weeks. This comes out to be between nine and ten years’ worth of benefits. 

To put this in perspective, if you lived in the state of Florida, you would only receive workers comp wages for 104 weeks, or two years. North Carolina is much more generous when it comes to workers compensation benefits.

Call and Speak with One of Our Personal Injury Attorneys in North Carolina

If you have recently suffered an injury at work and are confused about how workers comp wages work, give us a call. You are more than welcome to take advantage of a free, initial consultation. We understand that many of our clients would like to sit down with one of our personal injury attorneys in North Carolina before they make any final decisions. 

We also like to meet with a client before we decide whether we want to handle their case. If we believe your case has merit, we will offer to represent you and get started on your case right away. Since your initial consultation is free, and you don’t pay our firm anything until we settle your case, you have nothing to lose.