Lansing Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Work Injury Claims in Metro Detroit and the State of Michigan
In Michigan, nearly all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that provides medical, wage replacement, and other benefits to employees who are injured on the job or suffer injuries/occupational illnesses due to work-related activities. In other words, if you are hurt at work or while doing anything that benefits your employer, you are likely covered by workers’ compensation.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be tricky. Plus, many initial workers’ compensation claims are disputed or denied. If you need help with your workers’ comp claim, contact Bahrie Law. Since 1979, we have been representing injured workers throughout the state of Michigan, helping them navigate the workers’ compensation system and fight to recover the maximum allowable benefits they were owed.
If you have questions about your claim or need help appealing a denial, do not hesitate to reach out to our Lansing & Metro Detroit workers’ compensation lawyers. We are happy to discuss your legal rights and options during a free, confidential consultation.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Michigan?
When discussing who is eligible for workers’ compensation in Michigan, it is actually easier to look at who is not entitled to benefits. Very few employees in the state are not eligible for workers’ compensation, and most are covered by other outstanding benefits. These include federal employees, and certain railroad, agricultural, and maritime workers.
In Michigan, you are eligible for workers’ compensation if you meet the following criteria:
- Your injuries/illness occurred on the job or due to work-related activities/conditions
- You are classified as an “employee,” whether part-time, full-time, or seasonal
- Your injury/illness was not the result of your own willful or wanton misconduct/negligence
All work-related injuries and occupational diseases are covered by workers’ compensation, including those caused by one-time accidents, ongoing occupational exposure, and other employment-related duties, activities, and conditions. You do not have to prove that anyone was negligent or that your employer was “at fault” for your injuries/illness to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
For example, if you are a truck driver and were injured in a commercial vehicle accident while on the job, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits if you meet all other eligibility requirements. The same is true if you are an office worker who suffers carpal tunnel syndrome from excessive typing, a construction worker who falls from scaffolding due to OSHA violations, or an industrial worker who sustains a severe repetitive-motion back injury.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Available?
In Michigan, injured employees are entitled to several different types of benefits under the workers’ compensation system:
- Medical Benefits: Workers’ compensation covers all “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses related to the treatment of your work-related injury or illness. This includes emergency care, hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, medications, and other one-time and ongoing costs.
- Wage Loss Benefits: Workers who are unable to return to work temporarily and/or permanently can recover wage loss benefits through the Michigan workers’ compensation system. These benefits are calculated via a percentage of the worker’s average weekly wage, subject to specific caps.
- Total Permanent Disability: For those who are permanently and completely disabled due to a work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation pays total permanent disability benefits. A “total and permanent disability” is defined as the loss of two limbs/use of two limbs, an incurable mental health disorder, or complete blindness.
- Specific Loss Benefits: The Michigan workers’ compensation system pays specific loss benefits to those who suffer certain injuries. Specifically, eligible employees who lose function/use of an arm, eye, finger, foot, leg, or toe can receive up to 80% of their post-tax average weekly wage, subject to caps.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: Workers’ compensation pays vocational rehabilitation benefits, which assist with various costs associated with retraining, education, and job-placement services. Vocational rehabilitation benefits also pay for changes to workstations and other related expenses.
- Death Benefits: When an individual dies due to a work-related injury or illness, their surviving dependents (spouse, children, etc.) can recover death benefits. These include up to $6,000 for burial/funeral expenses and up to 80% of the deceased workers’ average weekly wage for a period of 500 weeks (or more in some cases).
What to Do If You Are Injured on the Job
If you are injured on the job or while doing anything that benefits your employer, there are a few important steps you should take to protect your health, safety, and rights:
- Seek medical treatment right away; if necessary, call 911
- Report the work-related injury or illness to your employer immediately (by law, you must notify your employer within 90 days)
- Follow all of your doctor’s orders, recommendations, and treatment plans
- Do not try to return to work before your doctor authorizes you to do so (including light-duty work)
- Make sure your employer files an Employer’s Basic Report of Injury form with the Bureau of Workers’ Disability Compensation
Note that you have two years from the date of injury (or the date on which you discovered or reasonably could have discovered the injury) to file a workers’ compensation claim in Michigan. In most cases, you should begin receiving benefits after a week of being unable to work due to your injury or illness. If you have any issues with the claims filing process or getting your benefits paid, contact a Lansing & Metro Detroit workers’ compensation attorney at Bahrie Law right away.
What to Do If Your Claim Is Denied or Your Benefits Are Terminated
If your employer disputes your claim, if their insurance company denies you benefits, or if your benefits are terminated early, you have the right to file an appeal. This process typically begins when the injured worker files an Application for Mediation or Hearing form. From there, disputes can be resolved through mediation, arbitration, or via a hearing or trial before a magistrate (also known as an administrative law judge). If your case cannot be resolved through mediation or arbitration, there will likely be a pre-trial hearing followed by a workers’ compensation trial.
Workers’ compensation hearings and trials are held before magistrates without juries. After both sides present supporting evidence, the magistrate will decide on the case. If you disagree with the magistrate’s decision, you can file an appeal with the Workers’ Compensation Appellate Commission.
Note that you cannot be paid for past-due benefits extending beyond two years from the date you filed a request for a hearing.
Why You Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
While you are not required to hire an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim in Michigan, it is wise to do so. This is especially true if you encounter any pushback from your employer or disputes from the insurance company.
As a worker, you have rights. At Bahrie Law, we are ready to fight for those rights and advocate for the fair benefits you deserve. Our Lansing & Metro Detroit workers’ compensation attorneys represent injured employees throughout Michigan, as well as the families of those who die due to work-related accidents, injuries, and diseases.
We bring more than four decades of legal experience and a proven track record of success to every case—to date, we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients, and we look forward to helping you get back on your feet after a serious workplace accident or injury.
$1,775,000Wrongful Death In Jail
The client had swallowed windshield-wiper fluid but police reportedly thought he was drunk. Case settled in with one defendant and went to trial with the other
The driver likely was not paying attention to the road as he ran a stop sign and failed to yield before crossing an intersection and crashed into a large tree. The client underwent 3 shoulder surgeries. The case settled at mediation.
The at-fault driver ran a stop sign and collided with a vehicle in which the client—who was pregnant with a 22-week old unborn child—was a passenger.
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