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Domer Law Firm Named A Tier 1 Law Firm For Workers’ Compensation Law-Claimants By U.S.News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”

Tom and Charlie Domer have received another honor based on their advocacy for injured workers. Domer Law has been named a Tier 1 law firm in Milwaukee for Workers’ Compensation Law-Claimants by U.S.News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” in 2014.

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Both Tom and Charlie Domer have been recognized as “Best Lawyers” in The Best Lawyers in America© list.

Domer Law continually strives to maximize benefits and protect the rights of injured workers.

Domer Law Listed In Best Law Firms by U.S. News-Best Lawyers®

Domer Law was recently listed in Best Law Firms by U.S. News-Best Lawyers®

Domer Law was recently listed in the 2013 Best Law Firms by U.S. News-Best Lawyers®.  The firm was listed in the top tier (Tier 1) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Workers’ Compensation Law – Claimants.  According to U.S.News – Best Lawyers® , the “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. 

Both Tom Domer and Charlie Domer are listed in Best Lawyers for their continual advocacy for injured workers.  At Domer Law, we are honored by this recognition, and we will continue to fight daily for the rights of Wisconsin’s injured workers.

Overtime Counts Towards Workers’ Compensation Awards

Workers who regularly work overtime get their time-and-a-half rates figured in the computation for disability benefits.

An Oregon Court of Appeals recently ruled that a claimant’s regular work includes overtime for purposes of determining worker’s compensation benefits.  For Wisconsin workers, this issue was settled decades ago.  Regularly scheduled overtime counts towards calculating the employee’s average weekly wage, which is the basis for payment of workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers in Wisconsin are entitled to two-thirds of their gross average weekly wage before taxes.  All workers’ compensation benefits are tax free.  The idea of paying two-thirds was to reflect most workers’ average take home pay, so they would suffer no significant wage loss during a period of injury.

 

Computation for Wisconsin Workers’ Benefits

For Wisconsin workers, the average weekly wage is the higher of the employee’s hourly wage multiplied by the hours regularly scheduled to work at the time of injury or, the actual gross earnings during the 52 week period before the injury divided by the number of weeks worked during that period.  The higher value is the employee’s average weekly wage for benefit calculation purposes.

When an employee is injured, the employer routinely submits a WKC-12 report to the worker’s compensation insurance company, which specifically declares the   injured worker’s average weekly wage. I often see reports that omit overtime from the calculation.

 

Worker’s Regular Schedule

Computation for injury benefits should be based on a worker’s regular schedule. A regular schedule refers to the typical work schedule designed by the employer for employees doing the injured worker’s type of work  for at least a 90-day period prior to the date of the injury.  This means that overtime hours may or may not be part of the regular schedule.

If the injured worker was regularly scheduled to work overtime hours (with the corresponding premium pay – usually at time and a half) for at least a 90 day period prior to the injury, then the hourly rate including the overtime premium pay, must be used to calculate the average weekly wage.

For example, if an employee has an hourly rate of $10, then his workers’ compensation benefits should be computed based on a $400 average weekly wage. However, if the same employee has a regularly scheduled 45-hour work week at least 90 days before he incurred his injury, then he has an average weekly wage of $475.00 (earning $10 per hour plus time and a half after 40 hours= $10 x 40 plus $10 x 15). This amount, not the $400 basic wage, should be used to compute for his benefits, thus yielding an additional $50 per week in Temporary Total Disability benefits.

Additional items of value are also included as part of the average weekly wage.  Specifically, these include incentive pay, shift premium pay, tips, profit sharing, and bonuses.  Additional things of value include employer-paid room and board, free meals, rent remission, and housing or apartment costs including utilities.  Unfortunately for Wisconsin workers, fringe benefits like employer-paid health insurance and employer contributions to 401(k) investment plans are not part of the average weekly wage calculation (Theuer v. LIRC 2001, Wi 26).

 

 

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