During the course of my career I’ve heard many of Claimant attorneys argue that their client’s future bonus or potential eligibility for health insurance must be included in the average weekly wage (AWW) calculation.  Many times I counter, “no it does not.”  Case law states otherwise and now the First DCA confirms that rule.


The First DCA brings us a pair of opinions that further support the notion that the Court sees little to no difference between illegal aliens and naturalized citizens.  While in Fact Track Framing v. Caraballo, they opened a door to the possibility of shutting down illegal aliens claims by holding that a Claimant who does not report his income to the Internal Revenue Service has an AWW of $0.00, the Court now clarifies its position and offer illegal aliens a solution.


For those adjusting new claims for 2010, the Department of Financial Services announced a new max comp rate for the year: $772.00.

You can read the bulletin here.

This past Friday, the Department of Financial Services just announced the new maximum compensation rate for 2009.

Beginning on January 1, 2009, the maximum compensation rate for the year will be $765.00.

You can review the DFS bulletin here.

Wow.  This newest First DCA decision is a doozy, one that alot of us on the defense side have argued-to no avail-for a long time.  That is until now. 

In Fast Track Framing v. Marando Homes, the Court found that if a Claimant is paid cash under the table, and does not report those wages to the IRS as taxable income, the money will not be counted as “wages” and therefore cannot be calculated in Claimant’s average weekly wage (AWW).  The AWW is used to determine how much Claimant is paid in wage loss benefits when she is taken off work.   So, if a Claimant is earning unreported cash, then his AWW is $0.00.