Work injury compensation can be tricky to navigate. The State of Michigan has established the Workers’ Compensation Agency to oversee and give advice on the workers’ comp procedures. Their primary purpose is to protect the employer.
Seeking an attorney to help you with a work injury compensation claim is about putting an advocate in your corner. Below is an overview of what to expect from the workers’ compensation process.
Step 1: Report the Incident to your Employer
As an employee, your main responsibility is to report the incident directly to your employer. If you are injured because of a onetime incident, this is pretty easy.
When the injury is due to ongoing and continuous activity, it is not always obvious when or what you should report to your employer. This should not stop you from starting the worker’s compensation process.
Step 2: Seek Medical Evaluation
Michigan law requires you to receive medical treatment to be eligible for workers comp benefits. The law also gives the employer, through work injury compensation insurance, the right to choose a doctor in the first ten days.
The company’s doctor can also recommend you to a specialist as needed. Smaller companies may not have a specific relationship with a physician and will ask you to visit your family doctor. Do not skip this step as failing to seek medical treatment will forfeit your rights.
Step 3: Filling out Form 100 for Disability
The employer is required to fill out a Form 100 if you have been disabled for more than seven days. Disability is considered a loss of wages from the injury. Your employer can make a reasonable offer of employment if your injury prevents you from continuing in your current role. The words “reasonable offer” has some level of understanding, but benefits could be denied if an offer is rejected.
Step 4: Filing with Insurance
It is the responsibility of the employer to file a work compensation injury insurance claim. As an employee, you are not responsible for the medical bills incurred during your treatment.
However, an employer might seek to classify your injury as a pre-existing condition. By doing this, they can claim your injury is a result of your physical state before the injury and not the employer’s fault. Always seek legal help in these situations.
Step 5: Make Disability Payments
Your employer is required to make payments if the injury results in wage loss for more than seven days. This disability classification can get complicated as parties may be in disagreement about the state of disability.
For example, an employer may consider the injury less severe than the employee and expect the employee to return to normal duties. Alternatively, the employer could offer an alternative position.
Step 6: Follow Up Evaluation
An employer can require a follow-up evaluation as well. After ten days, you have a choice of doctor for the evaluation. The follow-up medical evaluations will help determine your return to work status.
This is where an employer determines to continue disability payments, provide vocational rehabilitation benefits, or ask the employee to return to work.
When to seek an Attorney
Knowing your rights is vital for work injury compensation. The law protects the employer by providing a minimum course of action for returning you to a whole state. A work injury compensation lawyer is skilled at interpreting your rights under that law.
If you aren’t receiving the benefits you need to return to a reasonable wage, then it might be time to seek an attorney.