What can LeBron James $153.3 million basketball contract teach us about workers’ comp benefits in Michigan?
Our attorneys are big sports fans and news of LeBron James getting a $153.3 million basketball contract did not go unnoticed.
We thought it would be fun to image what would happen if he got hurt at work (temporarily!) in Michigan. Here is what you can learn about workers’ comp benefits from a superstar athlete’s perspective.
Michigan law requires payment of lost wages to employees hurt on-the-job. The amount paid should equal 80% of their after-tax average weekly wage. This is calculated using the highest 39 paid weeks in the 52 weeks before getting hurt. This usually works out to be about 60% of gross pay.
Included in the average weekly wage are bonuses, overtime, and other items that represent a fundamental aspect of pay. Discontinued fringe benefits can also be included provided they do not increase the weekly rate to more than 2/3 of the statewide average weekly wage. Wages from a second job should also be included in the calculation.
Does this mean LeBron James gets $91 million (60%) if he gets hurt playing basketball? Not hardly! Lost wages are capped at 90% of the state-wide average weekly wage. This is based on what everyone in the State of Michigan earns.
The maximum rate for 2018 is $900 per week or $46,800 per year. Even high wage earners like LeBron are limited to this amount under workers’ comp.
Insurance companies can further reduce the maximum rate if they can show a person has a wage earning capacity. Unfortunately, this is determined by the insurance company itself and not always a fair analysis of job prospects. If LeBron could work part-time as a TV announcer, he might find his weekly checks reduced to zero. No big deal for a multi-millionaire but devastating for a family living paycheck to paycheck.
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) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Steve A Johnson.