IN THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION
CHARLES E. RUTROUGH, Claimant
Opinion by DIAMOND
v. VWC File No. 189-18-42
MARGARETA C. H. DOUGLAS, Employer
LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Insurer
Yvonne T. Griffin, Esquire
307 West Rio Road
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
for the Claimant.
Anne M. Dobson, Esquire
Post Office Box 6357
Richmond, Virginia 23230
for the Defendants.
REVIEW on the record before Commissioner Diamond, Commissioner Tarr, and
Commissioner Dudley at Richmond, Virginia.
This case is before the Commission at the request of the employer for Review of a
decision of the Deputy Commissioner, which found that the wages in the claimant’s two
employments should be combined to determine his average weekly age. We AFFIRM.
At the hearing below, the parties stipulated that the only two issues were average weekly
wage and length of disability. On Review, the only issue is whether the claimant’s two
employments are “similar.”
The claimant resided in an apartment at Rivanna Farm, the home of Margareta Douglas,
and performed work for her in exchange for room and board and $400.00 per month. The value
of the apartment and utilities was $500.00 per month. The claimant gave Mrs. Douglas breakfast
VWC File No. 189-18-42
in the morning, helped her cook for guests, trimmed flowers and mowed the yard. He worked as
a handyman, fixing commodes and washing machines. He also drove her to doctor’s
appointments and picked her up at the airport.
The claimant also performed work for Chris Beauchamp. Mr. Beauchamp was injured in
an automobile accident, and he hired the claimant to assist him at his home. The claimant
cooked meals for him, did yard work, drove Mr. Beauchamp to medical appointments, and
worked as a handyman, including taking off shower stall doors, hanging shower curtains, and
repairing an automobile.
An employee who is injured on one job receives an average weekly wage based upon the
combined earnings of similar employments. Creedle Sales Co. v. Edmonds, 24 Va. App. 24, 480
S.E.2d 123 (1997). We agree with the Deputy Commissioner that the claimant’s two jobs were
similar. He drove both employers to medical appointments, did some cooking, performed some
yard work, and functioned as a handyman. Therefore, the average weekly wage adopted by the
Deputy Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
In its written statement, the employer raises the issue of whether the claimant was an
“employee” under the Act. Section 65.2-305(B) states:
B. Every employer taking out a workers' compensation insurance
policy, or qualifying as a self-insurer, shall be subject to all the
provisions of this title, regardless of the number of employees or
whether he is an employer of farm and horticultural laborers and
domestic servants. Such employers not otherwise covered by this
title shall be subject to this title only during the period covered by
By operation of this provision, the employer has elected coverage.
VWC File No. 189-18-42
Interest shall be paid on the award in accordance with § 65.2-707 of the Code of Virginia.
From the compensation due, a total fee of $1,300.00 shall be deducted and paid directly to
Yvonne T. Griffin, Esquire for legal services rendered to the claimant.
This matter is hereby removed from the Review docket.
This Opinion shall be final unless appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals within thirty
days of receipt of this Opinion.
cc: Charles E. Rutrough
813B Nassau Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Margareta C. H. Douglas
1859 Rivanna Farm
Charlottesville, Virginia 22911
Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
Post Office Box 85198
Richmond, Virginia 23261