August 1, 2016
A union employee working as a pipeline worker for Michels Corporation, sustained a work injury described as an ACL tear of the right knee which the insurance carrier, Arch Insurance Company, accepted. The insurance carrier then filed a Suspension Petition in October 2013 alleging that the injured worker had returned to work at no loss of wages. In reality, the injured worker had returned to work but was making substantially less than his average weekly wage. The workers’ compensation carrier alleged he was making less because he kept turning down hours of work offered or was late to work. We filed a Penalty Petition for the insurance carrier’s illegal suspension of the employee’s wage loss benefits. The insurance carrier ultimately paid the injured worker for his back-owed partial compensation. While in litigation, the case ultimately settled the future benefits for $175,000 via a compromise and release. After settlement was reached, we filed a Penalty Petition because the insurance carrier failed to reimburse the injured worker for his past work-related travel mileage and had failed to pay him past due partial disability benefits that were due to him. The parties then entered into a Stipulation which paid the injured worker an additional $500 to resolve the Penalty Petition.