Workman Comp Lawyer: When Injured Employee Doesn’t Need To Do Weekly Work Search

Texas compensation rules, rest on basic ideas of what’s fair. But to be sure one woman protected her rights, the injured worker also needed the help of a Workman Comp Lawyer, when her employer’s insurance company tried to avoid paying full benefits. The employer’s insurance company appealed a decision, won by the injured employee’s Workman Comp Lawyer, about whether the worker could have made more money at another job, with more hours. The hearing officer had settled the dispute by agreeing, the employee’s Lawyer had proven, a right to all the supplemental income benefits (or SIBs) the worker had received.

On appeal, the only issue the insurer could raise was about the amount of time the worker was physically able to work. The injured worker, emphasized the Workman Comp Lawyer, for six months, was able to work only at most 20 hours per week (4 hours per day, 5 days per week), getting $200 per month as a private health aide nurse. Six months later, the injured worker’s position became full-time (8 hours per day and 5 days per week), and she began receiving $400 per month. The insurance company argued the hearing officer’s decision about the employee’s having searched for work the last six months. The Lawyer succeeded in defending the facts of the injured worker’s search, meeting the good faith requirement to find equal work. Sometimes, the Workman Comp Lawyer proved, the worker was just unable to physically work more than she did.

The Workman Comp Lawyer emphasized exactly how and when Texas workers comp rules define a “good faith” effort to get work. There were, for example, those basic issues of fairness …most of all, the issue of recognizing the injured employee’s ability to work. The insurance company tried to prove (and couldn’t, because of the Workman Comp Lawyer) that the hearing officer was wrong in finding the injured worker had done “relatively equal” work. The big issues, according to the insurer, were (a) the lower weekly hours and (b) the fact that she didn’t (again: conceded by the Workman Comp Lawyer) search for work each week.

Workman Comp Lawyer: An Injured Employee’s “Ability” To Work Is The Key

The Workman Comp Lawyer proved the insurer was emphasizing the wrong things. The correct focus was on the hours worked due to the ability to work, not on the wages paid. In this case, the hearing officer agreed with the Workman Comp Lawyer that the injured worker returned to work “within her restrictions.” That decision was supported by plenty of evidence. The Workman Comp Lawyer pointed out that Texas law doesn’t mean an injured worker must work in a relatively equal position during each and every week, to prove good faith. The disability is the focus for this case. This is also why an injured worker needs to speak with a Workman Comp Lawyer as soon as possible, to be sure these technical rules about “good faith” are followed.

In this case, the injured worker had returned to work in a job relatively equal to her ability to work. She wasn’t also required to conduct a job search, in order to satisfy the good faith requirement. The hearing officer agreed with the Workman Comp Lawyer that the injured worker’s “underemployment was a direct result” of the impairment, caused by the workplace injury.

Finally, the insurance company challenged what’s called the hearing officer’s direct result decision. Texas law, noted the Workman Comp Lawyer , says that “[a]n injured employee has earned less than 80% of the employee’s average weekly wage as a direct result…if the impairment (caused) the reduced earnings.” In this case, the Workman Comp Lawyer had also proved the lower wages, as a direct result of a serious workplace injury.  It was proved the injured worker had severe physical limits. Because of these proven limits, she simply couldn’t do the job she had, at the time of her injury. The Workman Comp Lawyer had made sure the worker’s award was upheld.

An injured worker can count on an experienced Workman Comp Lawyer to explain the requirements of a good faith job search. When an employer or their insurer suggests there hasn’t been a “good faith” job search, or a failure to earn more money, it’s absolutely urgent for a worker to be sure to understand their rights, and talk to a knowledgeable Workman Comp Lawyer.