Failure to address football player's wage loss warrants remand
Davis v. Event Staffing Inc., 23 MIWCLR 46 (Mich. W.C.A.C. 2009).
The Michigan Workers' Compensation Appellate Commission remanded a magistrate's closed award to a football player who injured his shoulder. The case was remanded to determine whether the football player's injury resulted in a wage loss.
What it means:
Under Michigan law, a seasonal employee needs to link his wage loss to his work-related injury. He is not automatically disqualified from receiving benefits because the season has ended.
An arena football player injured his shoulder from repetitive motion and increased throwing during training camp. The Michigan Workers' Compensation Appellate Commission determined that the football player suffered a compensable progressive injury. Furthermore, the commission determined that, although he held different jobs in the offseason, he was employed as a professional football player at the time of his injury.
The commission remanded the decision to determine whether the football player's wage loss was related to his injury. The commission found there were conflicting opinions below on the need to link wage loss to injury. The commission relied on a previously-issued Michigan court decision that clarified that the plaintiff must establish "that the disability resulted in a wage loss." The commission rejected the employer's argument that seasonal employees are not entitled to wage loss benefits after the end of the season. However, the football player was required to factually link his wage loss, during the season and after the end of the season, to his work-related injury. The employer argued the football player was not automatically disqualified from receiving wage loss benefits just because the season ended. The court held that temporary and seasonal workers have the same rights and obligations under the law as do permanent workers.
May 21, 2009
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