Michigan lawyer discusses what not to do while on workers’ comp as it can result in less benefits paid
Insurance companies are always looking for ways to save money on work injury claims. They will not fully explain legal rights and will seize any opportunity to dispute benefits. Mistakes are common and they are never in the claimant’s favor. Here is what not to do while on workers’ comp in Michigan.
Staying with the insurance company doctor
Something you will not want to do while on workers‘ comp in Michigan is keep seeing the insurance company doctors after 28 days. Michigan law gives the power to select medical providers to the employer during the first 28 days of medical treatment. Most people are sent to industrial clinics where they receive subpar medical care. It is common for them to be diagnosed with sprains or strains when it is in fact much worse. Many of our clients are not properly diagnosed and sent back to work prematurity.
Relying upon insurance company math
Disabled employees are supposed to receive 80% of their after-tax average weekly wage subject to a state-wide maximum. This calculation should include money for overtime, discontinued fringe benefits, and even second jobs that cannot be performed any longer. We see insurance companies just guesstimate the weekly comp rate based upon hourly wage, and this results in an underpayment. Our advice is to not take the insurance company at its word.
Holding mileage reimbursement for 6 months
Individuals receiving work injury benefits from the insurance company should get mileage reimbursement to and from medical appointments. The current reimbursement rate is $0.585 per mile. That’s almost $60 for every 100 miles driven. It is important to submit mileage requests on a timely basis so that the insurance company pays on time.
Not showing up for the Michigan workers’ comp independent medical examination
Insurance companies have the legal right to force a person to attend an independent medical examination (IME). Failure to attend the IME can result in an automatic suspension of insurance benefits. Most of these IME doctors make careers out of testifying against disabled employees. Nevertheless, it is part of the process and should not be ignored. Biased medical reports can always be challenged in court.
Walking away from your job
Employers are given an incentive to bring disabled employees back to work. They don’t have to pay wage loss benefits if they provide a job within restrictions. Unfortunately, employers try to game the system by forcing them to perform activities that are beyond restrictions or making them do demeaning tasks. Our advice on what not to do while on workers’ comp in Michigan is never to quit your job in anger because this will result in a forfeiture of any future wage loss payments. Speak with an attorney should this occur.
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