Appellate Commission Releases Common Sense Decision

Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC) issues decision affirming award of full wage loss benefits based upon job search.

Changes to Michigan’s workers compensation law have created much confusion for both plaintiff and defense attorneys. It is hard to advise your client when you are dealing with a moving target. Issues regarding disability and wage loss have been in flux for the last few years.

The Appellate Commission has now made clear that the issue of partial disability must be addressed. If an individual has a wage earning capacity then a job search is crucial to show entitlement to full wage loss benefits.

Here is a recent case that shows what proofs need to be included at trial. Ignore the issue of partial disability at your peril.

Vrooman v Ford Motor Company

The magistrate held that plaintiff retained a wage earning capacity of $9.00 per hour. He also found that the plaintiff had made a reasonable search for jobs within her qualifications and training but was not hired. The magistrate ordered payment of full wage loss benefits.

Defendant appealed asking the Appellate Commission to reverse the decision of the magistrate and for a reduction of benefits based on plaintiff’s residual earning capacity.

The Appellate Commission affirmed the magistrate finding no error. The magistrate was free to accept portions of the vocational testimony to establish wage earning capacity. Plaintiff’s good faith job search was sufficient to conclude that her disability and wage loss continued.

What this means for your potential case

Most people who are injured at work are not totally disabled. They simply have restrictions that prevent them from performing the requirements of their past job.

Employers and insurance companies will say you can work and cut your benefits. This must be challenged in court.

A job search can show that no employer will hire you even with restrictions. This is compelling evidence that a magistrate can use to award full benefits.

Call (855) 221-2667 to speak with one of our workers compensation lawyers in Michigan. There is no charge unless you recover additional benefits or a settlement.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. 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:

Vrooman v Ford Motor Company, 2012 ACO #90

11/01/2012
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