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The Flint Journal “Ask the Attorney”

MacDonald & MacDonald PLLC

Q.    I injured my back at work on the job in 2010. I can’t do my old job within my restrictions and have not been able to find any work that I can do. My employer is refusing to pay me all of my workers’ comp benefits by saying benefits can be reduced by my ‘wage earning capacity’ even though there is no job available to me. Is this right?

A.    No.  Employers and insurance carriers have been trying aggressively to make this argument in recent years–despite the fact these arguments were clearly rejected by Michigan courts eighty years ago. Consistent with this longstanding legal doctrine, the Michigan Supreme Court recently denied an appeal in Vrooman v Ford Motor Company where the employer sought unsuccessfully to reduce benefits by a worker’s theoretical wage earning capacity. For workers injured after December 19, 2011, the Michigan Legislature added language to the statute that specifically provides that  there can be no such reduction for workers engaged in a good faith job search.  If you are not receiving your full workers’ compensation benefits that pay up to 80% of your after tax lost wages, please contact us for assistance and advice regarding your own situation.(Feb 2014)

–Attorney Robert J. MacDonald