Michigan attorney answers the question “can I sue my employer for a work related injury” by explaining how workers’ comp is the “exclusive remedy” for people hurt on-the-job, and potential exceptions to the general rule about not being able to file a lawsuit.
Here is a question we get asked frequently: Can I sue my employer for a work related injury? This is an easy question with a complicated legal answer. The short answer is ‘no’ but there are some important exceptions to this general rule. Below is some information about Michigan workers’ comp law.
Michigan adopted its first workers’ comp law in 1912. It was designed as a grand bargain between labor and business. Employees hurt on-the-job are guaranteed workers’ comp benefits regardless of their fault. Companies get protection from civil lawsuits even when they are negligent.
Workers’ comp is the exclusive remedy when an employee gets hurt on the job. It covers medical care including mileage and travel expenses, attendant care for help with activities of daily living, and home or vehicle modifications.
Workers’ comp also pays lost wages equal to 80% of an employee’s after-tax average weekly. This calculation includes overtime, discontinued fringe benefits, and even second jobs. Payment continues for the entire length of disability.
Vocational rehabilitation is also an option when an employee must be retrained for a new career. It is possible to get workers’ comp to pay for education and other classes. Books and tools would be included.
Can I sue my employer for a work related injury in Michigan?
You can’t sue your employer for a work related injury in Michigan but you are supposed to get workers’ comp benefits. If the company or its insurance company refuses to pay, it is possible to file an Application for Mediation or Hearing. A magistrate can award payment of benefits after trial. Many of these cases get settled for a lump sum cash payment.
Exception: Uninsured companies
Michigan law requires companies to have workers’ comp insurance. This protects both parties if someone gets hurt on-the-job. Companies who do not have this insurance are still required to pay medical, wage loss, and vocational rehabilitation benefits under Michigan law. Officers and directors of the company can be held personally liable for payment. Companies lose protection of the exclusive remedy provision in this situation and can be sued for negligence. This opens the door for pain and suffering damages.
Exception: Intentional tort
Can I sue my employer for a work related injury when they intended to hurt me? Yes, but the burden of proof is very difficult. It must be shown that they intended to cause injury. It can also be established through evidence proving that they had actual knowledge that injury was certain to occur and willfully disregarded that knowledge.
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.