The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that workman’s compensation rates for an injured inmate are set at inmate pay rates, not at the state’s minimum wage.
Darrell White was an inmate assigned to the Forestry Division when he suffered a serious finger injury. After his release from prison, he filed for workman’s compensation disability benefits at the minimum wage set in the Nevada Constitution.
But the administrative appeals officer ruled that state law sets the amount of compensation at the average monthly wage the prisoner actually received on the date of the injury. White was deemed temporarily totally disabled for a total of 144 days in 2016. He argued his compensation should be set at the constitutionally guaranteed minimum was of $7.25 an hour.
But the appeals officer ruled the compensation should be set at what he was actually being paid when injured — just $22.93 a month or 50 cents a day. The district court upheld that ruling and White appealed to the high court.
The panel of Justices Jim Hardesty, Lidia Stiglich and Abbi Silver agreed, declining to consider the constitutional argument because the statute requires calculation of compensation to be based on what the inmate was earning when injured.