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What is Income Reconstruction in a New Jersey Workers Compensation Case?

Income reconstruction usually happens in cases where an employee works part-time, and does not work the same number of hours every week. 

This allows the employee to receive fair compensation for lost wages.

Examples of Income Reconstruction

For example, if you work an average of $20 a week at $20 an hour, then your average weekly wage should be computed at $400…not the $200 you would have made on the off week where the employer only had ten hours of work for you. 

Income reconstruction may also be used in cases where the employee usually works full time, but is sometimes part time due to business demand. This often happens in the construction industry, wherein the employee might be very busy during the warmer months but have a shorter work week during the winter months. The judge might opt to use the normal 40 hour workweek for that employee’s wages instead. 

Reconstruction can also be used in cases where the employee works a great deal of overtime. If it’s common for the employee to work 50 or 60 hours a week in a nonexempt position then the courts would look at the normal income and hours for that employee. 

How many weeks should be used to reconstruct income?

Usually claims adjusters use 26 weeks worth of wage statements to compute the wage. This is a six-month lookback. The adjuster will take the average of your weekly hours to determine your usual wage. 

What if you also had a full time job?

Sadly, current case law does not suggest that you may always be compensated both for the wage reconstruction on your part time job ad your full time job. In Katsoris v. South Jersey Pub Co. the petitioner had two jobs: a full-time job as a secretary and a part time job as a newspaper delivery person. She was injured on her newspaper route. 

She was only awarded wages based upon her average weekly wage with the newspaper company.

Yet if you’d lost the capacity to work the full time job as well as the part time job, you might well receive reconstruction. Katsoris was able to get back to her job as a secretary, but not her job as a newspaper delivery person. Had she been unable to work both jobs, it would have made sense to assess her damages differently. 

Workers Compensation is Complicated

It’s not always easy to know what is fair, reasonable, or possible in a worker’s compensation case. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Reach out to Talone Law to schedule a case evaluation. We’ll help ensure that your income is assessed correctly.

See also:

Does My Employer Have to Include Overtime in My NJ Workers Compensation Settlement

When Does Workers Comp Start Paying in NJ? 

Collecting NJ Workers Compensation When You Work Two Jobs

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The Law Office Of Albert J. Talone is committed to providing for those with Workers Compensation cases throughout New Jersey.
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