What Is the Right Way to Calculate Average Weekly Earnings of An Injured Worker ?

In Cook v. Industrial Comm'n, 231 Ill. App. 3d 729, 596 N.E.2d 746, 173 Ill. Dec. 122 (1992), claimant worked at least 1 day per week in 24 of the 52 weeks prior to his injury. During that period, claimant worked only 3 full, 40-hour weeks. The majority of weeks claimant worked less than 5 full days and less than 40 hours per week. The Commission utilized the "total-weeks-worked formula," dividing claimant's total earnings for the previous 52-week period by 24, the number of weeks in which claimant actually worked. On appeal, claimant essentially argued that the "full-weeks-worked formula" was the appropriate manner in which to calculate his average weekly earnings. The Court found that claimant failed to provide the Commission with any "other documentary evidence or sworn testimony" relating to claimant's wages and noted the deferential standard accorded to the Commission's factual determination of average weekly wage. Cook, 231 Ill. App. 3d at 731, 596 N.E.2d at 747-48. The Court concluded that "the only recourse to the Commission, based strictly upon the evidence before it, was to divide claimant's total wages by the number of weeks claimant worked, as reflected in the evidence." Cook, 231 Ill. App. 3d at 731-32, 596 N.E.2d at 748.