Supreme Court Repairs Workers’ Compensation

Court Removes Limitations Placed on Workers Comp Statute by Republican Lawmakers

The Michigan Supreme Court has recently decided three important cases involving the establishment of a new wage earning capacity based upon a return to work following a work related injury: Russell v. Whirlpool Financial Corp., 461 Mich. 579 (2000); McJunkin v. Cellasto Plastic Co., 461 Mich. 590 (2000); Perez v. Keeler Brass Co., 461 Mich. 602 (2000).

These cases undo the effect of Republican legislation which amended the Workers Compensation Act to severely limit benefits to those persons who return to work after an injury. The amendments denied benefits to those persons who are able to establish a new wage earning capacity, even if they remained disabled.

For example, persons with a serious back injury and surgery might be able to return to light work and, by learning new skills, bring their wages back to the same level as it was before their injury.

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