How a work injury could cost you money in the future

Michigan work injury lawyer explains how proposed changes to the workers comp law could literally take money out of your pocket.

We have blogged before about proposed changes to the workers compensation law.  Certain special interest groups are trying to convince our legislators that work comp reform is needed.

This is really just a money grab and a shifting of costs to the state. When employees cannot get workers comp benefits, they will turn to unemployment and state assistance.

Special interest groups want to change the current law which allows for a reduction of wage loss benefits based upon what a person is able to earn and replace it with a reduction based upon a hypothetical ability to earn.

This change will take away the incentive that employers have to bring employees back to work and will unfairly reduce wage loss benefits based upon a job that may or may not exist. For low wage earning individuals this change will be absolutely devastating.

How the proposed changes could work

Mr. Smith is a 45 year old man who works as a stock person in a retail store. He injured his back while lifting a heavy crate and has permanent restrictions of no lifting over 10 pounds. His employer cannot accommodate his restrictions and tells him to file a workers comp claim.

Mr. Smith was earning 12.00 per hour on a full-time basis. His average weekly wage was $480.00 and his workers comp rate is $301.54 per week.

Mr. Smith has always done physical work and cannot find a job within his restrictions. He asks his employer to be retrained so he can do something else for the company.

A vocational counselor is assigned and it is determined that he could work as a telemarketer earning $16.00 per hour if certain sales goals are met. No such job is actually located and his workers comp rate is reduced to $0.00 based upon his hypothetical ability to earn wages.

The employer and its insurance company then seek recoupment for the weekly benefits they have already paid. Mr. Smith cannot find a lawyer to represent him because his workers comp claim is worthless.

Mr. Smith abandons his workers comp claim and files for unemployment. He is denied unemployment because it is determined that he cannot actually work. He then applies for food stamps and state assistance. Mr. Smith is forced to file bankruptcy and loses his home to foreclosure.

You can stop House Bill No. 5002

Now is the time to call your state legislators and tell them to protect your workers comp rights. Tell them how these changes will cause real hardship in your life. Do not suffer in fear and silence.

We stand ready to help you with your workers comp claims. Call (855) 221-2667 to speak with one of our workers comp lawyers. We will do everything possible to help protect your legal rights.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. 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:

House Bill 5002 (2011)

Find a Michigan House Representative

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by danielmoyle.

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