Workers comp for individuals with paralysis

Michigan workers comp lawyer explains how conditions such as paraplegia or quadriplegia can result in additional workers comp benefits including home and vehicle modification.

The most serious work injury that a person can suffer is the loss of use of limbs or torso. These types of spinal injuries can result in lifetime medical expenses including 24 hour attendant care.

Insurance companies try to save money on these claims at your expense.  This results in you not being told about all the workers comp benefits available under the law.

Attendant Care

The insurance company must pay for the cost of attendant care from a nurse or other skilled individual.  This is to help you with activities of daily living.  Some examples include assistance with mobility, bathing, using the bathroom, eating, dressing, and taking medications.

Family members can also get paid up to 56 hours per week for providing attendant care. A spouse, brother, sister, child, parent or any combination of these persons can receive payment directly from workers comp. 

Insurance companies will tell you that you are limited to 56 hours of attendant care per week.  This is not true because the 56 hour maximum only applies to family members.  If you need more than 56 hours per week, the insurance company must hire a professional to make up the difference.

It is also common for insurance companies to pay an incorrect hourly rate to a family member who is providing attendant care. Some insurance companies have been known to tell family members that it is their moral duty to help and will offer a nominal hourly rate to do so.  A family member is generally entitled to the same hourly rate as a professional and should be paid accordingly.

Home and Vehicle Modification

You are entitled to home modifications. This could include widening hallways and doors or installing a wheelchair accessible bathroom or kitchen. Sometimes it is more cost efficient to buy or construct a new home.

Don’t let the insurance company get away with not making all of the necessary modifications to your home. We recently represented an individual who could not access the lower level of his house because of his wheelchair and needed home modifications.  He was also not provided with a generator that was ordered by his doctor to prevent power outages.  These items should have been paid by workers comp.

The insurance company must also pay to have your automobile modified. This includes installing a power ramp for a wheelchair or hand controls so you can drive.  The insurance company does not have to purchase you a vehicle but it must make the necessary modifications.

Workers Comp Settlement

Sometimes an injured worker wants to settle his workers comp claim for a lump sum payment and do his own medical treatment.  This typically occurs when a family member is providing all the attendant care or when the injured worker can better manage his or her finances without interference from the insurance company.

An experienced workers comp lawyer will always be able to negotiate a larger settlement.  This is because a good workers comp lawyer understands what benefits are available and how the insurance company sets its reserves.  Timing is everything and it is critical to recognize how much an insurance company will really pay.

We recently represented an individual from Oakland County, MI who was a quadriplegic and was considering settling his workers comp claim.  The insurance company offered over a million dollars more once we appeared on the case.

To speak with one of our workers comp lawyers, call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation. There is no fee unless workers comp benefits are recovered for you.  We will fight to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

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 evaluate a case.

Related Information:

Video: Injured at work? Advice from a Michigan workers comp lawyer

Maximum attorney fee for a workers compensation case

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by leyla.a.

05/01/2011
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