The Appellate Group

O’Connor v. Labor Commission

O’Connor v. Labor Commission, 2020 UT App 49 (Hagen, J.)

Workers’ Compensation

In 1983, an employee was injured at work and started receiving a static disability payment of $241 per week for the remainder of his life, as was statutorily required. But the legislature amended the law in 1988 to provide for a payment based on the percentage of Utah’s average weekly wage rather than a flat payment. When the employee’s static weekly payment fell below what he would receive under the percentage-of-the-average-weekly-wage system, he petitioned the Labor Commission to increase his disability award to match the percentage system. The Commission ultimately denied his petition. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The law as it existed at the time of the employee’s injury in 1983 governs the amount of benefits the employee is entitled to. Absent express direction from the legislature to apply the 1988 amendment to employees injured before the amendment’s effective date in 1988, the law in effect at the time of the injury continues to control the calculation of benefits.

Read the full court opinion