Strategies for dealing with insurance companies who refuse to pay Michigan work comp benefits.
Insurance companies use various arguments to dispute payment of work comp benefits. We blogged about some of the most common defense tactics yesterday.
This blog post is dedicated to winning strategies and getting your case approved.
Here is how you can put yourself in the best position to succeed at trial.
Argument #1: “It’s just a degenerative condition.”
Insurance companies will tell you that your back or neck pain is just part of the aging process. Almost everyone develops some arthritis as they age. This does not mean that you did not suffer a traumatic injury. Watch out for new symptoms like pain or numbness that you never experienced before. Ask your doctor if your preexisting pathology has somehow worsened or changed. This is very common when you have a new diagnosis of herniated disc or radiculopathy.
Argument #2: “Only subjective complaints of pain.”
You have the right to select your own doctor after 28 days. Many of our clients are diagnosed with just a sprain or strain when their medical condition is actually much worse. It is critical that you have a doctor who is on your side and will stand up to the insurance company. Michigan law requires all reasonable and necessary medical be covered. You should also receive wage loss benefits if disabled from work.
Argument #3: “Injury was reported on a Monday!”
Many people worry about getting hurt on-the-job and wait to see if they get better on their own. Do not wait and give the insurance company an excuse to dispute benefits. They will assume you got hurt over the weekend and want a free ride from work comp. Report all injuries when they occur!
Argument #4: “Walked off the job.”
We tell our clients to attempt any job that is offered and never quit. Our experience shows that many employers are just testing to see if you will really come back to work. Calling their bluff will give you the advantage at trial. You can explain to the magistrate how the job offered was beyond your work restrictions.
Argument #5: “Residual wage earning capacity.”
The Michigan Legislature enacted major changes to work comp in 2011. Insurance companies now get a credit for “phantom wages” that are not actually paid. This is accomplished by hiring a vocational expert to say jobs are available but you are not looking hard enough. Performing a good-faith job search will show the magistrate that no employer will actually hire you. It is powerful evidence that can be used to win at trial.
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 ~ Paige ~.