Workers Comp Wage Statements Should Be Reviewed For Accuracy

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Workers Comp Wage Statements – Adjuster Reviews Saves Later Headaches 

One of the most reviled forms in the claims process is the workers comp wage statement.   Many states require very complex forms to be filed by the claims departments.  Employers usually like them even less.   The term “necessary evil” comes to mind on what can be a large task. 

An article on the definition of wage statements can be found here. 

Then again, in many of the files, I have reviewed, the workers comp wage statements were never reviewed or questioned by the claims staff.  The state will process whatever is sent to them.  

Once a wage statement has been calculated by the state’s workers comp commission, changing it becomes very difficult.  The workers comp commissioner or judge may sometimes increase the wage if the injured employee questions the figures.   

Let us look at an example of one of the more complex wage statements.  This one is from the state of North Carolina – a Form 22 – Statement of Days Worked and Earnings of Employee.   The total blanks to fill in approach 400 in number.  Some state’s wage statements are much simpler.   

I am not picking on our HQ state.   Below the North Carolina wage statement is one from New Hampshire.  The form is not as involved to complete.  

To find your respective state’s wage statement, Google “your state’s” workers compensation wage statement form.   You may have to look further down the page to find it.  Please click on the example below to see larger images. 

picture of North Carolina Workers Comp Wage Statementspicture of new hampshire workers comp wage statements

 

Workers Comp Wage Statement Nightmares

Why am I covering this boring topic?  Over the last few months, the situations that I have seen pop up several times involve the employer not completing the wage statement or an inaccurate statement was filed and accepted by the state. 

 Two examples:

  • The employer did not complete the wage statement before the case went to a hearing on many subjects including a wage rate.   The employee was earning $400 a week according to the First Report of Injury.   The judge ruled as no wage statement was filed, he was assigning the state’s maximum rate.   What was a $4oo a week rate became $1,250 with an associated comp rate of $833.38.   Wow!
  • The employer completed the wage statement incorrectly.   An obvious mistake was made.  The very busy adjuster filed the wage statement without doing a cursory review.  What should have been a $225 per week compensation rate turned out to be $415.   The employee was declared to be permanent total with lifetime benefits.   There was no way to change the overpayment rate of $190 per week for lifetime benefits. 

Bottom Line – A Workers Comp wage statement may be a pain to complete and review.  Doing both of those tasks will result in the employee being paid fairly and timely.  Ignoring the wage statement’s importance can be very costly.

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James Moore

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Mgmt Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications

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