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Grand Rapids Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

In Michigan, employees injured while performing their work duties are usually eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under the law. However, there are many complex issues that can sometimes delay an injured worker from receiving those much-needed benefits.

He did a stand-up job in settling my worker’s comp. claim for 3 times the amount the insurance company was initially offering.
– D. Laskowski

At Jay Trucks and Associates, we can explain the process and guide you through the entire application process. While we cannot guarantee the outcome, we can help you navigate the process and work to build a strong argument for your workers’ compensation claim.

Our Grand Rapids workers’ compensation lawyers have over 30 years of experience helping injured workers and their family members in Kent County and throughout Michigan state.

We have achieved more than $500 million in compensation for our clients during that time, including a $480,000 recovery for a pipefitter who suffered a serious closed head injury. We also recovered $450,000 for another worker who injured his eye in a work-related accident.

Learn how we help injured employees with their workers’ compensation claims through a free consultation. You are not obligated to hire us after this meeting, but we can assess whether you may have a valid workers’ compensation case and discuss your potential path for recovering workers’ compensation benefits.

There is no financial risk, as we operate on contingency. This means you pay no upfront costs and no fees unless our Grand Rapids workers’ compensation lawyers are successful in helping you recover your benefits.

Complete our Case Evaluation form today.

What Employees Are Covered By Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

The Workers’ Disability Compensation Act requires all employers in the state of Michigan to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have at least three workers on their payroll, or one full-time employee working a minimum of 35 hours each week. These employees are eligible to receive compensation for lost wages and medical bills for injuries that occurred while performing work-related duties.

An employee, as defined by the state, is one who receives regular payments for services performed.

What Employees Are Not Covered By Workers’ Comp?

Workers’ comp covers most Michigan workers. Under Michigan law, those who do not include:

  • Federal employees
  • Agriculture workers and farmers
  • Employees of a small business with fewer than three employees on the payroll
  • An independent contractor

Can Independent Contractors Recieve Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Those who provide services, such as independent contractors, are not protected by Michigan workers’ compensation law and cannot recover workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you are an independent contractor, you should talk with an experienced attorney because there are circumstances in which you may be eligible for wage loss benefits.

For example, if you an injured independent contractor, but your employer both directs your work and determines your work hours, you could still be considered an employee and thus be eligible for workers’ comp.

We strongly recommend that you contact a licensed workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your case. Our Grand Rapids workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to assess whether your employer misclassified you. If so, you may still be eligible to file Michigan workers’ compensation claims.

Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits if the Accident Was My Fault?

You do not have to prove negligence if you suffer a workplace injury while covered by worker’s compensation. Under workers’ compensation, the fault is irrelevant, so sharing the blame for an accident will not disqualify you from receiving medical or wage loss benefits. You do, however, need to prove your injury or occupational illness is work-related.

An experienced attorney knowledgeable about Michigan workers’ comp laws can determine whether you have a legitimate claim. They can help you navigate the process to better ensure you get the best possible outcome for your workers’ compensation injury.

Do All Work-Related Injuries Qualify for Workers Compensation Benefits?

While no one can guarantee the success of a workers’ compensation claim, if you sustained an injury or occupational illness while performing your duties as an employee and required more than simple first aid, it will likely be covered by Michigan’s workers’ compensation insurance. Injuries or illnesses that may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits include:

  • Workplace accidents that cause partial or full physical disability.
  • Preexisting injuries or conditions that are exacerbated by your work duties, such as aggravation of a back injury, acceleration of arthritis, degenerative heart disease, or certain mental disabilities.
  • Occupational diseases are also covered if they happen or arise out of your employment. For example, Michigan loggers who sustain occupational, dust-related diseases, such as silicosis can recover compensation for their work injury. Employers in the state contribute to a special fund for these employees to provide compensation. Repetitive use syndrome may also be considered an occupational condition for certain types of employees, such as warehouse workers suffering back injuries or clerical workers who sustained carpal tunnel syndrome on the job.

Contact our firm to learn how we may be able to help you with your workers’ comp claim: (800) 762-8623

Injuries While Commuting to and From Work

In most cases, you will not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you suffer an accident while going to work or taking your lunch break. There may be some exceptions to this rule, such as if you were traveling to a business meeting, work conference, or doing a work-related task during your normal hours of employment. Our Grand Rapids workers’ compensation lawyer can help determine whether you may still qualify for benefits in this type of situation.

In all workers’ compensation cases, whether due to a workplace injury, occupational disease, or an aggravated preexisting condition, you must still be able to prove it was work-related.

What Benefits Are There for Injured Workers?

The type of benefits you qualify for will depend on the nature and severity of your injury, and the success of your workers’ compensation claim. Benefits may include the following:

Medical Benefits

Workers’ compensation medical benefits cover all medical bills for treatment that is considered necessary for a work-related injury as long as the worker requires treatment. An injured worker with chronic illness or serious injury may be eligible for these benefits for several years or even for the rest of their life.

If you are an employee and suffer a qualifying work-related injury, you are eligible for full coverage of any necessary and reasonable medical treatment you need. Covered costs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Emergency medical care
  • Diagnostic testing, such as X-rays and MRIs
  • Surgical interventions
  • In-patient hospital stays
  • Mobility aids, such as crutches, walkers or wheelchairs
  • Prosthetics (artificial limbs)
  • Prescription medication related to your injuries
  • Hearing aid devices
  • Travel to and from your treatments
  • Other necessary doctor’s appointments

To be eligible for workers’ compensation and disability benefits, you must have a qualifying injury that lasts a minimum of seven days.

Partial Disability Lost Wages Benefit

You may be eligible for wage loss benefits if your injury results in a partial disability and you are unable to return to your previous job role or type of work.

Wage loss benefits provide wages for the duration of your disability that is equal to 80 percent of the difference between what you are able to earn after suffering your disability and what you previously earned before the accident or work-related illness.

In Michigan, there is a time limit to receiving workers’ compensation benefits for certain types of injuries, such as when a worker loses one or more fingers in a work-related injury. For example, if you lose a thumb, your benefits may continue for up to 65 weeks. However, if you lose a pinky finger, that benefit is covered for up to 16 weeks.

Compensation for Total Disability

Michigan law requires that total disability provide up to 80 percent of your former average weekly wage, with the maximum benefit that is equal to no more than 90 percent of the state’s average weekly wage.

Additional compensation limitations for disabled workers under Michigan law apply to certain injuries and medical conditions, including:

  • Loss of one or more limbs
  • Total loss of vision in both eyes
  • Incurable insanity
  • Loss of feet above the ankle
  • Total paralysis in both arms or legs, or a combination of the two
  • Loss of both hands above the wrist
  • Loss of any combination of limbs

According to Michigan Compiled Laws Section 418.351 total disabilities are paid up to a maximum of 800 weeks, at which time your condition is reassessed to determine whether you still qualify for a total permanent disability benefit.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Sometimes injured workers are not able to return to their former position or even the same field for which they have knowledge, skills, and experience. Vocational rehabilitation is intended to help workers under these circumstances by providing new training and skills for another position at the same company or a different career altogether. These benefits continue for up to one year.

Death Benefits

If a worker suffers a fatal injury or an occupational illness that ends in death, the worker’s dependents may be able to receive certain death benefits under workers’ compensation law.

Typically speaking, dependents may receive 80 percent of a deceased loved one’s average weekly salary. This benefit may continue for up to 500 weeks for adult dependents or longer for minor children. Additionally, funeral and burial costs must be provided by the employer, up to a maximum benefit of $6,000.

Jay Trucks & Associates. Call 24/7 to schedule your free consultation: (800) 762-8623.

How Do I Report an Injury?

After sustaining a work-related injury, you must notify your employer within 90 days from the date of the accident. If reporting an occupational illness or injury, you must report it to your employer within 90 days of the discovery or when you reasonably should have known. Waiting to report an accident or injury is always a bad idea because it makes your workplace injury seem less severe than it may be, and it also gives your employer a reason to argue that your injury may have not happened at work.

If the injury is a physical or mental incapacity, the filing deadline may be extended beyond 90 days. However, this is something to discuss with your workers’ compensation attorney. Even under these circumstances, the injured worker must still report it to his or her employer within two years of the date of their recovery.

The state requires employers to file Form WC-100 after you notify your employer of your injury and it is confirmed that your injury will last longer than a week. After the Form WC-100 is filed, the workers’ compensation provider will begin their review of your claim.

If your employer does not take proper steps to file this form, you may either call the Workers’ Compensation Disability Act office directly or submit notice to the Michigan workers’ compensation agency on your own using Form WC-117.

Can I Choose My Own Doctor?

Your employer can require you to see a doctor of his or her choosing for the first 28 days of your medical care. After that initial period, you may be able to choose a physician that you prefer for an independent medical examination, however, you must first notify your employer and workers’ compensation carrier in writing about your decision.

Michigan does not require pre-authorization to obtain treatment for your injuries from either your employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier. The only caveat is that the medical care you receive is considered reasonable and necessary for your recovery.

When Can I Expect My Benefits to Start?

Under Michigan law, you should receive benefits in a regular and timely manner once your claim is approved. Along with your wage loss benefits, all reasonable and related medical expenses throughout your recovery should also be covered.

You should begin receiving workers comp benefits checks for lost wages on the 14th day following your disability. If you do not receive your first check by day 30, it is considered late and you should follow up to find out what is causing the delay.

Call Jay Trucks and Associates to discuss your eligibility for benefits: (800) 762-8623

Is It Possible to Appeal a Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Sometimes claims are initially denied, either by an employer who may dispute that an injury is related to your work duties or by the workers’ compensation insurance provider. In either situation, you are within your rights to appeal by submitting Form WC-104C.

If the Michigan workers’ compensation agency believes it will be beneficial or your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, the agency will likely view your workers’ compensation claim through mediation. Your appeal may also go through mediation if you do not have legal representation, you only need benefits to cover medical costs, or you need vocational rehabilitation.

More complex cases are handled via magistrate docket, and all relevant parties will receive notice to attend that pre-trial appointment.

The appeal of a workers’ compensation claim is a complicated process that the licensed attorneys at our firm understand well, and we are prepared to utilize this in-depth knowledge of the law to help injured workers fight to overturn a denied claim.

Contact a Grand Rapids Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today

Whether you or a family member are newly injured or seeking to appeal a denial of your workers’ compensation benefits, our firm is available to help guide you through the process.

Our legal team at Jay Trucks and Associates has decades of legal experience, and we have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. We are dedicated to helping injured workers with their workers’ compensation claims so they can receive the benefits they need.

Read some of the testimonials from other satisfied clients, and then call to schedule your no-obligation, completely risk-free, and free consultation today. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs to worry about, and any legal fees are only paid after we are successful in recovering compensation for you.

Call Jay Trucks and Associates today: (800) 762-8623