North Carolina Court of Appeals and the WALSH Jurisdiction Test
The WALSH Jurisdiction Test for Workers Compensation has always seemed to work when multi-jurisdictions (states) are involved in a claim. One of the most recent cases concerning the WALSH Jurisdictional test occurred in North Carolina at the appellate level.
If you are not familiar with the WALSH test, click on the link to find out more. The test is basically: Worked, Accident, Lived, Salaried, and Hired. By using the first letter of each of these considerations, the name WALSH is noted.
The case Taylor v. Howard Transportation is one of those very difficult claims where a truck driver can have many states’ jurisdictions involved in making the final determination.
The following is a passage from the North Carolina appeals court decision.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-36 provides:
Where an accident happens while the employee is employed elsewhere than in this State (Salaried) and the accident is one which would entitle him or his dependents or next of kin to compensation if it had happened in this State (Accident), then the employee or his dependents or next of kin shall be entitled to compensation
(i) if the contract of employment was made in this State, (Hired)
(ii) if the employer’s principal place of business is in this State(Salaried), or
(iii) if the employee’s principal place of employment is within this State[.] N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-36 (2013). (Worked)
Neither HT’s principal place of business nor plaintiff’s principal place of employment was in North Carolina. Thus, in order for the Commission to have subject-matter jurisdiction, plaintiff’s contract of employment (Hired) must have been made in North Carolina. See id.
“To determine where a contract for employment was made, the Commission and the courts of this state apply the ‘last act’ test. For a contract to be made in North Carolina, the final act necessary to make it a binding obligation must be done here.”
As one can see the WALSH jurisdiction test was applied by the Court in a roundabout method. The WALSH test is difficult to apply with truckers. They cover so many states in their travels and may be hired out of a distant terminal North Carolina jurisdiction was denied in this case by the NC Court of Appeals.
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