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The Flint Journal & Genesee County Bar Association’s “Ask the Attorney” Column


Q. I was injured on the job and my doctor wants me to stay off work. Instead of paying me workers’ comp, the insurance company sent a “vocational expert” to my house to interview me and that “expert” wrote a report stating that I have the qualifications to obtain a different job. Is this right?

A. In Michigan, workers’ compensation benefits were designed by the Legislature to be payable if a work-related injury prevents a worker from performing his or her job, and the worker has not refused a job offer within one’s restrictions. Because of a 4-3 decision by the Michigan Supreme Court, insurance companies now try to deny or reduce benefits by arguing that you don’t need or get workers’ comp because you have certain qualifications and could obtain a new job instead. Insurance companies now hire “vocational experts” to testify against workers regarding their qualifications, without actually helping the workers get hired into new good paying jobs. Injured workers are sent lengthy questionnaires or interrogatories to answer, and even high school transcripts are subpoenaed to puff up qualifications. We strongly recommend that injured workers obtain the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before their benefits are denied through these sorts of tactics.

Atty. Robert J. MacDonald
–June 2009 column