Mississippi Court Uses Walsh Jurisdictional Test (Sort Of)
Alabama and Mississippi were the two choices for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. (See yesterday’s article on a bad faith case). The Court very likely did not use the WALSH jurisdictional test. However, the results were the same. I have actually seen a judge use this test in a decision.
The WALSH jurisdictional test for Workers Compensation claims is a great guide for an adjuster when an accident happens with multiple states involved with a claim. Employers should also apply it when they are considering whether or not employees are covered by a valid WC policy.
I have actually seen trucking companies that had a claim denied by a carrier as there was no coverage for a certain state. Many policies are written on a multi-state basis. Some are written to cover just one state. That is why reading the Workers Policy in full will inform an employer whether or not multi-state coverage is in effect.
There are a few states that can cause nightmares for employers with no coverage. The monopolistic states and states with their own rating bureaus are areas of great concern for jurisdictional coverages.
For instance, if an employer only had West Virginia coverage, but did not have coverage in Ohio, a monopolistic state. If an employee is injured and files for benefits in Ohio, then what happens to the West Virginia carrier’s policy. Would they pay out-of-pocket for the employee’s injuries? Ohio only allows coverage to be written through the Bureau of WC.
The WV employer might have applied the WALSH test to discover certain employees should have been covered by an Ohio policy.
From the article on the Alabama/Mississippi case, the WALSH test would have appeared similar to this:
- Worked – Mississippi
- Accident – Mississippi
- Lived – Mississippi
- Salaried – Alabama
- Hired – Alabama
The most important factor is where the employee worked most of the time. The least is where the employee was hired – the location of the contract of employment. Mississippi is easily the correct jurisdiction.
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