Our Ohio Workers' Compensation Lawyer Explains How Prior Year Wages Are a Factor for Your Claim

If you were injured on the job in Ohio, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to provide financial support and cover medical expenses while you recover from your work-related injury or illness. However, your compensation is directly tied to your prior year's wages, making them a crucial factor in your claim. As an Ohio workers' compensation lawyer, my team and I can determine how your prior year's wages impact your claim.

5 Reasons Why Prior Year Wages Are Important for Workers' Comp Claims

Your prior year's wages aren't just a formality—they're a critical factor that significantly affects the outcome of your claim. By understanding the importance of this information and taking steps to provide correct and complete wage records, you increase the chances of receiving the maximum compensation available to you. Here's how the process works.

1. Calculation of Benefits

This evaluation directly affects the amount of benefits you'll receive. In Ohio, your average weekly wage is the foundation for determining your compensation. This figure is derived by examining your earnings from all jobs and self-employment for the 52 weeks immediately preceding your work-related injury or illness. Periods of unemployment beyond your control should be excluded to provide a more accurate average for the weeks you worked.

This average weekly wage is then used as the basis for the temporary total disability (TTD) benefits you'll receive while off work recovering. TTD benefits are typically two-thirds of your average weekly wage, with a maximum amount set by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) each year.

2. Determining Earning Capacity

Your prior year's wages are also used to assess how your injury impairs your future earning capacity. This is important when you've suffered a permanent disability or impairment that impacts your functional capabilities, prevents you from returning to your previous job, or earning the same level of income.

To estimate future earning capacity, the BWC considers your prior year's wages and other factors such as your age, education, and transferable skills. This information is then used to calculate your entitlement to permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD) benefits.

3. Preventing Fraud

By closely examining your prior year's wages, the BWC helps thwart fraudulent claims or attempts to manipulate the workers' comp system. If your reported wages for the previous year seem inconsistent or unrealistically low, it could raise red flags and prompt further investigation.

The BWC has measures in place to verify your wages and ensure the information given is correct. This helps maintain the integrity of the workers' compensation system and ensures benefits are distributed fairly.

4. Fairness and Equity

Using prior year wages to calculate benefits helps maintain fairness and equity within the workers' compensation system. By basing the benefits on your actual earnings rather than a fixed amount, the system accounts for differences in income levels and earning potential across various industries and occupations.

This approach not only allows workers with higher wages to receive proportionally higher benefits but also assures those with lower wages still receive a reasonable level of compensation based on their earnings.

5. Adhering to Legal Standards

In Ohio, workers' compensation benefits are calculated according to state laws and regulations. These laws specifically require the use of prior year wages to determine the benefits an injured or ill worker is entitled to.

Providing Accurate Information 

If you're planning on filing a workers' compensation claim in Ohio, gathering and providing accurate information regarding your prior year's wages is essential. Since the workers' compensation process can be complex, with various legal requirements and deadlines to meet all while you're trying to recover and think about what the future holds for you, consulting with the experienced workers' compensation legal team at the Monast Law Office provides peace of mind. We work hard to protect your rights and provide the guidance you need to receive the full benefits you're entitled to based on the specific circumstances of your case.



James Monast
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Board-Certified Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Columbus, Ohio