McConnelee v. Consumers Energy Co., 23 MIWCLR 165 (Mich. W.C.A.C. 2009).
Ruling: The Michigan Workers' Compensation Appellate Commission reversed an award of wage-loss benefits for a bicep injury. The worker failed to prove a work-related disability or a work-related wage loss.
What it means: In Michigan, a worker is not entitled to wage-loss benefits when his DUI conviction causes him to lose wage-earning capacity and causes his wage loss even though he suffered a work injury but returns to his employment.
Summary: The worker suffered an injury to his bicep tendon while climbing a pole at work. His doctor allowed him to continue working, but the plaintiff testified that his coworkers assisted him and the work caused him pain. The worker lost his driver's license due to multiple DUI driving infractions. When he left work, he signed a last chance agreement with the employer that allowed him 90 days to find alternative employment within the company, restore his driver's license, or resign his employment. He located a job that he could perform at the employer's pump storage facility, but he was not hired because the job required a driver's license. In reversing his benefits award, the Michigan Workers' Compensation Appellate Commission explained that the worker failed to prove his work injury caused either disability or wage loss. Instead, the evidence showed that his DUI conviction caused him to lose wage-earning capacity and also caused his wage loss. The worker offered no evidence to the contrary. The commission reversed his award of benefits.
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October 12, 2009
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