Michigan Workers Compensation: Burden of Proof

Michigan workers compensation lawyer explains the burden of proof after Stokes v. Chrysler.

As workers compensation lawyers, our job is to explain the law and help our clients obtain wage loss benefits.

The Michigan Supreme Court in Stokes v. Chrysler addressed the burden of proof.  The Court stated that: “To establish a disability, the claimant must prove a work-related injury and that such injury caused a reduction of his maximum wage-earning capacity in work suitable to the claimant’s qualifications and training.

To establish the latter element, the claimant must follow these steps:

 (1) The claimant must disclose all of his qualifications and training;

 (2) the claimant must consider other jobs that pay his maximum pre-injury wage to  which the claimant’s qualifications and training translate;

 (3) the claimant must show that the work-related injury prevents him from performing any of the jobs identified as within his qualifications and training; and

 (4) if the claimant is capable of performing some or all of those jobs, the claimant  must show that he cannot obtain any of those jobs.”

Reproduced below is a letter that we send to our clients regarding the burden of proof and what they need to win their workers compensation case.

Mr. Smith
12345 Main Street
Warren, MI 48093

Re:      Workers’ Compensation Case

Dear Mr. Smith:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you about recent changes in workers’ compensation. The Michigan Supreme Court has issued an important decision affecting your burden of proof. Please read this letter carefully and follow the instructions.

To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must prove that your work injury has caused a reduction of your “maximum wage earning capacity.”  This means that you will only get wage loss benefits if you can show that no other jobs exist that would pay the same or higher wages. You must also prove that your work injury is the current reason for your wage loss.

We have determined that the best way to meet your burden of proof is by applying for other jobs. You should begin your job search immediately. Do not wait until a few weeks before trial to start this process. We have found that the sooner you start, the stronger your case becomes.

Apply for any job within your medical restrictions that fits your qualifications and training. Do not limit yourself to jobs that you have performed in the past. Consider hobbies and work skills acquired over your lifetime.

Create a resume and post it at Michigan Talent Bank (http://www.michworks.org) and Monster (http://www.monster.com).  If you cannot use a computer, find a relative or friend to help you. You can also look in newspapers and cut-out any potential job ads.

Use the enclosed form to keep a log of your job search activities.  Write down the date, company name, address and telephone number, contact person, and the reason why you were not hired. Keep copies of all job ads, employment applications, e-mails, and rejection letters.

If you have any questions about this letter, please feel free to call our office.

Very truly yours,

Alex Berman

We are available to answer your workers compensation questions

To speak with one of our workers compensation lawyers, call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation. There is no fee unless workers compensation benefits are recovered for you.  We will fight to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

Alex Berman is the founder of the law firm. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

Related Information:

FAQs about workers compensation to help protect you

Workers compensation benefits denied or terminated

Video: Injured at work? Advice from a Michigan workers comp lawyer

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by NewCityOne.

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