We find that our clients are more comfortable with the legal process when they know what to expect. Below you can read about each phase of a workers compensation case in Michigan and what your lawyer can do to speed up the process.
To speak with a workers comp attorney today, call us at (855) 221-COMP, or you can fill out our consultation form. The call and the advice are free, and we're always here to answer all of your questions.
File a workers compensation case
Insurance companies are counting on the fact that most people will not fight a bad decision. We believe that you should challenge any decision that unfairly denies your workers compensation benefits. A workers comp attorney can do this for you. After your workers comp attorney files a case, you must take part in several hearings that will determine whether or not you can receive workers compensation.
Preparing for trial
The best way to win your workers compensation case is to be prepared for trial. An employer or its insurance company will only pay a fair settlement if they know you are serious. Outlined below are the important hearings that you should know about to protect your legal rights.
You will receive a notice of pretrial a few weeks after your workers compensation case is filed. If you are represented by a workers comp attorney, you do not need to attend the pretrial hearing. The magistrate assigned to your case will take no action other than setting a new hearing date.
Some workers compensation cases will not be set for pretrial, but will be scheduled for mediation. This usually occurs when the issues in the case appear to involve only medical benefits or a small amount of wage loss benefits. Mediation is an informal process where a state facilitator will attempt to bring the parties together in the hopes of resolving their differences. If mediation is not successful, the case will be assigned to a magistrate for further action.
A control date is a type of hearing where both parties to a workers compensation case appear in court with the magistrate to ensure that all medical has been exchanged and that the case is moving toward resolution. Control dates happen every 60 days and several are needed before a magistrate will set a firm trial date. These hearings are very important because they give both sides the opportunity to develop the issues and discuss resolution.
Most workers compensation cases must go through facilitation before trial can begin. Facilitation gives both sides the opportunity to informally present their arguments to another magistrate who will not be deciding the case. The magistrate will attempt to come up with a dollar amount for settlement. Many workers compensation cases are resolved through facilitation, but neither side has to accept the amount suggested by the magistrate.
This is a formal hearing before a magistrate who will hear evidence and make a determination as to the facts and law. Witness testimony will be taken under oath and is always recorded. Other evidence submitted at trial includes medical records and deposition testimony from doctors and vocational experts. Trial can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Even if your case is scheduled for trial on a specific day, the magistrate may order the parties to come back on another day.
A workers compensation magistrate can only award workers compensation benefits. You will not receive compensation for pain and suffering or any punitive damages. Most open awards are appealed. This process takes years and you might be required to come back to court for additional testimony. You will only receive 70 percent of your current weekly benefits while your case is on appeal. All current reasonable and necessary medical expenses will be paid.
Here's more information on what Michigan workers compensation will pay if you win.
If you decide to settle your workers compensation case, it must be approved by a magistrate at a redemption hearing. The magistrate will be given a brief explanation as to why the case is being settled. The magistrate will also want to hear that you understand what benefits are being given up as part of the settlement.
Speeding up your case
There are some ways to speed up resolution of a workers compensation case in Michigan. There is a provision in the law that allows for an immediate trial if you were receiving wage loss benefits and they were terminated within the last 60 days. An experienced workers comp attorney can use this fact to put pressure on the insurance company to settle the case quickly or resume benefits voluntarily.
To speak with one of our attorneys today, call us at (855) 221-COMP, or fill out our free contact form.
We have been protecting injured workers like you for more than 35 years. Our workers comp attorneys can get you all of the workers comp benefits you're entitled to, and we will do everything it takes to speed up your case — so you can focus on recovering.