Without contract of hire, volunteer can't secure WC for traumatic brain injury
Case name: Appeal of Jenks, No. 2007-817 (N.H. 12/10/08).
Ruling: The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld the Compensation Appeals Board's ruling that the claimant was not an employee of New Hampshire International Speedway when he was injured. Therefore, he was not entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
What it means: Under New Hampshire's Workers' Compensation Law, an employee is defined as any person who works for an employer "under any express or implied, oral or written contract of hire." A contract of hire exists if the worker receives or expects to receive payment of some kind. A volunteer who provides security services with the understanding that the employer will donate money to charity for every hour of work donated is not an employee for workers' compensation purposes.
Summary: The claimant sustained a traumatic brain injury when he fell from a golf cart and struck his head on the pavement. At the time of the accident, he was providing security services for a racing event at NHIS. The arrangement he had with NHIS was that for every hour volunteers from his group worked at the event, NHIS would donate $7 to a nonprofit corporation that raised money for children's charities.
The court rejected the claimant's assertion that he was an employee of NHIS and upheld the denial of benefits. Although he received discounts on food and merchandise and a hat and shirt to identify him as a security official, the court found that he never expected to receive payment for his volunteer services. Because he did not establish that a contract of hire existed, the claimant did not establish an employment relationship with NHIS.
February 5, 2009
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