In Michigan, employees who get 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 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 workers’ compensation application process. While we cannot guarantee the outcome, we can guide you through the process and work to build a strong argument for your claim.
Our Grand Rapids workers compensation lawyers have over 30 years of experience helping workers and other injured victims 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 more about how we help injured employees in the free consultation we offer. You are not obligated to hire us after this meeting, but we can assess whether you may have a valid case and discuss your potential path for recovering workers’ compensation benefits. There is no financial risk, as we operate on contingency. This means no upfront costs and no fees unless we are successful in helping you recover your benefits.
Complete our Case Evaluation form today.
What Employees Are Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
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 costs for injuries that occurred while performing work-related duties.
An employee, as defined by the state, is one who receives regular pay for services performed. Those who provide services as an independent contractor are not protected by this law and cannot recover workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are an injured as an independent contractor, but your employer both directs your work and determines your work hours, we recommend that you contact a licensed attorney. Our Grand Rapids workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to assess whether you were misclassified by your employer. If so, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
If you suffer a work-related injury and are covered by worker’s compensation, you do not have to prove negligence. Under workers’ compensation, fault is irrelevant, so sharing blame for an accident will not disqualify you from receiving benefits. You do, however, need to prove your injury or occupational illness is work-related.
Do All Work-Related Injuries Qualify for Benefits?
While no one can guarantee approval, 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 could 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. 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 attorneys 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?
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 lost wages benefits if your injury results in a partial disability and you are unable to return to your previous job role or type of work.
This benefit provides wages for the duration of your disability that are 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 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
Total disability provides 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 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 418.351, benefits for permanent 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.
Sometimes 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.
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 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 the 90 days. However, this is something to discuss with your lawyer. Even under these circumstances, the injured worker must still report it to his or her employer within two years of the date of your 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 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 carrier 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, however you must first notify your employer and workers’ compensation insurer, in writing, about your decision.
Michigan does not require pre-authorization to obtain treatment for your injuries from either your employer or workers’ compensation carrier. The only caveat is that the medical care is considered reasonable and necessary for your recovery.
When Can I Expect My Benefits to Start?
Under state law, you should receive your payments in a regular and timely manner once your claim is approved. Along with your loss of income benefits, all reasonable and related medical costs throughout your recovery should also be covered.
You should begin receiving 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 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.
Your form will likely be reviewed through mediation if the Workers’ Compensation Agency believes it will be beneficial or if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance. 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 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 you fight to overturn a denied claim.
Contact a Grand Rapids Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Whether you 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 the injured 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 zero-cost consultation. 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