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Two Different Methods Are Now Approved for Calculating Lost Income Awards in Maryland Worker’s Compensation Claims

July 2, 2018 By Mark A. Kohl

It would seem rational that an injured employee’s award for lost income should be calculated based on the average number of hours worked in the weeks prior to the accident.  However, in Richard Beavers Construction, Inc. v. Wagstaff the Court of Special Appeals approved of a different calculation.  Even though the injured employee averaged less than 40 hours per week, the Worker’s Compensation Commission based its lost income award on a 40 hour per week schedule.  Its rationale was that the employee was hired to work a 40 hour week, so the hours actually worked (which were reduced due to weather) were not the proper measure (even though the employee was not paid in previous weeks for hours that were not worked).

The Court of Special Appeals found no statutory impediment to the Commission’s decision to calculate lost income based on the hours the employee was contracted to work (as opposed to those he actually worked prior to the accident).  However, the Court only held that the Commission’s decision was permissible (and in a different case the actual hours worked per week could be used to calculate the award).