The Honorable Ralph Humphries entered a Final Compensation Order on February 23, 2018 denying temporary partial disability benefits. Following the claimant’s compensable accident, the employer repeatedly offered the claimant work by way of certified letters and verbal conversations. The claimant contended that the specific jobs offered were outside of the work restrictions assigned by his authorized treating physicians and filed a petition for benefits requesting temporary disability benefits. Our client denied the benefits by asserting an affirmative defense based on voluntary limitation of income. Partner Blake Hood, Esquire, defended the employer/carrier.
Following the deposition of the employer representative and the authorized treating physician, a final merit hearing was held on February 12, 2018 at which the claimant as well as the employer testified live. Voluntary limitation of income defenses can be difficult to defend due to the fact that employer/carriers bear the burden of proving that work was actually offered to injured workers (rather than showing that work would have been available) and that the work is suitable to their restrictions. In this case, however, we were able to demonstrate that the employer and carrier diligently documented their efforts to offer suitable work as well as the claimant’s refusal to accept the same.