Advice on how the law comes into play after you’re injured on the job
Below are some frequently asked questions about the Michigan work comp law and how it works when you are hurt at work.
Q. What is workers’ comp?
A. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of benefits. It is your exclusive remedy against your employer for a work injury. You can receive workers comp benefits including lost wages, medical treatment, mileage reimbursement and vocational rehabilitation. Worker’s compensation does not pay for pain and suffering.
Q. What is the work comp law?
A. The work comp law is based upon a compromise between employee and employer interests: In exchange for a no-fault system of work comp benefits, employees cannot sue for pain and suffering in civil court. An injured employee does not have to prove fault on the part of his or her employer to receive benefits. But in exchange for this automatic liability, the employee is limited in what benefits he or she can collect.
Special interest groups have gone to great lengths to convince the public that the work comp law and the benefits is provides are too generous. They want you to believe that injured workers have no incentive to return to work because they’re getting a “free ride” on disability. This is simply not true. The majority of people who suffer an injury want to get better and return to gainful employment.
The reason that most people desperately want to get back to work is because workers’ compensation benefits are limited.
Q. How much does workers’ compensation pay?
A. Workers’ compensation benefits are limited. You will only receive lost wages equal to 80 percent of your after-tax average weekly wage. This works out to be approximately 60 percent of your take-home pay. You are also limited to a maximum based upon the state average weekly wage. In 2011, the most you can get from workers’ compensation for lost wages is $742 per week.
If you are hurt at work, you should be paid workers’ compensation regardless of fault. The problem is that some employers and insurance companies make it their practice to dispute valid workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes you will be told that you are an “independent contractor” and not entitled to benefits. You may also be told that your injury is not work-related and then fired because of your restrictions.
Q. What happens if my work comp claim is disputed?
A. If the employer or insurance company has disputed your claim, you must seek benefits through the Workers Compensation Agency. This is your exclusive remedy for your work injury. A magistrate will be assigned to hear your case and make a decision about the facts and law. You always have the burden of proof. In other words, you must demonstrate that you suffered a work-related injury and that you are disabled or need medical treatment.
Q. How do I prove disability?
A. To prove disability, you must show more than a mere inability to do your job. You must demonstrate that your work injury has caused a reduction of your maximum wage earning capacity in work suitable to your qualifications and training.
These cases can be extremely complicated and you should seek the help of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. Call us at (844) 345-0952 for free lawyer advice today.
Q. What are commonly contested claims?
A. Some of the most contested claims involve injuries that may have aggravated a preexisting condition. You must prove that your injury is medically distinguishable from any preexisting problems. For example, if you have arthritis in your spine, you must show that a work injury has changed the underlying pathology. Increased complaints of pain may not be enough.
Our Michigan workers’ compensation lawyers are here for you
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