When an employee gets injured on the job, he or she may assume Michigan’s workers’ compensation system will take care of it. However, the process is often more time-consuming and complicated than many injured workers expect.
Todd Trucks did a great job and was a good friend to me throughout my worker’s compensation claim….
– R. Deming
Jay Trucks and Associates’ licensed Clare workers’ compensation lawyers have a proven track record of recovering benefits for injured workers, including $480,000 recovered for a pipefitter who suffered a severe closed head injury in a work accident and a $450,000 recovery for a 51 year old worker that sustained an eye injury. Over more than three decades, our firm has obtained more than $500 million in compensation on behalf of our clients.
A free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys is free of charge and comes with no obligation to take legal action. We do not get paid unless our clients are paid. There is no risk to you in calling us.
Jay Truck and Associates. Ph: (800) 762-8623.
Who is Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Michigan?
Employers that have three or more employees or one employee working 35 hours or more each week must purchase workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage provides compensation to employees who suffer a personal injury “arising out of and in the course of employment,” according to Michigan’s Workers’ Disability Compensation Act.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so it does not matter who caused the injury. You may be responsible for it, but you should receive benefits if you can prove the injury is directly related to your job.
What About Occupational Diseases?
A personal injury can also be a disease or disability that is a result of conditions specific to your job, also known as an occupational disease. This definition excludes diseases the public is generally exposed to outside of the workplace, like the flu.
All employers in Michigan contribute to a special fund to provide compensation to employees who suffer certain dust-related diseases or injuries while doing certain types of work in the logging industry. For example, this fund provides special protection for foundry workers who develop silicosis.
If you have a dust-related disease, you should meet with an experienced Clare workers’ compensation lawyer to learn more about benefits you may be eligible to receive.
What About Preexisting Injuries?
You may also be able to obtain benefits if a preexisting injury or illness becomes aggravated or accelerated by your employment. Examples of preexisting conditions that could be accelerated by employment include mental disabilities, arthritis and heart conditions.
However, there are specific requirements for obtaining coverage, such as proving your condition was significantly aggravated. If you are pursuing compensation for a mental disability, you must show it is a result of events during your employment.
We Only Get Paid When We Win. (800) 762-8623
Independent Contractors and Workers’ Compensation
The workers’ compensation system covers employees only. Independent contractors are not covered.
The problem is employers often classify workers as independent contractors when they should employees. Employers do this to avoid the expense of workers’ compensation insurance for employees.
If you have reason to believe you are in this situation, call our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys in Clare for a free consultation.
We are ready to review how your employer controls the work you do to determine if you should be considered an employee. Some of the factors we may consider include:
- If your hours worked were determined by your employer
- If your employer decided how your work should be completed
- Who supplied tools and equipment used to complete your work?
- How were paid when you completed work?
What if I Was Injured Offsite?
Injuries that occur while you are commuting to or from work are generally not covered by Michigan’s workers’ compensation system. However, if travel is required, such as a business trip, you are likely covered when you are traveling, unless you deviated from the business purpose of your trip.
You may also be covered for offsite activities that are directly related to your job. If an injury occurs during an event or situation whose primary purpose is social or recreational, the injury is not covered. That means injuries at holiday parties or company picnics are probably not covered.
As this can be a complex and confusing issue, it is generally best to talk to a qualified lawyer about it.
Free Consultation. Ph: (800) 762-8623.
Benefits for Injured Workers
If you suffer a qualifying injury, Michigan law says you are eligible for coverage for all medical care that is reasonable and necessary for the treatment of your injury. Reasonable and necessary medical care may include things like:
- Treatment at a hospital or emergency room
- Dental care
- Artificial limbs
- Hearing aids
If your injury or disability lasts at least seven days, you are eligible for disability benefits to replace lost wages.
If you can still work in some capacity while recovering, you may be eligible for compensation equaling 80 percent of the difference between your current earning capacity and your earning capacity before the accident.
Michigan has a schedule to determine how long wage loss benefits should be paid when workers suffer certain injuries. For example, the schedule for the loss of fingers is as follows:
- Thumb – 65 weeks
- Index finger – 38 weeks
- Middle finger – 33 weeks
- Ring finger – 22 weeks
- Pinkie finger – 16 weeks
When an injury is severe it prevents you from working in any capacity, either temporarily, or for the rest of your life, you may be eligible for total disability benefits. However, state law limits permanent and total disability to one or more of the following conditions:
- Loss of sight in both eyes
- Loss of both legs
- Loss of feet above the ankle
- Loss of both arms
- Loss of both hands at or above the wrist
- Loss of any combination of the limbs/functions in the bullets above
- Permanent, complete paralysis in both legs or arms, or one leg and one arm
- Incurable insanity
In these situations, workers are eligible for 80 percent of their average weekly wage from before their injury. Total disability is subject to a limit of 90 percent of the state’s average weekly wage.
These benefits are paid out for the duration of your disability. If your disability continues for 800 weeks, a determination will be made about whether you are still permanently and totally disabled (Michigan Compiled Laws 418.351).
If you lost a loved one because of a work injury, and you or others were wholly dependent on his or her earnings for support, you may be eligible for weekly payments of 80 percent of your loved one’s average weekly wage, subject to a maximum of 90 percent of the state average weekly wage. These benefits are paid for a maximum of 500 weeks from the date of death.
At the end of the 500 weeks, if anyone wholly or partially dependent on the deceased is under 21 years of age, a workers’ compensation magistrate has the authority to order the employer to continue to provide benefits until the individual turns 21.
Employers must also provide compensation for reasonable expenses for the funeral and burial, not to exceed $6,000, or the actual cost, whichever amount is less.
If you are no longer able to perform work in the field in which you have experience and have been trained, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services that are reasonable and necessary to allow you to return to useful employment. This may include retraining and job placement.
These services cannot be provided for more than 52 weeks, unless it is a special situation.
Free Consultation. Ph: (800) 762-8623.
Reporting a Work Injury
You must report an injury to your employer within 90 days of it occurring, or 90 days from the date when you knew or should have known about the injury. However, it is generally best to report an injury or disability as soon as possible to get the process started. If you wait, your employer may question whether your injury is connected to your job.
There is an exception to this 90-day deadline for physical or mental incapacity. An injury must be reported within two years of the date you are no longer physically or mentally incapacitated.
Your employer should have a procedure for reporting a work injury if your business office is closed.
Once notified of an injury, your employer must file Form WC-100 if it looks like the injury will last more than a week. Once the form is filed, the insurance company begins an investigation.
If for some reason your employer does not file a claim, you can do so yourself. File Form WC-117 so your employer’s insurance carrier will be notified.
You must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the date of the injury.
Can I Be Treated by My Regular Doctor?
For the first four weeks (28 days) of your treatment, your employer chooses your doctor. Once those 28 days pass, you can change doctors by asking your employer and its insurance company in writing.
Michigan law does not require injured workers to obtain authorization from the insurance company or employer to receive treatment, provided treatment is reasonably necessary.
Have questions? We have answers. Ph: (800) 762-8623.
When Are Benefits Paid Out?
The law requires prompt, regular payment of benefits employees are eligible to receive. They must cover medical bills for any reasonable, necessary treatment.
Wage loss benefits are paid on the 14th day you are disabled. Benefit checks are late if they are not received within 30 days of the due date.
What Happens if My Claim is Denied?
When a dispute arises between you and your employer or its workers’ compensation carrier, you can file Form WC-104C.
You will go through mediation if your claim fits the following criteria:
- You are seeking medical benefits only
- You are not being represented by an attorney
- The Workers’ Compensation Agency determines mediation may resolve the dispute
- You are seeking vocational rehabilitation only
- Your employer lacks workers’ compensation insurance
Otherwise, your case will be sent to magistrate’s docket and the relevant parties will be served with notice of the date, time and location of a pre-trial meeting.
Our attorneys have detailed knowledge of this process and what it often takes to overturn a denial of a workers’ compensation claim. We are prepare to guide you each step of the way.
Call a Licensed Clare Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
Has your claim been denied?
Are you involved in a dispute with your employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier?
Our experienced attorneys may be able to assist you in pursuing benefits for your injury or illness. Schedule your free consultation today to find out how we may be able to assist you. There is no obligation to take legal action and there are no legal fees unless we recover compensation.
In 30 years serving Michigan residents, we have been able to recover more than $500 million in compensation, including millions for injured workers, including a $300,000 recovery for a mechanic who suffered a lower back injury.
Call a Clare workers’ compensation lawyer at (800) 762-8623. No upfront cost or obligation.
Jay Trucks & Associates –
Michigan’s Lawyers For The Injured