Watch out for these dirty tricks insurance companies use to dispute workers’ compensation benefits in Michigan.
Our law firm recently took on a client with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This man has been on workers’ compensation for several years but recently started having problems getting his prescriptions approved and wage loss checks.
We immediately filed an Application for Mediation or Hearing. Turns out the defense attorney had been silently advising the insurance company for years and was creating many of these problems.
Having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side from the beginning can help you with these dirty tricks. Here are 5 ways insurance companies protect their interests at your expense.
1. Requiring you to accept a dead end job.
Disabled employees must accept “reasonable employment” or risk having their wage loss benefits suspended. Problems occur when employers refuse to honor work restrictions or give demeaning tasks. Insurance companies also send people to volunteer for charities if no other work is available. We have seen insurance companies require disabled employee to work from their living room as telemarketers earning almost nothing per hour.
2. Delaying your medical treatment for no good reason.
Access to medical care is one of the most important benefits under workers’ compensation. Insurance companies use nurse case managers to control medical costs and this can result in unreasonable delays. Just getting a claims adjuster to authorize medical treatment with an established doctor can be slow and difficult. Requiring a claimant to see an insurance company doctor often results in a dispute.
3. Hiring a vocational counselor to create a labor market survey.
Michigan law now permits insurance companies to stop weekly checks if a disabled employee has a “wage earning capacity.” It does not matter whether a real job exists and this is based upon what the insurance company says is available. A labor market survey will be created by a vocational counselor listing potential jobs. Phantom wages are then used to reduce or stop weekly checks.
4. Hiring a private investigator to follow you.
Private investigators are frequently hired to perform video surveillance and check activities. Insurance companies want to find some proof that a claim is not valid. Surveillance video is often taken out of context and used in court. Snap decisions are made just because a person posts on Facebook or Twitter.
5. Consulting with defense attorneys before your claim is disputed.
Did you know that some insurance companies hire defense attorneys before your claim is even disputed? Your medical records are reviewed along with witness statements and incident reports. Legal opinions will be given about whether medical treatment should be authorized or wage loss benefits paid. We have some cases where the defense attorney has been pulling the strings for years and the claimant did not even know.
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 griffithchris.