The myth of the workers comp free ride

Michigan workers comp lawyer explains why avoiding work is not an option and what you can do to protect your entitlement to benefits.

A comment was recently posted on our blog complaining that we are ignoring the issue of job search. This person believes that injured workers would rather have the convenience of not working than trying to find a job within their restrictions. It’s his opinion that people don’t like to work but they do like free money.

This type of comment is typical for individuals who believe that most people on workers comp are frauds and could work if they were sufficiently motivated. This is nonsense and here are some facts about workers comp that everyone should know.

What workers comp pays

Workers comp is not welfare or some free ride. It is insurance that is intended to protect both employers and employees in the event of a work injury. It costs relatively little and premiums are projected to decline another 7.4% next year.

Workers comp pays wage loss benefits to individuals who are disabled from work. Benefits are limited to about 60% of gross pay or a maximum of $775.00 for 2012. Nobody gets rich from workers comp and most people struggle to pay the bills on a reduced income.

The vast majority of our clients want to recover from injury and get back to regular work.

Reasonable employment (favored work)

Workers comp benefits will be stopped if an injured worker declines reasonable employment. This means that a person cannot refuse to work if a job is offered within his or her restrictions.

An injured worker must also show that his or her work injury is directly related to wage loss. If a person is not working for any other reason, wage loss benefits will be stopped.

The injured worker must also demonstrate that no other work is available that he or she could perform. This includes jobs never done in the past. If it is determined that an injured worker could do some other work, wage loss benefits will be reduced based upon those wages whether actually earned or not. This is called wage earning capacity.

Searching for a job

Recent changes to the workers comp law make it even more difficult for injured workers to collect wage loss benefits. The injured worker is now required to actively seek work and benefits can be stopped if proof of a job search is not provided.

It is wrong to assume that people on workers comp are just gaming the system. In fact, it is estimated by Accident Fund Insurance Company that fraud occurs in less than 4% of workers comp claims.

Why you need a workers comp lawyer

Special interest groups, such as insurance companies and large corporations, have spent big money and political capital to make sure that the workers comp law is stacked against you. You now have an almost impossible burden of proof.

Don’t let your employer or its insurance company unfairly deny your workers comp benefits. You can always challenge a bad decision in court with your testimony and evidence from your doctor.

Call (855) 221-2667 to speak with one of our Michigan workers comp lawyers. We will do everything possible to protect your legal rights and to make sure that you receive fair compensation under the law.

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 comp benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

Related information:

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

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