Before you get rated for impairment at the end of your claim, you want to make sure that the award offered will be based on the right average monthly wage (AMW). Your AMW is one of the three factors that the insurer must use in determining how much money your percentage of impairment will be for you. The third factor is your age.
Your average monthly wage is calculated a number of ways, all of which use a period of earnings before the date of your Nevada work accident. Any days you were unemployed or took leave without pay will work against you and will decrease your AMW. Any unemployment benefits you received during that period will not be added in to boost your earnings.
If you have a workers’ comp claim and think that the insurer is using an average monthly wage figure that is too low, you can ask your adjuster for a copy of the wage verification form the employer gave the adjuster. That form should show your earnings for 84 days just before you were hurt. (There are other rules applicable if you didn’t work 84 days before you were hurt.) If you see that there is a period where you had no earnings, you may qualify to have days without income excluded. Ask your employer or your adjuster to help document why you had no earnings if you don’t remember the reason.
The law now allows an injured worker to question how the adjuster calculated average monthly wage so long as the claim is still open and the worker hasn’t accepted a final PPD award yet. NRS 616C.427 is a recent law, added in 2009, and some adjusters aren’t aware of it. If an adjuster tells you that you failed to file an appeal within 70 days from the date the adjuster first sent a letter with your established average monthly wage calculation, you may nonetheless still have time to question the AMW calculation.
An injured worker may also request that a one year earning history be used if that would result in a higher average monthly wage than the usual 84-day earnings history. The regulations that the adjuster must follow in calculating average monthly wage are at NAC 616C.420- 616C.447.