The Flint Journal & Genesee County Bar Association’s “Ask the Attorney”
By Attorneys at MACDONALD & MACDONALD PLLC
Q. I injured my knee at work. My pain got so bad that I couldn’t walk and I had to have a knee replacement. I have a desk job and didn’t miss time from work. Am I entitled to any workers’ compensation?
A. Michigan injured workers are entitled to weekly wage loss benefits if an injury causes a worker to lose wages. The Michigan Workers’ Disability Compensation Act also provides weekly specific loss benefits, regardless of wages earned, to injured workers who suffer the loss of particular limbs. If an injury causes a limb to lose its usefulness, a worker can be considered to have suffered the specific loss of the limb, even if the limb wasn’t amputated. The Michigan Supreme Court had ruled that specific loss benefits would be payable even if the problem is ultimately corrected by surgery. The Michigan Legislature changed the law on December 19, 2011 so that the effects of treatment must be considered in determining whether a worker has sustained a specific loss. The courts will have to determine whether the legislative amendment will apply only to persons injured after December 19, 2011. Depending on the loss of use you suffered, you may be entitled to 215 weeks of benefits for the specific loss of use of a leg. Call us to discuss how the law applies to your situation.
Atty. Robert J. MacDonald
–February 2010 column (updated April 2012)