Disability lawyer explains how Michigan workers comp law is your exclusive remedy for a work-related injury.
Most people have heard of workers comp but few understand what it really pays. Here is some information about the workers comp law to help protect you and your family.
Workers comp is a type of insurance that most employers are required to purchase by law. Your employer pays the cost of this insurance and it is intended to protect both of you in the event of a work injury.
Michigan adopted its first workers comp law in 1912. It was designed as a compromise between employee and employer interests. Employees gave up the right to sue in civil court in exchange for guaranteed and limited benefits.
Today, the workers comp law is your exclusive remedy against your employer for an injury at work. This means that your employer is protected from getting sued but must pay workers comp benefits.
What the Michigan workers comp law pays
The workers comp law requires payment of benefits regardless of how a person was hurt. Medical care and lost wages are the primary benefits that you should know about.
An employer or its workers comp insurance carrier must pay all reasonable and necessary medical care for a work-related injury. Medical care is unlimited and can be paid for life if necessary. Insurance companies frequently dispute what is reasonable and necessary medical care under the workers comp law. This is especially true if you have a preexisting condition or if there is a dispute about your medical condition.
Workers comp law also pays lost wages to individuals who are disabled. Lost wages will be calculated based upon a percentage of your average weekly wage. Generally, this works out to be 60% of your gross income. Many disputes over lost wages occur because your employer or its insurance company believe you can return to work. These benefits are also capped at $742.00 per week for the year 2011 regardless of how much you were earning.
How the Michigan workers comp law might change
Some employers and insurance companies are arguing that lost wages should be reduced based upon wage earning capacity. This means that if you retain the ability to work somewhere else, your benefits will be cut below the 60% benefit rate.
This is unfair because wage earning capacity is based upon hypothetical jobs that may or may not be available. The current law already allows for a reduction if you can find other work or if you refuse reasonable employment. The Michigan Legislature is currently exploring this issue and you should contact your state representative to oppose this change.
You should talk with an experienced workers comp lawyer if you have been denied medical care or lost wages. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation and to learn about your legal rights.
– Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. Hes 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.
– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by umjanedoan.