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If you are a contractor who has been injured on the job while working overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Syria or on any military base across the world, your case is covered by the Defense Base Act which is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. At the Law Offices of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A., our qualified defense base act lawyers have a combination of over 43 years of experience in representing injured workers covered by the Defense Base Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Let us put our years of experience and our reputation to work for you today! Contact us today at mail@gmpcomplaw.com, or go on our website at www.dbalawyers.com and fill out our form on the contact us page, or call us at 305 595 3350.
Our expierenced Defense Base Act Lawyers are here to help you with any questions you have regarding your DBA case. Here are some very interesting facts and case summaries regarding Average Weekly Wage (AWW) in a DBA or Longshore case coming directly from the Judge’s Benchbook from the Office of Administrative Law Judges. Let our experienced Defense Base Act Attorneys answer your questions. The Judge’s Benchbook is a searchable website which is a public record. According to the Judge’s Benchbook:
Section 10 sets forth three alternative methods for determining a claimant’s average annual earnings, which are then divided by 52, pursuant to Section 10(d), to arrive at an average weekly wage. The computation methods are directed towards establishing a claimant’s earning power at the time of injury. Johnson v. Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., 25 BRBS 340 (1992); Lobus v. I.T.O. Corp. of Baltimore, 24 BRBS 137 (1990); Orkney v. General Dynamics Corp., 8 BRBS 543 (1978); Barber v. Tri-State Terminals, 3 BRBS 244 (1976), aff’d sub nom. Tri-State Terminals v. Jesse, 596 F.2d 752, 10 BRBS 700 (7th Cir. 1979).
Sections 10(a) and 10(b) are the statutory provisions relevant to a determination of an employee’s average annual wages where an injured employee’s work is regular and continuous. The computation of average annual earnings must be made pursuant to subsection (c) if subsections (a) or (b) cannot be reasonably and fairly applied. Nonetheless, note that in practical application the most commonly applied computation of average weekly wages involves dividing all the payroll earnings received during the year preceding the injury by 52. Robert Babcock, Compensation – Section 10, The Longshore Textbook 42 (D. Cisek ed., 1991).
A percentage of the employee’s average weekly wage is the claimant’s compensation rate, subject to the maximum and minimum compensation rates established under Section 6. See, e.g., Empire United Stevedores v. Gatlin, 936 F.2d 819, 25 BRBS 26 (CRT) (5th Cir. 1991); Duncanson-Harrelson Co. v. Director, OWCP, 686 F.2d 1336 (9th Cir. 1982), vacated in part on other grounds, 462 U.S. 1101 (1983); Turney v. Bethlehem Steel Corp., 17 BRBS 232 (1985).
There is only one average weekly wage upon which payments of compensation for a single injury may be based, whether the disability for which compensation is payable is characterized as temporary or permanent, partial or total. James v. Sol Salins, Inc., 13 BRBS 762 (1981) (reversing separate average weekly wage findings for temporary total and permanent partial disability). See Thompson v. Northwest Enviro Servs., 26 BRBS 53 (1992); Merrill v. Todd Pac. Shipyards Corp., 25 BRBS 140, 150 (1991).
The average weekly wage should not be reduced by the effective income tax rate. Denton v. Northrop Corp., 21 BRBS 37, 47 (1988); see 26 U.S.C. § 104 (a)(1) (personal injury awards are excluded from gross income for federal personal income tax purposes).
e also Bullock v. Ingalls Shipbuilding, Inc., 28 BRBS 102, 103 (1994); Tanner v. Ingalls Shipbuilding, Inc., 2 F.3d 143 (5th Cir. 1993).
If you have a question about Average Weekly Wage (AWW) or any other question in your DBA or Longshore case, contact our qualified defense base act attorneys today at mail@gmpcomplaw.com, or go on our website at www.dbalawyers.com and fill out our form on the contact us page, or call us at 305 595 3350.

Clifford R. Mermell, Esq.
Clifford R. Mermell, Esq., created the law firm of Gillis, Mermell & Pacheco, P.A. on March 1, 1996. Mr. Mermell has been the senior and managing partner of the firm since its creation. The firm was created to champion the rights of injured workers nationwide. It represents cases under the Worker's Compensation, Wrongful Termination, Personal Injury, Admiralty and Maritime, Defense Base Act, and Longshore & Harbor Worker's Compensation Act Laws.

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