Swift Transp. v. Indus. Comm'n

In Swift Transp. v. Indus. Comm'n, 189 Ariz. 10, 12, 938 P.2d 59, 61 (App. 1996) the Court considered the computation of a truck driver's average monthly wage. 189 Ariz. at 10, 938 P.2d at 59. After the driver was hired, he was placed in a probationary training status and received a weekly salary of $ 250.00. Id. After his probationary training period ended, the driver began to earn twenty cents per mile. Id. During the one week between the end of his training period and his industrial injury, the driver earned $ 645.96. Id. In setting the driver's average monthly wage, the ALJ used the driver's regular salary instead of his training period salary. Id. at 10-11, 938 P.2d at 59-60. On appeal, the employer argued that the ALJ was required to calculate the driver's average monthly wage by using his actual earnings during the thirty-day period before his industrial injury. Id. at 11, 938 P.2d at 60. The Court rejected that argument and affirmed the ALJ's award. Id. at 12-13, 938 P.2d at 61-62. The Court recognized that the thirty days preceding the industrial injury are only the presumptive wage base, and it is within the ALJ's discretion to use a different period when those thirty days do not accurately represent a claimant's earning capacity. Id. at 11, 938 P.2d at 60. The Court held that "the ALJ properly determined that the claimant's average monthly wage should reflect what he was actually earning at the time of the injury and that his training wage was properly excluded because it presents a distorted basis upon which to make a determination of future earning capacity." Id. at 12-13, 938 P.2d at 61-62.