Flint hearing site to remain open

Michigan Court of Appeals affirms trial court’s writ of mandamus keeping Flint hearing site open.

We blogged in October 2012 about the Flint, MI hearing site being closed by the Michigan Administrative Hearing System (MAHS). All scheduled and future cases were to be moved to Dimondale, MI. This would have forced claimants to drive over 100 miles round-trip just to have their cases heard.

This closure was allegedly being done to save money. We considered it just another attack by a hostile administration. Reducing hearing locations will undoubtedly make it more difficult for injured workers to fight disputed claims.

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Medicaid expansion gets off to a fast start

Medicaid expansion helping tens of thousands who would otherwise be uninsured.

The Detroit Free Press has reported that 46,100 people have enrolled for Health Michigan since its launch last week. The State of Michigan created this plan extending Medicaid coverage to individuals making up to 133% of the federal poverty level. This was made possible with funding from the Affordable Care Act. Governor Rick Snyder has said he expects 320,000 residents to sign up in the first 12 months.

Posted in Help for injury victims, Medical benefits | Tagged , | 1 Comment

2013 Annual Report Released by Agency

Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency (WCA) releases its 2013 Annual Report and we provide some needed perspective.

There is no question that workers’ compensation has gone through many changes in the last several years. The Michigan Supreme Court has made it much harder for injured workers to prove disability. This has resulted in less filings and total cases have declined more than 50% since 2003. Supreme court decisions such as Stokes v Chrysler and Rakestraw v General Dynamics Land Systems overwhelmingly favor insurance companies and corporate interests.

Posted in Medical benefits, Michigan workers' comp law, Partial disability, Wage earning capacity, Wage loss, Wokers comp news | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The myth of the lazy injured worker

How misconceptions about workers’ compensation lead to discrimination against our clients.

Attorney Steve Gursten wrote an excellent blog post about jury bias and tort reform. He explains how insurance companies and corporate interests have spent tens of millions on propaganda to influence the public. This has resulted in misconceptions and half-truths regarding the civil justice system. Steve makes some great points and offers suggestions on how to fight the problem.

Insurance companies have also spent large sums of money trying to reform workers’ compensation. They would have you believe the system is in crisis despite Michigan premiums declining over 20% in the last 3 years.

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Debate about union membership for student athletes rages on

New developments in the ongoing saga of union membership for student athletes and what it could mean for workers’ compensation.

USA Today reports that the National Labor Relations Board has ruled Northwestern football players have the right to unionize. This landmark decision will most likely be appealed and the debate is far from over.

We have taken a special interest in this topic because student athletes are not considered employees for purposes of workers’ compensation. Union membership may change this fact and allow for  better medical coverage after graduation.

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Severe Weather Awareness Week (April 6 – 12)

Steps employers can take to prepare for severe weather in the workplace and avoid unnecessary work injuries.

The Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (MCSWA) formed in 1991 to encourage residents to be prepared in the event of severe weather. April 6-12 has been designated as Severe Weather Awareness Week.

We think it should be expanded to include businesses. Severe weather can happen any time and in different forms. This includes during working hours when employees are away from home. Here are some tips on being prepared and making the workplace safer.

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

New research shows employee happiness results in higher productivity.

Futurity published an interesting article last week regarding happiness in the workplace. Turns out that happy employees are more productive employees. You can see the findings by the Journal of Labor Economics here.

We are not surprised by these results and have long advocated for better conditions in the workplace. In fact, health and wellness programs have already been shown to decrease workers compensation costs across the board.

Keeping employees happy can also save on workers compensation costs. Here is how employers can treat people better after a work accident. This will improve company morale and reduce litigation costs.

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10 interview questions to find the best workers’ compensation attorney for your case

Interview questions to help select the best workers’ compensation attorney.

Following up on our recent guest post on Kevin Bunn’s NC workers’ comp blog. Here are 10 interview questions to use when searching for the best workers’ compensation attorney. We have included answers about our own practice underneath.

1. Do you specialize in workers’ compensation?

We represent injured and disabled workers exclusively. Our practice is devoted to helping those individuals obtain the best possible result.

2. How many years of experience do you have?

We have over 100 years of combined experience in workers’ compensation law. Our attorneys are considered experts in the field.

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Traverse City Hearing Site Moving

Workers’ compensation hearing site in Traverse City, MI moving to new address effective May 1, 2014.

We have received an important notice regarding the Traverse City hearing site.  It will be moving to a new address effective May 1, 2014.

Workers’ compensation hearings will now be held at 3333 Cass Rd, Traverse City, MI 49684. Magistrate Timmons has been assigned the docket.

Currently scheduled cases remain, just at this new hearing location.  Any questions concerning this move should be directed to the Agency.

This move affects all injuries arising in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, and Wexford counties.

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Local IME doctor approves all claims

Doctor hired by insurance company to perform 1258 independent medical examinations in one year finds disability in every case.

A Michigan doctor has been accused of approving too many workers’ comp claims. He was hired to perform 1258 independent medical examinations and the insurance company did not get what it expected.

“We use the same cut-off doctor for a reason,” said Ms. Crabapple, insurance adjuster.

“He took our money and we still have to pay workers’ comp benefits - we won’t be using this unethical doctor again,” said Mr. Moneybags, insurance company CEO.

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