Case name: Sutkowl v. General Motors Corp., 24 MIWCLR 6 (Mich. W.C.A.C. 2010).
Ruling: The Michigan Workers' Compensation Appellate Commission affirmed a decision awarding benefits to a worker beginning the day after he had surgery. Specifically, the worker's voluntary removal from the workforce ended when the worker underwent surgery that totally incapacitated him.
What it means: Under Michigan law, reinstatement of disability benefits is required when an employee ends a period of unreasonable refusal of work. In this case, the worker's surgery, which totally incapacitated him, satisfied the requirement that his removal from the workforce was no longer voluntary. Therefore, the suspension of benefits had to be lifted as of that date.
Summary: A worker suffered a compensable injury to his knee and hips and was awarded medical care and wage loss benefits. He unreasonably refused an offer of work within his restrictions, and his benefits were suspended. He later underwent surgery which incapacitated him. His benefits were reinstated based on his total incapacitation. The employer argued that the award of benefits was an error because the worker had not made an affirmative good-faith rescission of his refusal to perform reasonable employment. In rejecting this argument, the commission explained that the worker's surgical procedure supplied the "good and reasonable cause." Therefore, the period of refusal ended on the date of the surgery.
Read more at the WORKERSCOMP ForumTM homepage.
April 15, 2010
Copyright 2010© LRP Publications