Reimbursement for truck used only for work not included in AWW
Bryant v. Midwest Staff Solutions, Inc., No. 99,913 (Kan. 09/30/11, unpublished).
In an unpublished decision, the Kansas Supreme Court held that a worker's benefits were incorrectly calculated because his average weekly wage should not have included his use of a company truck.
What it means:
In Kansas, the monetary value of the use of a company truck is not included in a worker's average weekly wage if it was only used for work and he only received reimbursement for work-related expenses for the truck.
A worker alleged that he sustained a back injury while working. The workers' compensation board awarded him benefits. The board calculated his average weekly wage by including his use of a company vehicle and his health insurance. The employer argued that this was improper. The Kansas Supreme Court held that the board improperly calculated the worker's AWW. The court sent the case back to the board for a proper calculation.
The board added the monetary value of the weekly use of a company truck to the worker's preinjury AWW after the company discontinued his use of the truck. The worker said that he only used the truck to travel to and from work. He did not show he received more than reimbursement for work-related expenses for the use of the truck. The court found the use of the truck was not a financial gain and should not have been included in his AWW. The court also found that the board correctly included the cost of the worker's health insurance after it was discontinued.
The court concluded that the board erred when it calculated the worker's postinjury average weekly wage using a hypothetical 40-hour workweek instead of using an average of the actual hours he worked.
The court also explained that the worker did not have to show a causal connection between the injury and the wage loss. The court also said that the worker's resignation did not disqualify him from receiving benefits.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 21, 2011
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