Looking for a new job could make or break your workers’ compensation case.
Our clients moan and groan when told to look for a new job. This seems silly when a person is still technically employed and receiving disability benefits from other sources. Here is why a job search is a critical step in your workers’ compensation case.
The Michigan Legislature enacted major changes to workers’ compensation in 2011. Insurance companies now get a credit for phantom wages that are not actually paid. This is accomplished by hiring a vocational expert to say jobs are available but you are not trying hard enough to find them.
Performing a good-faith job search proves these made-up jobs don’t exist. It is critical evidence that a magistrate can use to award full workers’ compensation benefits.
The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC) has provided guidance on this issue. Potential employment opportunities must be:
1) Suitable to plaintiff’s qualifications and training;
2) Within plaintiff’s work-related restrictions and;
3) Available to plaintiff.
Only when plaintiff proves that no suitable, restriction-compliant jobs are available can the magistrate order full benefits. A difficult burden indeed!
Michigan law is unclear about what constitutes a good-faith job search. We recommend that our clients create a job search log and write down several leads each week. They are told not limit the search to past employment but consider hobbies and skills acquired over a lifetime. Even entry-level and low paying jobs should be explored.
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 (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by photologue_np.