Michigan lawyer explains the workers’ comp claim process and how to ensure all medical and wage loss benefits are paid.
Our job as lawyers is to make sure disabled employees receive the correct medical and wage loss benefits. This can be difficult when employers and insurance companies unfairly dispute claims. Individuals who find their benefits denied should challenge this decision in court. Here is a quick overview of the workers’ comp claim process and what can be expected at each step.
Step 1. Notice
Employees hurt on-the-job must give notice to their employer within 90 days. Notice can be oral so simply telling a manger or supervisor is enough. However, it is a good idea to fill out an accident report so there is written proof. This should be the easiest part of the workers’ comp claim process. Never wait overnight or until the following shift to give notice as this is a red flag that employers use to dispute claims.
Step 2. Make A Claim
Employees who want to see a doctor or get paid time off must make a claim within 2 years. Claim is simply asking for medical treatment or wage loss benefits. There is no written requirement under Michigan law. However, it is a good idea to ask for benefits in writing so there is no question that it was done timely. A simple email should be enough. Watch out for bad employers who refuse to accept claim because they are trying to game the system. An Employee’s Report of Claim can be filed with the State of Michigan and it will automatically start the workers’ comp claim process.
Step 3. Medical Treatment
Employees who give notice and make claim are entitled to medical treatment. This is a critical step because it will generate medical proof. Employers are given sole authority to select medical providers during the first 28 days. Expect to be seen a Concentra or some other occupational clinic during this 28 day period. We recommend switching doctors after 28 days to ensure there is no conflict of interest should a dispute occur.
Step 4. Collect Wage Loss Benefits
Employees who are off for a minimum of 7 days can get wage loss benefits. The amount paid should equal 80% of their after-tax average weekly wage. This calculation includes overtime, discontinued fringe benefits, and even second jobs. Statistics from the Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency show it takes an average of 19 days from entitlement to payment.
Step 5. Notice of Dispute
Sometimes employers or insurance companies refuse to pay benefits. A Notice of Dispute will be sent listing the reasons. This is a critical stage of the workers’ comp claim process because time is of the essence. 1 and 2 year back rules limit the potential recovery for people who wait to challenge a dispute. It is important to speak with an experienced lawyer immediately.
Step 6. Negotiate Settlement
Many of our clients eventually want to settle their claim. This includes individuals who are paid voluntarily and those who have seen their benefits disputed. A settlement allows them to trade future benefits for a lump sum cash payment. This money can be used for any purpose including medical treatment, job searches, retraining, education, paying off debt, and retirement. Never enter this step of the workers’ comp claim process without getting a free consultation from an experienced lawyer. Insurance companies take advantage of people who are not represented.
Our law firm 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.