Michigan lawyer discusses side jobs and differential wage loss benefits under workers’ comp.
We always tell our clients to work if physically able. Workers’ comp should continue paying medical bills and differential wage loss benefits. Settlement is also a good option before starting a new job. Here is why you can drive for Lyft while on workers’ comp.
Workers’ comp pays wage loss benefits to employees hurt on-the-job. The amount is 80% of an employee’s after-tax average weekly wage. This is calculated using the highest 39 paid weeks during the 52 weeks before getting hurt. Overtime, discontinued fringe benefits, and even second jobs should be included in the average weekly wage calculation. A good rule of thumb is 60% of gross wages should be paid. Make sure to check with an experienced lawyer if the weekly rate seems too low.
Employees who are claiming wage loss benefits under workers’ comp must perform a good-faith job search. The search should not be limited to past work but any job an employee might otherwise be qualified or trained to perform. This is a requirement under Michigan law! It does not matter if a person is still technically employed or has been found disabled by the Social Security Administration. A good-faith job search can also be used as evidence that no other employment is available or pays maximum wages.
Drive For Lyft While on Workers’ Comp: How It Works
If a person starts to drive for Lyft while on workers’ comp or finds another lesser paying job, they could still be owed differential wage loss benefits under workers’ comp. 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.
Here is an example of how it works: Bob Jones was hurt on-the-job and was earning an average of $800 per week. 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. Bob Jones start to drive for Lyft while on workers’ comp and earns $400 per week. 80% of the after-tax value of $400 per week is $282.53. He should still get differential wage loss benefits equal to $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. These “phantom wages” can be used as a credit regardless of whether a new job is obtained. A vocational expert hired by the insurance company will testify about transferable skills and perform a labor market survey.
Watch out because PIWEC is not always a fair assessment and it is ripe for insurance company abuse. Make sure to contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer if you drive for Lyft while on workers’ comp and not getting differential wage loss benefits under workers’ comp.
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.