Michigan lawyer explains about insurance company penalties if your workers’ comp check is late.
Most of the clients that our law firm represents live paycheck-to-paycheck. Getting hurt at work can mean financial disaster if their income stops for even a short period of time. Putting food on the table becomes difficult and families suffer unnecessarily. Here is some advice we give about obtaining payment from the insurance company so you do not suffer if your workers’ comp check is late.
Workers’ comp is supposed to be a safety net for employees hurt on-the-job. It covers all medical bills and lost wages. The amount paid for lost wages should equal 80% of the after-tax average weekly wage. This is based upon the previous highest 39 paid weeks out of 52. Wage loss payments continue for the entire length of disability.
Wage loss benefits start on the 8th day of disability. This includes time for weekends and holidays. The first check should be received approximately 14 days after entitlement begins. Unfortunately, it can take some insurance companies weeks or months to process a claim. This can be delayed even more if the employer refuses to cooperate. We have seen situations where the employer will not acknowledge a workplace accident happened or provide necessary documentation to start a claim.
What if your workers’ comp check is late in Michigan?
In Michigan, if your workers’ comp check is late there is a $50 per day penalty if wage loss benefits are not paid within 30 days of becoming due. This penalty is subject to a maximum of $1,500 total. Insurance companies hate paying penalties and a certified letter usually gets their attention. Make sure to send the certified letter “return receipt requested” so there is proof of mailing.
A penalty may also apply to medical bills that are not paid within 30 days after the insurance company receives notice of nonpayment by certified mail. This penalty is limited to $50 or the amount of the bill if it is less.
Penalties only apply to claims that are not disputed. Even frivolous defenses allow the insurance company to escape paying. Watch out for insurance companies who file a Notice of Dispute saying “pending investigation” or other nonsense. These bogus defenses should be challenged in court! Most insurance companies deny penalties even when they are clearly in the wrong.
We recommend that you contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer if your workers’ comp check is late and benefits are not promptly paid. Missing or late checks are often a warning sign that workers’ comp benefits are in jeopardy. One of the “red flags” that we tell people to watch out for is when checks are late or missing. Insurance companies typically suspend benefits if they believe an employee is no longer disabled. The independent medical examination (IME) will be scheduled and workers’ comp benefits put on hold. The disabled employee is usually the last to know and has the burden of challenging the dispute.
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 (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.