What To Look For In A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer In Michigan
August 3, 2018
Being injured in the workplace is very different than sustaining an injury at home or in a motor vehicle. Workplace injuries bring a host of unique issues and questions that include:
Who pays the medical bills?
Will my lost wages be reimbursed?
What happens if I need rehabilitation services?
Injuries that happen at work are handled under the Michigan workers’ compensation system, established by the state legislature in 1912 to provide medical care, wage replacement and rehabilitation benefits to those who are injured at work. Because the system is complicated, with many exceptions and grey areas, it is important to look for a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure you receive the benefits you are entitled to under the law.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Under the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act, most Michigan employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees who suffer an “injury arising out of and in the course of employment.” Compensation is provided, by the employer or their insurance carrier, for disability or death that results from a work-related injury or disease, regardless of who is at fault. The main covered categories are medical care, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation services.
Workers’ compensation pays for all medical care that is “reasonable and necessary” for treatment of a work-related injury or disease for as long as the worker requires treatment. Covered services include medical and surgical care, hospital services and medications. Things such as attendant care, dental care, crutches and artificial appliances such as limbs, eyes, teeth, eyeglasses and hearing aids may also be covered.
Workers’ compensation wage loss benefits in Michigan are typically 80% of the after-tax value of the employee’s average weekly wage. There are other formulas that apply if the worker’s salary varies from week to week, or if they must return to part-time or to a lower paying job.
When an employee is unable to perform work for which they have previous training or experience, the law provides for vocational rehabilitation benefits. This includes a variety of services designed to help the injured person return to work, such as job placement assistance or retraining support.
Why You Need an Experienced Michigan Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
- The law is frequently revised and interpreted by the courts. You need a workers’ compensation lawyer who is up-to-date on the current statutes and court decisions that might affect your case.
- While workers’ compensation pays for all medical care that is reasonable and necessary for treatment of a work-related injury, there are often disputes over what is considered “reasonable and necessary.” A qualified workers’ compensation lawyer will know what documentation to obtain in order to best prove your case.
- The formulas used to determine wage loss benefits are complex. There may be partial wage loss benefits for formerly full-time employees who return to work part-time or at lower paying jobs. It takes an experienced legal expert to know how to apply these formulas so you get the maximum benefits.
- When vocational rehabilitation services are needed, employers and insurance companies do not always agree with the recommendations, which may necessitate a hearing. A qualified workers’ compensation attorney has the legal expertise and experience to represent you and present your case in the best possible light.
- While Michigan law prohibits employees from suing their employers for damages beyond the benefits provided by workers’ compensation, you may have a legal case against an individual or the manufacturer of a defective product. A skilled workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to determine whether you have an additional case and help you file the appropriate lawsuit(s).
- Atypical cases, such as an injury that occurs while an employee is making a work-related delivery or attending a meeting at a different location, require the abilities of a skillful workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure the claim is handled correctly.
What To Look For In a Michigan Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
- Look for a law firm with a proven history of winning cases involving workers’ compensation.
- Make sure the lawyer who will be handling your claim is well-versed in workers’ compensation law, including all the exceptions and fine points.
- Being off work because of an injury is stressful—physically, financially and emotionally. It is important to find a lawyer who does not ask for payment until your case is settled.
“Workers’ compensation is an intricate area of the law,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm, “but the right lawyer can be the difference between struggling to pay your bills and receiving the compensation you lawfully deserve.”
The law is complicated, but finding the right workers’ compensation lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free no-obligation consultation.