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Rivers v. SAIF

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 05-30-2013
Case #: A150153
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A150153.pdf

Workers Compensation: The wage earning agreement between a worker and his or her employer may be a general agreement reflecting the payment aspect of the parties employment relationship, even if that agreement contemplates that the employee will be assigned to various jobs that will involve differing pay rates and hours.

Rivers challenged the Worker’s Compensation Board’s (WCB) conclusion that SAIF Corporations correctly calculated Rivers earnings for temporary disability compensation. While working on a highway job, Rivers suffered a lower back injury and filed a workers compensation claim with employer’s insurer, SAIF. To determine compensation, SAIF averaged the wages based on all work assignments from the time Rivers began work on February 2, 2008 until the injury was sustained on March 19, 2008. Rivers challenged this calculation. At a hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded that SAIF had correctly calculated Rivers compensation and denied a request for increased compensation. Upon request, the board reviewed the decision and affirmed the ALJ’s order. Rivers then petitioned this court for review. The Court of Appeal’s affirmed the WCB’s decision holding that compensation will be based on weekly earnings for the weeks worked under the most recent wage earning agreement. The most recent wage earning agreement is a general agreement between the employer and employee; and receiving a different job assignment does not necessarily constitute a change in the wage agreement. The board did not err in using the average earnings for the weeks worked under the February 2008 agreement. Affirmed.