The coming COMPapocalypse

Michigan workers comp attorney explains how House Bill 5002 will break the system if a reduction for virtual wages is allowed.

House Bill 5002 is a disaster waiting to happen. This legislation will wreck the workers comp system by flooding it with thousands of new cases. People who have never even considered filing a case or hiring a lawyer will now do so because their workers comp benefits have been unfairly reduced or stopped.

Put away the moral and ethical issues surrounding whether or not we should cut someone’s benefits based upon wages that are not actually earned. Try to forget the fact that these “reasonably available” jobs are not actually offered and may not even exist. Simply look at how virtual wages will affect the workers comp system.

Virtual wages and workers comp

House Bill 5002 allows an employer or insurance company to unilaterally stop or reduce workers comp benefits based upon a hypothetical wage earning capacity.  The burden is then on the injured worker to file a workers comp case and prove entitlement to full benefits.

The proponents of House Bill 5002 maintain that this won’t happen. This is either political doublespeak or complete naivety. What are insurance companies and big employers going to do with their new found power? They are going to reduce the workers comp rate in every claim.

Disputed cases and Workers Compensation Agency resources

According to the 2010 Notice of Dispute Report, published by the Workers Compensation Agency, there were 18,848 voluntary payment claims. 2,022 or 10.7% of those claims were later disputed by the employer or insurance company.

How many more disputes will be filed once the comp rate is a question of fact in every claim? What percentage of these disputes will become litigated cases? If insurance companies and employers dispute the rate in just 50% of their voluntary payment claims, this will result in thousands of new cases flooding into the workers comp system.

Considering that the number of magistrates has already been dramatically reduced, this will be a major drain on Agency resources. You will have injured workers waiting years to have their benefits reset to the correct rate.

Take a stand against House Bill 5002

House Bill 5002 does not have to become law. You can take a stand against this bad legislation and help protect Michigan workers. Call, write, and e-mail your state senators and let them know that House Bill 5002 and Senate Bill 0708 are wrong for Michigan.

Call (855) 221-2667 to speak with one of our workers comp lawyers. We will do everything possible to 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:

Michigan Legislature – House Bill 5002

Michigan House Votes to Gut Workers’ Comp

11/01/2011
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