Court of Appeals analyzes wage loss claim where a job is pending at the time of injury
Joann Sparks was injured in a car wreck. She carried no fault insurance through Citizens Insurance Company. The no fault scheme does not allow compensation for loss of earning capacity, so an injury victim must plead and prove a "loss of income from work the insured would have performed, but for the injury." In prior cases, Michigan courts have rejected insurer efforts to deny wage loss claims to persons with concrete job prospects, but no binding employment agreement. The subject came up again with Ms. Sparks, who was under consideration for a job as a dental hygienist when she was hurt.
Testimony from the Office Manager at Dentistry, Inc., established that Sparks was an outstanding candidate for employment with excellent skills, perhaps the best candidate she had seen in 27 years. The Manager indicated she planned to work Ms. Sparks into the schedule as soon as she could. Citizens argued that since Sparks could not document a firm starting date or an exact wage, she had not met her burden of establishing a wage loss. The Court of Appeals disagreed and reversed the lower court's dismissal of Sparks' wage loss claim. Judge Christopher Murray would have denied her benefits.