Governor makes changes to workers compensation appeals

Michigan workers compensation attorney explains how a recent executive order eliminates the Workers Compensation Appellate Commission and creates the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission.

Governor Rick Snyder has issued an executive order changing how workers compensation cases are appealed.  The Workers Compensation Appellate Commission has been replaced by the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission.

Why the change

The Governor in his executive budget for 2012 and 2013 proposed eliminating the Workers Compensation Appellate Commission entirely as a cost saving measure.  In his own words:

“The Governor streamlines the state’s worker compensation dispute resolution process by eliminating the Workers’ Compensation Appellate Commission, saving nearly $1.2 million general fund annually. The number of cases reaching the commission declined by 68 percent over the last ten years to 173 in 2010. Employers and employees may appeal Board of Magistrates decisions to the Court of Appeals.”

What is actually happening

A new entity has been created to hear appeals for both workers compensation and unemployment cases. All authority, powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities for both the Workers Compensation Appellate Commission and the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review have been consolidated into the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission.

The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission shall consist of nine members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.  It is unknown whether nine new appointments will be made or if some existing commissioners will be transferred to this new entity.

How this change affects workers compensation

Both employers and employees have the right to appeal any unfavorable decision from the Board of Magistrates.  The role of the Workers Compensation Appellate Commission is to hear these appeals.

The Workers Compensation Appellate Commission reviews trial transcripts, depositions, and briefs but does not hold a new hearing.  If it is found that the magistrate’s decision is supported by substantial evidence and free of legal errors, then it will not be disturbed.

The new Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission should perform essentially the same role.  The only difference is that it will also hear appeals for unemployment cases. All prior rules, orders, opinions, contracts, and agreements are transferred and shall continue to be effective until revised, amended, or rescinded.

The increased case load from consolidation and the fact that workers compensation is a specialized area of the law create concerns.  It remains to be seen if this change will slow down the workers compensation appeals process or hurt the quality of decisions.

To speak with one of our workers compensation attorneys, call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation. There is no fee unless workers comp benefits are recovered for you.

Alex Berman is the founder of the law firm. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years.  Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to review a case.

Related information:

FAQs about workers compensation

Workers compensation benefits denied

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05/01/2011
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