What are “Wages” for purposes of a Workers’ Compensation Claim and why does it matter?
Miss. Code Ann. § 71-3-3 (k) states that “Wages” includes the money rate at which the service rendered is recompensed under the contract of hiring in force at the time of injury, and also the reasonable value of board, rent, housing, lodging or similar advantage received from the employer and gratuities received in the course of employment from others than the employer. The term “wages” shall not include practical training received by students of an educational institution as a part of such educational institution’s curriculum.
So why does this matter? Every compensation benefit whether it be temporary or permanent or total or partial all relies on starting with the “Average Weekly Wage.” Often times this starting number is calculated by an insurance adjuster with no verification by someone educated on behalf of the injured worker. Mistakes can be made. For instance, they may forget to include bonuses, mileage, lodging value, or other items that should be included in that starting number. And of course, the lower the starting number, the less the insurance company has to pay. So it is important that an injured worker has an attorney to this calculation to make sure they started with the right number and are getting the right amount.
Rogen K. Chhabra