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Five Tests for Jurisdiction WALSH Revisited – Which State Applies


State Jurisdiction WALSH Revisited

The revisited test of jurisdiction WALSH consists of five tests.  I was just reading a news flash on a Workers Comp decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

If I am reading it properly, an employee who was injured 23 years ago is now able to claim benefits with a new average weekly wage and not based on Mass. Workers Comp law.

Picture Of Gavel and Books Jurisdiction WALSH Concept
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I thought I would revisit the WALSH test of state jurisdiction. It is what the Mass. Judges should have used in their decision. The test has been around for many years. I have seen a Workers Comp judge actually draw up the test on a multi-jurisdictional claim in Oklahoma a few years ago. The old article on WALSH is here.

  • Worked
  • Accident
  • Lived
  • Salaried
  • Hired

The weight of each part of the jurisdiction is higher with Worked. Each term carries less weight. Hired has the least weight when considering jurisdiction. There was one industry that I consult often which makes jurisdiction so difficult – trucking/transportation.

Let us look at how the confusion is lessened with WALSH:

  • Worked – unless the trucker short-hauls, then there are many states where the drive would work almost every single day
  • Accident – this one is a little more clear
  • Lived – this would be straightforward
  • Salaried – also straightforward
  • Hired- not as clear as the driver may have been hired at a terminal or HQ.
  • Choice – wherever the injured employee decides to file a claim using WALSH as a guide.

I would say the Worked part would be wherever the terminal he/she works out of is located. There seems to be another term that is very prevalent and that is Choice. I have seen states lately rule in favor of wherever the driver decides to file their claim.

Picture of Man Signing Jurisdiction WALSH Concept

The Choice scenario can almost be applied to any occupation where the employee does not have all of Walsh in the same state. Would an employee research the best benefits available and file a claim in that state hoping to hit the proverbial jackpot on benefits? Would an employee try to file a claim in a state that has a max of $400 or $800?

We have that very file in our office. I was asked to examine the file as a possible expert witness. The employee has a decent attorney in the $800 a week state. As you may know, truckers almost always max out the benefits as they are paid well.

Applying the Walsh Test:

  • Worked – terminal – NC
  • Accident – SC
  • Lived – GA
  • Salaried – FL
  • Hired – TN
  • Chose – NY???

This is going to be a long evening. Try the test on some of your multi-jurisdictional files. It may not be 100% accurate, but at least it is a starting point.


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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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