Michigan workers’ comp lawyer explains the workers’ compensation penalty payment when the insurance company refuses to pay weekly checks or medical bills.
I have written extensively about the challenges our clients face when they are hurt on-the-job. It can be devastating when the primary wage earner is disabled and unable to earn a living. Most people living paycheck-to-paycheck and even a short disruption can mean financial disaster. Here is some information about the workers’ compensation penalty payment.
Wage loss benefits are supposed to begin on the 8th day of disability. This wait period includes holidays, weekends, and even unscheduled workdays. It is a safety net for employees who find themselves unable to work because of injury. The first check should be paid a week after entitlement begins. Missing or late checks can be catastrophic. 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.
Medical bills are also supposed to be paid under workers’ compensation. All reasonable and necessary medical treatment should be paid without any copays or deductibles being owed. Employees have the legal right to choose their own doctors after 28 days from the start of medical care. Insurance companies who drag their feet approving medical treatment or paying medical bills jeopardize access to medical care. We have seen clients who are unable to get medical care simply because the insurance adjuster will not return a telephone call. Some clients find themselves in the absurd situation where medical treatment has not been authorized and they are unable to get a disability slip to prove continuing entitlement to wage loss. This results in a cut-off for no good reason.
What is the Workers’ Compensation Penalty Payment in Michigan?
An easy way to get the insurance company to pay attention is by seeking a workers’ compensation penalty payment. Michigan law allows a person to get $50 per day up to $1,500 total for late payment of weekly checks. A demand seeking penalties is usually enough to get the attention of the insurance company.
Most insurance companies will still refuse to pay even when they are clearly in the wrong.
A workers’ compensation penalty payment may also apply to medical bills that are not paid within 30 days. The insurance company must receive notice of nonpayment by certified mail. This penalty is limited to $50 or the amount of the bill if it is less.
Watch out for insurance companies who dispute claims for no good reason. The workers’ compensation penalty payment is not owed if there is an ongoing dispute. Even frivolous defenses allow the insurance company to escape penalties. Disabled employees who find themselves in this awful situation should consider filing an Application for Mediation or Hearing. They can seek an expedited 60-day trial status with the magistrate. Our experience shows these 60-days cases can be used to pressure the insurance company into paying a lump sum cash settlement.
We recommend that you contact an experienced lawyer if workers’ compensation benefits are not being promptly paid. Missing or late checks are often a warning sign that a claim is going to be disputed.
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.