Q. I was hurt on the job and every doctor I have seen has concluded that I am totally disabled; Social Security agreed and is paying me Social Security Disability Disability Benefits. The workers’ compensation carrier though is denying my claim for workers’ compensation by stating that I have a “wage earning capacity.” Is this right?
A. A workers’ compensation magistrate has the power to decide whether you are disabled and entitled to benefits. Unfortunately, the Snyder-appointed Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission which oversees the magistrates has recently been ruling that any doctors’ opinion that a worker is totally disabled amounts to ‘incompetent’ evidence, and that proving you have no wage earning capacity must be done by engaging in a job search and/or through the testimony of a vocational expert. This has never been the law in Michigan, but to secure benefits at least at the trial level, you and your attorney will probably want to develop and offer this kind of additional evidence. Please contact our office for assistance in filing an application for benefits and securing the benefits you deserve. (December 2013, 2015)