Case name: Elliott v. AAA Stone, No. 105,621 (Kan. Ct. App. 01/27/12, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished opinion, the Kansas Court of Appeals held that a business owner was permanently and totally disabled as a result of his work-related injury.
it means: In Kansas, salvage work may be part of a company's "business activities" even if it is not the company's primary work.
Summary: The owner of a stone masonry business often salvaged copper wire that he and his crew collected from job sites to pay for gas for the company truck or buy beer for the crew after the workday. He left the job site in Kansas, travelled to Missouri to salvage the copper wire, and intended to return to the job site in Kansas. He was standing on the tailgate of his truck while unloading copper wire when the tailgate straps broke. The owner fell back into a large metal trash container, injuring his back. He sought workers' compensation benefits. The Kansas Court of Appeals held that the worker was entitled to benefits.
The business's insurer argued that the owner's injury did not arise out of and in the course of his employment because salvaging copper wire was not a regular part of his stone masonry business. The insurer also claimed that the trip to the salvage yard was a deviation from his regular employment. The court disagreed, pointing out that the owner said that he regularly collected and salvaged copper wire as part of his job. He also said he thought he reported the income from the salvaged copper wire on the business's tax returns.
The court also found that the owner was permanently and totally disabled. Two doctors opined that he was permanently and totally disabled and unable to perform any type of substantial and gainful employment. Another doctor said the owner could return to stone masonry work, but he was unaware of his continued pain management issues.
The court determined that the owner's average weekly wage was $625. Although he paid himself in two different ways, his testimony regarding his yearly wage did not vary.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
March 26, 2012
Copyright 2012© LRP Publications