Michigan lawyer discusses potential differential benefits under workers’ comp.
We take great pride in helping people get back on their feet and return to gainful employment. Sometimes finding a new job within restrictions is all that is needed. Workers’ comp should pay medical bills and lost wages during the vocational rehabilitation process. But how will a new job impact the amount of lost wages paid? Here is why you can drive for Uber while on workers’ comp and what happens should income be earned.
Workers’ comp pays benefits to individuals hurt on-the-job. The amount should equal 80% of a person’s after-tax average weekly wage. This is calculated using the highest 39 paid weeks during the 52 weeks before injury. Overtime, discontinued fringe benefits, and even second jobs should be included in the calculation.
Individuals who are claiming lost wages must perform a good-faith job search. Our clients moan and groan when they hear this advice, but it is required under legislative reforms passed in 2011. A job search should not be limited to past work but any position someone might otherwise be qualified and trained to perform. It does not matter if still technically employed or found disabled by the Social Security Administration. Insurance companies get a credit for “phantom wages” based upon post-injury wage earning capacity. A good-faith job search can be used as evidence that no other employment is available or pays maximum wages.
Drive For Uber While on Workers‘ Comp: How It Works
If a person starts to drive for Uber while on workers’ comp or finds another lesser paying job, workers’ comp still owes differential wage loss. This is calculated based upon 80% of the difference between the person’s after-tax weekly wage before the injury and the after-tax weekly wage the person earns now.
Mr. Smith was hurt on-the-job and has an average weekly wage of $800. He is entitled to 80% of the after-tax average weekly wage under workers’ comp. Based upon a tax filing status of married/joint and two dependents, his weekly comp rate is $520.22.
If Mr. Smith start to drive for Uber while on workers’ comp and has an average weekly wage of $400 per week. 80% of the after-tax value of $400 per week is $282.53. He should receive a partial weekly rate of $237.69.
Post-Injury Wage Earning Capacity
Insurance companies can also use post-injury wage earning capacity (PIWEC) to say a person can earn other wages. It does not matter if the person has a job or not. A vocational expert will testify about transferable skills and perform a labor market survey. Watch out because this is not always a fair assessment and is ripe for abuse. Make sure to contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer if you drive for Uber while on workers’ comp and weekly benefits have been unfairly reduced.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.