Federal lawsuit alleges Zurich obstructed payment of workers compensation benefits

Michigan workers compensation lawyer breaks down the lawsuit and offers an opinion about whether this alleged behavior is common in the insurance industry.

Businessinsurance.com reports that a federal lawsuit can proceed against Zurich American Insurance Co. for the deliberate obstruction of workers compensation benefits.

The underlying workers compensation claim arises out of an after-hours work meeting that a supervisor was instructed to attend. She was injured in a motorcycle accident on her way to the meeting and sought workers compensation benefits.

The employer apparently acknowledged that the meeting was called to discuss work issues but benefits were denied. Testimony in the case revealed that a Zurich attorney told the employer of the importance of characterizing this meeting as a social gathering. This would make her claim invalid.

Zurich denied the claim stating that she “may have been traveling to a social function” that she had not been ordered to attend. Zurich’s denial also stated that all business meetings are held on-site with employees clocked in.

The court in its ruling found issues of material fact regarding whether Zurich intentionally obstructed the receipt of workers compensation benefits by concealing the purposes of the meeting, filing a factually inaccurate claim denial, and continuing to deny the claim through trial.

The case will now proceed to trial on the issues and we will keep you updated on what happens.

Our experience with workers compensation claims

We regularly see insurance companies and self-insured employers deny workers compensation benefits for bad reasons. Frequently based upon bogus independent medical examinations and unfair wage earning capacity assessments.

We represented a woman from Ann Arbor, MI who was hurt from a lifting incident at home. Workers compensation benefits were denied even though she was told by her supervisor to work out of her house.

The self-insured employer claimed that no employee is allowed to work from home and that everyone must work out of the main office. Testimony at trial showed just the opposite.

Their star witness admitted during cross-examination that most people just work out of their cars. Workers compensation benefits were ordered by the magistrate.

When to seek help from a workers compensation lawyer

We advise everyone to hire a workers compensation lawyer immediately following an injury at work. The success or failure of a claim could come down to what happens in the first days and weeks.

This is especially true if an employer or its insurance company is trying to misrepresent the circumstances of a work injury.

Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation with one of our workers compensation lawyers in Michigan. We will make sure that your employer and its insurance company live up to their legal obligations.

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:

Trial allowed against employer, Zurich in obstructing workers comp benefits

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