CARSON CITY — A self-employed delivery driver who filed his own handwritten appeal in a workers’ compensation matter won a victory in the Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday.
Dzidefo Mensah of Reno appealed a ruling that denied him temporary and partial disability benefits because as a self-employed driver, he could not establish a loss of income without evidence of a salary.
A three-justice panel of the court said in the published ruling that for self-employed individuals, the lack of a salary associated with traditional employment does necessarily prevent an average monthly wage calculation to determine lost income for purposes of a workers’ compensation benefit decision.
Instead, the injured worker’s earnings, which include more than just a salary, including an individual’s business profits and expenses, are part of the wage determination, the court said.
As a self-employed delivery driver, Mensah was required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance, which he did. While delivering packages, he fell and injured his shoulder. He paid another individual to perform his delivery route while he recovered, and so lost his business income.
The court ordered the case to be returned to the appeals officer to determine if the documents submitted by Mensah demonstrate a loss of “earnings” during his time on restricted duty, with clarification that wages include more than just salary.
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