Workers’ Compensation Frequently Asked Questions

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What, exactly, is the Michigan Workers’ Compensation system?
If you live in Michigan and have been injured on the job or made ill due to your job, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.

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Who may be covered under Workers’ Compensation?
The following people may be covered under Workers’ Compensation benefits:

  • Federal employees such as postal workers or members of the military
  • Interstate rail workers
  • Seamen
  • Those who load and unload cargo from vessels

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What if I’m self-employed?
An owner is considered self-employed if their business is not a partnership or a corporation and is owned but just one person (a sole proprietorship). The Workers’ Disability Compensation Act covers employees of a sole proprietorship, but the person who owns the business, the sole proprietor, is not an employee of anyone and accordingly is not covered by the Act.

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Are independent contractors covered by workers’ compensation?
When one company hires another company to come in and do some work for them, the second company is generally considered an “independent contractor” and not an employee of the first company. There can be exceptions, however. Should a company hire one person to come in and perform a specific job, disputes can arise as to whether or not that person is an employee or an independent contractor. This would need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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Are all employers required to carry Workers’ Compensation?
If an employer has a certain number of employees, he/she may be required to have Workers’ Compensation insurance. If a private employer has three or more employees, he must carry Workers’ Comp. If an employer employs one or more workers for 35+ hours per week for 13 or more weeks, he must also have Workers’ Compensation insurance.

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Are there penalties if an employer does not obtain insurance or permission to be self-insured?
Penalties can be severe for failure of an employer to provide workers’ compensation coverage. For example, if a worker is injured, he or she may sue the employer for damages. If the employer was at fault for the injury, a large settlement may have to be paid by the employer. The Bureau of Workers’ & Unemployment Compensation has the authority to go to court and seek an order barring the company from employing any persons in their business until appropriate workers’ compensation insurance coverage has been obtained.The Bureau understands the potential consequences for employees whose employers do not carry appropriate workers’ compensation coverage and actively enforces the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act. Thus, the employer may be subject to a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for not less then 30 days or more than 6 months, or both. Each day for which the employer is uninsured is considered a separate offense.

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When and where are workers’ covered?
To be covered, the injury must happen at work. Workers’ compensation is designed to cover only injuries that “arise out of and in the course of the employment.” It is usually fairly obvious if the injury happened at work but there can be times when this becomes questionable.

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Are workers covered if they are injured working outside of the workplace?
All Workers’ Compensation cases are different. After a thorough review of your case, an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney such as the ones at Jay Trucks & Associates can advise you of your legal rights. It is just too difficult to predict whether or not you will be covered if your injury occurred outside the workplace without reviewing your case. If you are traveling on company business and are injured, your injuries will most likely be covered by Workers’ Compensation.

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How soon should I return to work?
In general, even though you may not be completely recovered, it can be to your advantage, and your employers’, to return to work and be given a job that you can do.

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Does my employer have to offer me a job?
Michigan state law does not require your employer to offer you a job following a workers’ compensation incident. However, most employers, if they are smart, will try to make work available if at all possible. Many employers in Michigan are finding that employee recovery times are shorter and costs lower if they are willing to make some changes to help their employees. This can be as simple as making a change in the person’s workstation or finding a new job the person can do. Most company’s find that the sooner an employee can get back to the job, the better off everyone is. These are just a few of the numerous questions that pertain to workers’ compensation coverage. For more detailed information, please email or call us.

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Recent Results
  • $2 million recovery

    Automobile accident caused by County Road Commission vehicle; GM worker suffered catastrophic injuries, including loss of an eye and traumatic brain injury.

  • $1 million recovery

    Automobile accident caused when company vehicle ran a stop sign, killing 17 year old female and her unborn fetus.

  • $935,000 recovery

    29 year old female who suffered multiple fractured bones when a commercial vehicle made a left hand turn into her lane.

  • $698,000 recovery

    55 year old tree cutter who suffered a closed head injury.

  • $620,000 (combined) recovery

    Motorcycle accident; 25 year GM worker husband suffered right humerus fracture and shoulder injury; medical receptionist wife suffered closed head injury and ankle fracture.

JT Newsletter - Volume 4 / Issue 9
Thu, 29 Sep 2011 19:26:50 GMT
JT Newsletter - Volume 4 / Issue 9
Thu, 29 Sep 2011 19:26:50 GMT
JT Newsletter - Volume 4 / Issue 9
Thu, 29 Sep 2011 19:26:50 GMT
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