How Working Two Jobs Can Affect a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Times are tough. Shorter hours. Lower wages. Higher bills. Many people must work more than one job to make ends meet. What some people do not know, and what many employers do not want their employees to know, is that if a person is injured while working at one of their multiple jobs, that person can receive compensation for the lost wages from all of their jobs. It does not matter if the employee was injured at their full-time job or part-time job. Using the income from both jobs will result in an increase in the benefits that can be recovered in a workers’ compensation case.
The injured worker has to prove three factors in order to recover benefits using the income from both jobs. First, they have to establish that they had the second (or third) job. This could be done with pay stubs, W2’s, etc. Second, they have to show that the employer where the worker was injured had knowledge of the employee’s second job. Finally, they have to show that the employer did not object to the employee having a second job. If these three factors can be shown, the income from multiple jobs can be used when determining the employee’s average weekly wage (hereafter, “AWW”).
The AWW is important because it forms the basis for two of the benefits that an injured employee receives. First, the temporary disability benefits that the employee receives are equivalent to 2/3 of the employee’s AWW, tax-free. So, for example, someone who made $600.00 per week before taxes would be entitled to $400.00 per week while they are temporarily off work. Second, the lump sum settlement or trial award that an injured worker is entitled to is based off of the employee’s AWW. An employee with an arm injury may be entitled to 20% loss of use of the arm. This is equivalent to 50.6 weeks of benefits. The amount used for the formula is 60% of the employee’s AWW. Using the example above, an employee who was making $600.00 per week who was awarded 20% loss of use of the arm would receive 50.6 weeks x ($600.00 x 60%), which is $18,216.00.
If a person has a higher wage, the benefits that they receive will be at a higher rate, even if the injury is similar to someone with a lower wage. A person who has two jobs can recover benefits using an AWW that takes both jobs into account. Let’s assume that the person above who was making $600.00 a week has a second job where they make $400.00 a week. Let’s further assume that this person suffers an injury and their treating doctor states that they need to be off work completely for a period of time. This restriction would apply to not only the job where the employee was injured but also the second job that the employee worked.
The workers’ compensation attorney for this person would want to gather wage information on both jobs to demonstrate the employee’s AWW. This employee would now be entitled to $666.66 per week for the time missed from work. This is equivalent to 2/3 of the $1,000.00 AWW. The lump sum settlement amount for this person would also increase. The award of 20% loss of use of the arm would now increase from $18,216.00 to $30,360.00. The formula would now be 50.6 weeks x ($1,000.00 x 60%).
Again, it is important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney when faced with a work injury. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier may not be aware of a person’s second job and the affect that the injury has on completing that work. Also, the carrier may attempt to pay benefits to a person using only the wages from the employer where the individual was injured. As you can see from the example above, this can result in a significant decrease in the benefits that the injured worker recovers.
Written By: Daniel Klosowski, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer