What will workers compensation pay if I win?
Lost wages, medical treatment, voc rehab or a lump sum payment
It can be devastating for a family to lose its only source of income. Some people lose their homes and end up going deeply into debt just to survive. We’re frequently asked what benefits are available if a person wins his or her workers compensation case. Below we’ve provided some information about what you could receive.
For help from a Michigan workers comp lawyer today, call (855) 221-2667, or fill out our consultation form. There’s no cost or obligation, and we can answer all of your questions.
What workers compensation pays
It does not matter if your employer has treated you poorly or if you have been financially ruined. Workers compensation only affords workers comp benefits in the form of wage loss, medical treatment, mileage reimbursement and vocational rehabilitation.
There is a penalty provision, but the most it pays is $1,500. A magistrate cannot order any payment beyond what workers compensation requires.
This also means you cannot recover pain and suffering damages.
The reason injured workers can only receive workers comp benefits is as follows:
Michigan law used to require that you prove negligence on the part of your employer to receive compensation. It didn’t matter how bad you were hurt, but only if you could show that your employer was at fault. This resulted in many workers not receiving fair compensation for their injuries.
Michigan workers compensation law has tried to remedy this inequality by creating a compromise between employee and employer interests. Workers have given up the right to sue in civil court (thus, no pain and suffering damages) in exchange for what are essentially no-fault benefits. You do not have to prove that your employer did anything wrong to receive compensation for your injury — in the form of Michigan workers comp benefits.
Wage loss benefits are based upon a percentage of your past earnings subject to certain minimums and maximums.
Your average weekly wage is calculated by taking the highest 39 weeks of the 52 weeks preceding your work injury. Wage loss benefits are generally 80 percent of your after-tax average weekly wage. Under certain circumstances, the value of fringe benefits may be included to increase your average weekly wage.
Wage loss benefits are income-tax free and can be paid for as long as you cannot work. Your wage loss benefits will be decreased by 5 percent a year at age 65 up to a maximum reduction of 50 percent. In the alternative, your employer can elect to coordinate half of your Social Security retirement benefits.
Your employer or its workers compensation insurance carrier will also be responsible for paying all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for your work injury. This holds true even if your treatment continues after you have returned to work. Medical treatment includes attendant care, prosthetics, and reasonable travel expenses. Medical treatment can be paid for life. A family member can receive payment up to 56 hours per week for home nursing care.
Your employer or its workers compensation insurance carrier may also have to pay for vocational rehabilitation to help you get retrained or to help you find other employment. Some employers and insurance companies use vocational rehabilitation to reduce or stop benefits instead of trying to help you get back to work.
You have the right to have a workers compensation lawyer present during vocational rehabilitation to ensure that your interests are protected.
Lump sum payment
Most people just want a lump sum payment and a chance to move on with their lives. You can receive a lump sum payment by trading future workers compensation benefits for a cash settlement.
A magistrate cannot order your employer or its insurance company to pay a settlement.
You should speak with an experienced Michigan workers comp lawyer if you want to obtain a settlement. Every case is different and must be evaluated on its own merits. Settlements are calculated based upon what the insurance company believes it will have to pay out in the future. A skilled workers comp lawyer can maximize the amount of settlement offered.
Have questions about what workers compensation will pay you?
The best way to get an idea of the value of your workers compensation case is by speaking with one of our workers comp lawyers. We’ve been protecting work injury victims like you for more than 35 years, and we can get you the most value out of your claim, hands down.
Call us at (855) 221-2667, or fill out our free contact form.