Case name: Sanchez v. Potomac Abatement, Inc., et al., No. 65, September Term, 2009 (Md. 11/19/10).
Ruling: The Maryland Court of Appeals held that the applicable average weekly wage index is the index in effect at the date of the worker's injury.
means: In Maryland, the average weekly wage in effect on a day a worker's injury occurred applies, rather than the average weekly wage in effect at the time the worker is found to be entitled to benefits.
Summary: A worker suffered an injury while working in the course of employment for his employer. Eight years later, the Workers' Compensation Commission concluded that the worker lost the industrial use of 30 percent of his body and granted him an award of temporary total disability and permanent partial disability benefits. The worker argued that his weekly award should have been calculated by using the average weekly wage for the year his award was awarded, rather than the year he was injured. The Maryland Court of Appeals disagreed and held that an injured worker's permanent partial disability benefits must be calculated based on the average weekly wage index in effect on the date of the worker's injury.
The court noted that in this case, the worker's right to benefits commenced years after he was injured. The court emphasized that the general rule in workers' compensation benefits cases is that the date of injury controls for determining compensation. The court found that this long-standing and consistent practice followed by the commission to be persuasive.
The court also mentioned that although other states use different calculations to cap a permanent partial disability award, it could not find a single state that bases a PPD award on the average weekly wage in effect in the year when the benefits were awarded rather than the year in which the injury occurred.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
January 20, 2011
Copyright 2011© LRP Publications