Work accident lawyer in Michigan provides answers to common questions regarding workers compensation law.
The only way to protect your legal rights is to understand how the workers compensation law applies to you. Every work injury is different and you cannot rely on stories from co-workers and friends.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that we think you should know. Remember that every claim is different and you should always speak with an experienced workers compensation lawyer about your specific situation.
Q. What is workers compensation?
A. Workers compensation is a type of insurance that is designed to protect you and your employer in the event of a work accident. It is a compromise between employee and employer interests. It pays wage loss benefits if you cannot work, unlimited medical treatment, mileage reimbursement, and vocational rehabilitation. You don’t have to show that your employer was at fault to claim these benefits. Pain and suffering is not allowed.
Q. How do I start a claim for workers compensation benefits?
A. All you need to do is ask your employer for workers compensation. However, you must have given notice of your injury within 90 days and made your claim for benefits within two years. If your employer refuses to acknowledge your injury, you can file your own report of claim with the State of Michigan.
Q. How much does workers compensation pay?
In general, you should receive 80% of the after-tax value of your average weekly wage. This works out to be approximately 60% of your gross pay. If you are only partially disabled from work, your “wage earning capacity” will be used to offset your wage loss benefits. Watch out for insurance companies who say you can work when you cannot. You will also be limited to a maximum of $775.00 per week for 2012.
Q. Who pays my medical bills after a work injury?
It’s your employer’s responsibility to provide you with reasonable and necessary medical treatment for your work injury. Some employers will tell you to use your health insurance but that is not correct. You should never have to pay any co-pays or deductibles under workers compensation. Your family members could also be entitled to pay for helping you around the house.
Q. Can I select my own doctor under workers compensation?
You are allowed to select your own doctor after 28 days. This is important because insurance company doctors don’t always have your best interests at heart. You need a doctor who will support your claim when the insurance company cuts off your benefits.
Q. Can my employer force me back to work after an injury?
If your employer offers you a job within your restrictions, you must try this job or face losing your wage loss benefits. You do not have to work in pain or at a job that exceeds what your doctor says you can do. Always try the job offered but report any problems immediately and ask to see your doctor.
Q. Can I be fired for claiming workers compensation?
It is illegal to discriminate against or fire an employee just because he or she claimed workers compensation benefits. If this occurs, the employee has a separate cause of action for wrongful termination.
Q. Do I really have to attend the independent medical examination (IME)?
Your employer has the right to have you examined by a physician of its choosing. This is not to provide medical treatment but only to give a medical opinion about whether your condition is work-related and disabling. The same doctors are used over and over again and they are not truly independent. Some make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year just testifying against injured workers. If you fail to attend the independent medical examination, your workers compensation benefits will be suspended. An unfair medical opinion can always be challenged in court.
Q. Where do I turn for help with workers compensation?
An experienced work accident lawyer will not charge you a fee to meet or discuss your claim. You only owe a fee if you are successful with your case. Some lawyers will represent you on minor issues for free because they know that you will eventually need to file a workers compensation case.
To speak with experienced workers compensation lawyers in Michigan, call (855) 221-2667 for a free telephone consultation. We will fight to make sure that you receive fair compensation for your work accident or injury.
– Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. Hes been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.
– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by S1m0nB3rry.