February 28, 2003





HOUSE BILL No. 1241

_____


DIGEST OF HB 1241 (Updated February 27, 2003 10:03 AM - DI 51)



Citations Affected: IC 22-3.

Synopsis: Average weekly wage for worker's compensation. Modifies the average weekly wage for an employee who sustains a compensable injury or occupational disease after June 30, 2003, when the employee has returned to work after a prior period of disability.

Effective: July 1, 2003.





Kuzman, Liggett , Pflum




    January 13, 2003, read first time and referred to Committee on Labor and Employment.
    February 17, 2003, amended, reported _ Do Pass. Recommitted to Committee on Ways and Means.
    February 27, 2003, reported _ Do Pass.






February 28, 2003

First Regular Session 113th General Assembly (2003)


PRINTING CODE. Amendments: Whenever an existing statute (or a section of the Indiana Constitution) is being amended, the text of the existing provision will appear in this style type, additions will appear in this style type, and deletions will appear in this style type.
Additions: Whenever a new statutory provision is being enacted (or a new constitutional provision adopted), the text of the new provision will appear in this style type. Also, the word NEW will appear in that style type in the introductory clause of each SECTION that adds a new provision to the Indiana Code or the Indiana Constitution.
Conflict reconciliation: Text in a statute in this style type or this style type reconciles conflicts between statutes enacted by the 2002 Regular or Special Session of the General Assembly.

HOUSE BILL No. 1241



    A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning labor and industrial safety.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SOURCE: IC 22-3-3-8; (03)HB1241.2.1. -->     SECTION 1. IC 22-3-3-8 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 8. With respect to injuries occurring prior to April 1, 1951, causing temporary total disability for work, there shall be paid to the injured employee during such total disability for work a weekly compensation equal to fifty-five percent (55%) of his the injured employee's average weekly wages for a period not to exceed five hundred (500) weeks. With respect to injuries occurring on and after April 1, 1951, and prior to July 1, 1971, causing temporary total disability for work, there shall be paid to the injured employee during such total disability a weekly compensation equal to sixty percent (60%) of his the injured employee's average weekly wages for a period not to exceed five hundred (500) weeks. With respect to injuries occurring on and after July 1, 1971, and prior to July 1, 1974, causing temporary total disability for work, there shall be paid to the injured employee during such total disability a weekly compensation equal to sixty percent (60%) of his the injured employee's average weekly wages, as defined in IC 22-3-3-22 section 22 of this chapter,

a period not to exceed five hundred (500) weeks. With respect to injuries occurring on and after July 1, 1974, and before July 1, 1976, causing temporary total disability or total permanent disability for work, there shall be paid to the injured employee during such total disability a weekly compensation equal to sixty-six and two-thirds percent (66 2/3%) of his the injured employee's average weekly wages up to one hundred and thirty-five dollars ($135.00) ($135) average weekly wages, as defined in section 22 of this chapter, for a period not to exceed five hundred (500) weeks. With respect to injuries occurring on and after July 1, 1976, causing temporary total disability or total permanent disability for work, there shall be paid to the injured employee during the total disability a weekly compensation equal to sixty-six and two-thirds percent (66 2/3%) of his the injured employee's average weekly wages, as defined in IC 22-3-3-22, section 22 of this chapter, for a period not to exceed five hundred (500) weeks. In computing the average weekly wage for an employee who:
        (1) has sustained a compensable injury;
        (2) returns to work; and
        (3) sustains a later period of disability due to that injury after June 30, 2003;
the average weekly wage for the later period of disability shall be the greater of the employee's average weekly wage at the time of the compensable injury or the employee's average weekly wage at the time of the later period of disability, subject to the maximum average weekly wage in effect as of the last day the employee worked, computed as set forth in section 22 of this chapter.
Compensation shall be allowed for the first seven (7) calendar days only if the disability continues for longer than twenty-one (21) days.

SOURCE: IC 22-3-6-1; (03)HB1241.2.2. -->     SECTION 2. IC 22-3-6-1, AS AMENDED BY P.L.202-2001, SECTION 7, IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 1. In IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6, unless the context otherwise requires:
    (a) "Employer" includes the state and any political subdivision, any municipal corporation within the state, any individual or the legal representative of a deceased individual, firm, association, limited liability company, or corporation or the receiver or trustee of the same, using the services of another for pay. A parent corporation and its subsidiaries shall each be considered joint employers of the corporation's, the parent's, or the subsidiaries' employees for purposes of IC 22-3-2-6 and IC 22-3-3-31. Both a lessor and a lessee of employees shall each be considered joint employers of the employees

provided by the lessor to the lessee for purposes of IC 22-3-2-6 and IC 22-3-3-31. If the employer is insured, the term includes the employer's insurer so far as applicable. However, the inclusion of an employer's insurer within this definition does not allow an employer's insurer to avoid payment for services rendered to an employee with the approval of the employer. The term also includes an employer that provides on-the-job training under the federal School to Work Opportunities Act (20 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.) to the extent set forth in IC 22-3-2-2.5.
    (b) "Employee" means every person, including a minor, in the service of another, under any contract of hire or apprenticeship, written or implied, except one whose employment is both casual and not in the usual course of the trade, business, occupation, or profession of the employer.
        (1) An executive officer elected or appointed and empowered in accordance with the charter and bylaws of a corporation, other than a municipal corporation or governmental subdivision or a charitable, religious, educational, or other nonprofit corporation, is an employee of the corporation under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6.
        (2) An executive officer of a municipal corporation or other governmental subdivision or of a charitable, religious, educational, or other nonprofit corporation may, notwithstanding any other provision of IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6, be brought within the coverage of its insurance contract by the corporation by specifically including the executive officer in the contract of insurance. The election to bring the executive officer within the coverage shall continue for the period the contract of insurance is in effect, and during this period, the executive officers thus brought within the coverage of the insurance contract are employees of the corporation under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6.
        (3) Any reference to an employee who has been injured, when the employee is dead, also includes the employee's legal representatives, dependents, and other persons to whom compensation may be payable.
        (4) An owner of a sole proprietorship may elect to include the owner as an employee under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 if the owner is actually engaged in the proprietorship business. If the owner makes this election, the owner must serve upon the owner's insurance carrier and upon the board written notice of the election. No owner of a sole proprietorship may be considered an employee under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 until the notice has

been received. If the owner of a sole proprietorship is an independent contractor in the construction trades and does not make the election provided under this subdivision, the owner must obtain an affidavit of exemption under IC 22-3-2-14.5.
        (5) A partner in a partnership may elect to include the partner as an employee under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 if the partner is actually engaged in the partnership business. If a partner makes this election, the partner must serve upon the partner's insurance carrier and upon the board written notice of the election. No partner may be considered an employee under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 until the notice has been received. If a partner in a partnership is an independent contractor in the construction trades and does not make the election provided under this subdivision, the partner must obtain an affidavit of exemption under IC 22-3-2-14.5.
        (6) Real estate professionals are not employees under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 if:
            (A) they are licensed real estate agents;
            (B) substantially all their remuneration is directly related to sales volume and not the number of hours worked; and
            (C) they have written agreements with real estate brokers stating that they are not to be treated as employees for tax purposes.
        (7) A person is an independent contractor in the construction trades and not an employee under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 if the person is an independent contractor under the guidelines of the United States Internal Revenue Service.
        (8) An owner-operator that provides a motor vehicle and the services of a driver under a written contract that is subject to IC 8-2.1-24-23, 45  IAC 16-1-13, or 49 CFR 1057, to a motor carrier is not an employee of the motor carrier for purposes of IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6. The owner-operator may elect to be covered and have the owner-operator's drivers covered under a worker's compensation insurance policy or authorized self-insurance that insures the motor carrier if the owner-operator pays the premiums as requested by the motor carrier. An election by an owner-operator under this subdivision does not terminate the independent contractor status of the owner-operator for any purpose other than the purpose of this subdivision.
        (9) A member or manager in a limited liability company may elect to include the member or manager as an employee under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 if the member or manager is actually

engaged in the limited liability company business. If a member or manager makes this election, the member or manager must serve upon the member's or manager's insurance carrier and upon the board written notice of the election. A member or manager may not be considered an employee under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 until the notice has been received.
        (10) An unpaid participant under the federal School to Work Opportunities Act (20 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.) is an employee to the extent set forth in IC 22-3-2-2.5.
    (c) "Minor" means an individual who has not reached seventeen (17) years of age.
        (1) Unless otherwise provided in this subsection, a minor employee shall be considered as being of full age for all purposes of IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6.
        (2) If the employee is a minor who, at the time of the accident, is employed, required, suffered, or permitted to work in violation of IC 20-8.1-4-25, the amount of compensation and death benefits, as provided in IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6, shall be double the amount which would otherwise be recoverable. The insurance carrier shall be liable on its policy for one-half (1/2) of the compensation or benefits that may be payable on account of the injury or death of the minor, and the employer shall be liable for the other one-half (1/2) of the compensation or benefits. If the employee is a minor who is not less than sixteen (16) years of age and who has not reached seventeen (17) years of age and who at the time of the accident is employed, suffered, or permitted to work at any occupation which is not prohibited by law, this subdivision does not apply.
        (3) A minor employee who, at the time of the accident, is a student performing services for an employer as part of an approved program under IC 20-10.1-6-7 shall be considered a full-time employee for the purpose of computing compensation for permanent impairment under IC 22-3-3-10. The average weekly wages for such a student shall be calculated as provided in subsection (d)(4).
        (4) The rights and remedies granted in this subsection to a minor under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 on account of personal injury or death by accident shall exclude all rights and remedies of the minor, the minor's parents, or the minor's personal representatives, dependents, or next of kin at common law, statutory or otherwise, on account of the injury or death. This subsection does not apply to minors who have reached seventeen

(17) years of age.
    (d) "Average weekly wages" means the earnings of the injured employee in the employment in which the employee was working at the time of the injury during the period of fifty-two (52) weeks immediately preceding the date of injury, divided by fifty-two (52), except as follows:
        (1) If the injured employee lost seven (7) or more calendar days during this period, although not in the same week, then the earnings for the remainder of the fifty-two (52) weeks shall be divided by the number of weeks and parts thereof remaining after the time lost has been deducted.
        (2) Where the employment prior to the injury extended over a period of less than fifty-two (52) weeks, the method of dividing the earnings during that period by the number of weeks and parts thereof during which the employee earned wages shall be followed, if results just and fair to both parties will be obtained. Where by reason of the shortness of the time during which the employee has been in the employment of the employee's employer or of the casual nature or terms of the employment it is impracticable to compute the average weekly wages, as defined in this subsection, regard shall be had to the average weekly amount which during the fifty-two (52) weeks previous to the injury was being earned by a person in the same grade employed at the same work by the same employer or, if there is no person so employed, by a person in the same grade employed in the same class of employment in the same district.
        (3) Wherever allowances of any character made to an employee in lieu of wages are a specified part of the wage contract, they shall be deemed a part of his earnings.
        (4) In computing the average weekly wages to be used in calculating an award for permanent impairment under IC 22-3-3-10 for a student employee in an approved training program under IC 20-10.1-6-7, the following formula shall be used. Calculate the product of:
            (A) the student employee's hourly wage rate; multiplied by
            (B) forty (40) hours.
        The result obtained is the amount of the average weekly wages for the student employee.
        (5) In computing the average weekly wage for an employee who:
        (1) has sustained a compensable injury;
        (2) has returned to work; and


        (3) has a later period of disability due to that injury after June 30, 2003;
the average weekly wage for the later period of disability shall be the greater of the average weekly wage at the time of that compensable injury or the employee's average weekly wage at the time of the later period of disability, subject to the maximum average weekly wage in effect as of the last day the employee worked, computed as set forth in IC 22-3-3-22.

    (e) "Injury" and "personal injury" mean only injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment and do not include a disease in any form except as it results from the injury.
    (f) "Billing review service" refers to a person or an entity that reviews a medical service provider's bills or statements for the purpose of determining pecuniary liability. The term includes an employer's worker's compensation insurance carrier if the insurance carrier performs such a review.
    (g) "Billing review standard" means the data used by a billing review service to determine pecuniary liability.
    (h) "Community" means a geographic service area based on zip code districts defined by the United States Postal Service according to the following groupings:
        (1) The geographic service area served by zip codes with the first three (3) digits 463 and 464.
        (2) The geographic service area served by zip codes with the first three (3) digits 465 and 466.
        (3) The geographic service area served by zip codes with the first three (3) digits 467 and 468.
        (4) The geographic service area served by zip codes with the first three (3) digits 469 and 479.
        (5) The geographic service area served by zip codes with the first three (3) digits 460, 461 (except 46107), and 473.
        (6) The geographic service area served by the 46107 zip code and zip codes with the first three (3) digits 462.
        (7) The geographic service area served by zip codes with the first three (3) digits 470, 471, 472, 474, and 478.
        (8) The geographic service area served by zip codes with the first three (3) digits 475, 476, and 477.
    (i) "Medical service provider" refers to a person or an entity that provides medical services, treatment, or supplies to an employee under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6.
    (j) "Pecuniary liability" means the responsibility of an employer or the employer's insurance carrier for the payment of the charges for each

specific service or product for human medical treatment provided under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 in a defined community, equal to or less than the charges made by medical service providers at the eightieth percentile in the same community for like services or products.

SOURCE: IC 22-3-7-19; (03)HB1241.2.3. -->     SECTION 3. IC 22-3-7-19, AS AMENDED BY P.L.31-2000, SECTION 10, IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 19. (a) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability under this law with respect to occupational diseases occurring:
        (1) on and after July 1, 1974, and before July 1, 1976, the average weekly wages shall be considered to be:
            (A) not more than one hundred thirty-five dollars ($135); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75);
        (2) on and after July 1, 1976, and before July 1, 1977, the average weekly wages shall be considered to be:
            (A) not more than one hundred fifty-six dollars ($156); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75);
        (3) on and after July 1, 1977, and before July 1, 1979, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
            (A) not more than one hundred eighty dollars ($180); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75);
        (4) on and after July 1, 1979, and before July 1, 1980, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
            (A) not more than one hundred ninety-five dollars ($195); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75);
        (5) on and after July 1, 1980, and before July 1, 1983, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
            (A) not more than two hundred ten dollars ($210); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75);
        (6) on and after July 1, 1983, and before July 1, 1984, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
            (A) not more than two hundred thirty-four dollars ($234); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75); and
        (7) on and after July 1, 1984, and before July 1, 1985, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
            (A) not more than two hundred forty-nine dollars ($249); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (b) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability, with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1985, and before July 1, 1986, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
        (1) not more than two hundred sixty-seven dollars ($267); and
        (2) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (c) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability, with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1986, and before July 1, 1988, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
        (1) not more than two hundred eighty-five dollars ($285); and
        (2) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (d) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability, with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1988, and before July 1, 1989, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
        (1) not more than three hundred eighty-four dollars ($384); and
        (2) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (e) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability, with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1989, and before July 1, 1990, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
        (1) not more than four hundred eleven dollars ($411); and
        (2) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (f) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability, with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1990, and before July 1, 1991, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
        (1) not more than four hundred forty-one dollars ($441); and
        (2) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (g) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability, with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1991, and before July 1, 1992, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
        (1) not more than four hundred ninety-two dollars ($492); and
        (2) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (h) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability, with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1992, and before July 1, 1993, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
        (1) not more than five hundred forty dollars ($540); and
        (2) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (i) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability, with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1993, and before July 1, 1994, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
        (1) not more than five hundred ninety-one dollars ($591); and
        (2) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (j) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability, with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1994, and before July 1, 1997, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
        (1) not more than six hundred forty-two dollars ($642); and
        (2) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (k) In computing compensation for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and total permanent disability, the average weekly wages are considered to be:
        (1) with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1997, and before July 1, 1998:
            (A) not more than six hundred seventy-two dollars ($672); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75);
        (2) with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1998, and before July 1, 1999:
            (A) not more than seven hundred two dollars ($702); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75);
        (3) with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 1999, and before July 1, 2000:
            (A) not more than seven hundred thirty-two dollars ($732); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75);
        (4) with respect to occupational diseases occurring on and after July 1, 2000, and before July 1, 2001:
            (A) not more than seven hundred sixty-two dollars ($762); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75);
        (5) with respect to disablements occurring on and after July 1, 2001, and before July 1, 2002:
            (A) not more than eight hundred twenty-two dollars ($822); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75); and
        (6) with respect to disablements occurring on and after July 1, 2002:
            (A) not more than eight hundred eighty-two dollars ($882); and
            (B) not less than seventy-five dollars ($75).
    (l) The maximum compensation that shall be paid for occupational disease and its results under any one (1) or more provisions of this chapter with respect to disability or death occurring:
        (1) on and after July 1, 1974, and before July 1, 1976, shall not

exceed forty-five thousand dollars ($45,000) in any case;
        (2) on and after July 1, 1976, and before July 1, 1977, shall not exceed fifty-two thousand dollars ($52,000) in any case;
        (3) on and after July 1, 1977, and before July 1, 1979, may not exceed sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) in any case;
        (4) on and after July 1, 1979, and before July 1, 1980, may not exceed sixty-five thousand dollars ($65,000) in any case;
        (5) on and after July 1, 1980, and before July 1, 1983, may not exceed seventy thousand dollars ($70,000) in any case;
        (6) on and after July 1, 1983, and before July 1, 1984, may not exceed seventy-eight thousand dollars ($78,000) in any case; and
        (7) on and after July 1, 1984, and before July 1, 1985, may not exceed eighty-three thousand dollars ($83,000) in any case.
    (m) The maximum compensation with respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1985, and before July 1, 1986, which shall be paid for occupational disease and the results thereof under the provisions of this chapter or under any combination of its provisions may not exceed eighty-nine thousand dollars ($89,000) in any case. The maximum compensation with respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1986, and before July 1, 1988, which shall be paid for occupational disease and the results thereof under the provisions of this chapter or under any combination of its provisions may not exceed ninety-five thousand dollars ($95,000) in any case. The maximum compensation with respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1988, and before July 1, 1989, that shall be paid for occupational disease and the results thereof under this chapter or under any combination of its provisions may not exceed one hundred twenty-eight thousand dollars ($128,000) in any case.
    (n) The maximum compensation with respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1989, and before July 1, 1990, that shall be paid for occupational disease and the results thereof under this chapter or under any combination of its provisions may not exceed one hundred thirty-seven thousand dollars ($137,000) in any case.
    (o) The maximum compensation with respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1990, and before July 1, 1991, that shall be paid for occupational disease and the results thereof under this chapter or under any combination of its provisions may not exceed one hundred forty-seven thousand dollars ($147,000) in any case.
    (p) The maximum compensation with respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1991, and before July 1, 1992, that shall be paid for occupational disease and the results thereof under this chapter or under any combination of the provisions of this chapter may

not exceed one hundred sixty-four thousand dollars ($164,000) in any case.
    (q) The maximum compensation with respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1992, and before July 1, 1993, that shall be paid for occupational disease and the results thereof under this chapter or under any combination of the provisions of this chapter may not exceed one hundred eighty thousand dollars ($180,000) in any case.
    (r) The maximum compensation with respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1993, and before July 1, 1994, that shall be paid for occupational disease and the results thereof under this chapter or under any combination of the provisions of this chapter may not exceed one hundred ninety-seven thousand dollars ($197,000) in any case.
    (s) The maximum compensation with respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1994, and before July 1, 1997, that shall be paid for occupational disease and the results thereof under this chapter or under any combination of the provisions of this chapter may not exceed two hundred fourteen thousand dollars ($214,000) in any case.
    (t) The maximum compensation that shall be paid for occupational disease and the results of an occupational disease under this chapter or under any combination of the provisions of this chapter may not exceed the following amounts in any case:
        (1) With respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1997, and before July 1, 1998, two hundred twenty-four thousand dollars ($224,000).
        (2) With respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1998, and before July 1, 1999, two hundred thirty-four thousand dollars ($234,000).
        (3) With respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 1999, and before July 1, 2000, two hundred forty-four thousand dollars ($244,000).
        (4) With respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 2000, and before July 1, 2001, two hundred fifty-four thousand dollars ($254,000).
        (5) With respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 2001, and before July 1, 2002, two hundred seventy-four thousand dollars ($274,000).
        (6) With respect to disability or death occurring on and after July 1, 2002, two hundred ninety-four thousand dollars ($294,000).
    (u) For all disabilities occurring before July 1, 1985, "average weekly wages" shall mean the earnings of the injured employee in the

employment in which the employee was working at the time of the last exposure during the period of fifty-two (52) weeks immediately preceding the last day of the last exposure divided by fifty-two (52). If the employee lost seven (7) or more calendar days during the period, although not in the same week, then the earnings for the remainder of the fifty-two (52) weeks shall be divided by the number of weeks and parts thereof remaining after the time lost has been deducted. Where the employment prior to the last day of the last exposure extended over a period of less than fifty-two (52) weeks, the method of dividing the earnings during that period by the number of weeks and parts thereof during which the employee earned wages shall be followed if results just and fair to both parties will be obtained. Where by reason of the shortness of the time during which the employee has been in the employment of the employer or of the casual nature or terms of the employment it is impracticable to compute the average weekly wages as above defined, regard shall be had to the average weekly amount which, during the fifty-two (52) weeks previous to the last day of the last exposure, was being earned by a person in the same grade employed at the same work by the same employer, or if there is no person so employed, by a person in the same grade employed in that same class of employment in the same district. Whenever allowances of any character are made to an employee in lieu of wages or a specified part of the wage contract, they shall be deemed a part of the employee's earnings.
    (v) For all disabilities occurring on and after July 1, 1985, "average weekly wages" means the earnings of the injured employee during the period of fifty-two (52) weeks immediately preceding the disability divided by fifty-two (52). If the employee lost seven (7) or more calendar days during the period, although not in the same week, then the earnings for the remainder of the fifty-two (52) weeks shall be divided by the number of weeks and parts of weeks remaining after the time lost has been deducted. If employment before the date of disability extended over a period of less than fifty-two (52) weeks, the method of dividing the earnings during that period by the number of weeks and parts of weeks during which the employee earned wages shall be followed if results just and fair to both parties will be obtained. If by reason of the shortness of the time during which the employee has been in the employment of the employer or of the casual nature or terms of the employment it is impracticable to compute the average weekly wages for the employee, the employee's average weekly wages shall be considered to be the average weekly amount that, during the fifty-two (52) weeks before the date of disability, was being earned by a person

in the same grade employed at the same work by the same employer or, if there is no person so employed, by a person in the same grade employed in that same class of employment in the same district. Whenever allowances of any character are made to an employee instead of wages or a specified part of the wage contract, they shall be considered a part of the employee's earnings.
    (w) In computing the average weekly wage for an employee who:
        (1) has sustained a compensable occupational disease;
        (2) has returned to work; and
        (3) has a later period of disability due to that occupational disease after June 30, 2003;
the average weekly wage for the later period of disability shall be the greater of the average weekly wage at the time of that compensable occupational disease or the employee's average weekly wage at the time of the later period of disability, subject to the maximum average weekly wage in effect as of the last day the employee worked, computed as set forth in this section.

     (x) The provisions of this article may not be construed to result in an award of benefits in which the number of weeks paid or to be paid for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, or permanent total disability benefits combined exceeds five hundred (500) weeks. This section shall not be construed to prevent a person from applying for an award under IC 22-3-3-13. However, in case of permanent total disability resulting from a disablement occurring on or after January 1, 1998, the minimum total benefit shall not be less than seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000).