How illegal activity and incarceration can result in lost workers comp benefits.
We had a nice woman contact our office last week regarding her son. He was recently sent to jail and concerned how this could affect his pending workers comp claim.
We could not give any comforting advise because imprisonment comes with serious consequences. Here are some things to consider if your loved one is incarcerated while pursuing workers comp benefits.
Wage loss benefits are suspended
Michigan law provides that weekly benefits are not payable during any period of incarceration for violation of the criminal laws of this state. It does not matter if the insurance company believes a person is disabled and the claim was being paid voluntarily. Weekly benefits will be forfeited and cannot be recovered at a later date. This is a harsh penalty created by our legislature.
Options for medical treatment are limited
Access to medical care is one of the most important benefits under workers comp. This entitlement continues during periods of incarceration but can be severely limited. Permission must be given to leave the correctional facility and this can be extremely difficult to obtain.
Not available to testify in court
Claims that are disputed often result in trial as the insurance company has little incentive to settle. This is a formal hearing where a magistrate is provided with medical evidence and sworn testimony. The magistrate will then make a formal decision regarding the facts and law. Our experience shows that credibility is extremely important and testimony from a claimant will make or break the case. It is up to the magistrate if he or she will travel to the correctional facility to receive this testimony.
Workers comp benefits can even be disputed before a person is technically incarcerated. If the commission of a crime prevents a person from working or obtaining employment this can be used as a defense.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by neil conway.