Norfolk, VA. Joe Miller Recently negotiated a six-figure settlement for a 46-year-old sales estimator who fell from a roof, causing him to suffer severe injuries to his left hip and femur, and requiring him to undergo surgery and placement of screws to repair the femur. Prior to hiring Mr. Miller, the worker received permanent light duty restrictions from his doctor. He obtained a Virginia Workers Compensation Award; however, he then returned to a light duty job with the employer earning substantially less than his pre-injury wage.

The worker’s compensation carrier continued to pay the worker his temporary partial disability compensation; however, this all stopped when, during vocational rehabilitations efforts, an offhand comment at an interview resulted in his checks being cut off.

The injured worker was already working 40 hours per week in his light duty job; however since it did not appear that his doctor had specifically stated he was limited to 40 hours per week, the employer attempted to find additional, weekend work for the worker, to reduce the carrier’s obligation to pay temporary partial disability.  When, at an interview, a potential employer made an offhand comment, inquiring if the injured employee could work weekends, he stated ‘no.’ This was interpreted as an unjustified refusal to work, and his checks were immediately suspended.

Joe Miller was able to obtain a clarification from the treating physician that, in fact, he was restricting the employee to 40 hours per week. In the end, the carrier knew they had a losing case and the parties were able to negotiate a settlement in advance of the hearing before the Commission.