Mansfield v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission 
By: Katie S. Lonze - Associate - Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry

 

The claimant, a pre-school teacher, was injured during a fall at work. Claimant also was self-employed as a piano teacher. At issue was the claimant’s average weekly wage. The Arbitrator and Commissioner determined the average weekly wage was $437.00 based on an average weekly wage of $247 for the pre-school teacher job plus and average weekly wage of $190 for the piano teacher job. Before the Appellate Court, the claimant argued that the Commission had correctly calculated the average weekly wage; the employer argued the claimant’s profits from working as a piano teacher should not have been included in the average weekly wage. The Appellate Court agreed with the employer.

The Appellate Court, relying on Paoletti v. Industrial Comm’n, 279 Ill. App. 3d 988, 996, 665 N.E.2d 507, 512, 216 Ill. Dec. 447 (1996), held that the Commission incorrectly calculated the claimant’s average weekly wage under Section 10 of the Act as including profits from the claimant’s self-employment as a piano teacher, which should not have been considered as part of the calculation because these profits did not represent earnings from working for an employer. The Court noted that in this case and Paoletti, the issue was whether income from the claimant’s concurrent employment could be included in computing average weekly wage. The Court declined to recognize an exception to the holding in Paoletti that would allow for inclusion of the compensation paid to a similarly situated employee providing piano lessons for an employer. The court distinguished a Tennessee case that recognized this method of calculating average weekly wage because that case involved a self-employed claimant who was not concurrently employed.  While the Court adhered to the holding in Paoletti that a claimant’s business income should not be included in the calculation of average weekly wage, whether the Appellate Court would adhere to the Paoletti holding if the claimant was self-employed with no concurrent employment was not specifically addressed.

 

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