Getting You the Wage Loss and Medical Benefits You Need Quickly.
The Law Office of Patrick Marutiak has protected the rights of workers for over three decades. We represent injured workers not insurance companies. If you have been injured at work, you have many rights that the insurance companies do not always tell you. Think you have a claim? Call Pat today! 989-725-8118
What Is Workers Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation is a state regulated insurance program that pays medical bills and replaces some lost wages to employees who are injured at work or who have a work related disease or illness.
Who is covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act?
In general, all employees in Michigan are covered by the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act. Some exceptions to this include, but are not limited to:
- Employees of the federal government (i.e., postal workers, veterans’ administration hospital employees, members of the military).
- Those who work on interstate railroads (covered by Federal Employers Liability Act).
- Seamen on navigable waters (covered by the Merchant Marine Act of 1920).
- People loading or unloading vessels (covered by the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act).
Do employers have to carry workers’ compensation?
The State of Michigan requires that every employer subject to the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act provide workers’ compensation benefits should a worker become injured. Most employers in Michigan accomplish this by purchasing an insurance policy from a private insurance company. Occasionally, employers have enough financial stability that they can “self-insure” and pay benefits directly to their employees if needed.
When and where are workers covered?
To be covered, the injury must happen at work. Workers’ compensation is designed to cover only injuries that “arise out of and in the course of the employment.” It is usually fairly obvious if the injury happened at work but there can be times when this becomes questionable.
Are employees covered if they are traveling on company business?
Yes. If an employee is traveling for the company, he/she is generally covered. If an employee is traveling to and from work, any injury sustained will probably not be covered by workers’ compensation.
How soon should I return to work?
In general, even though you may not be completely recovered, it can be to your advantage, and your employers, to return to work if you are given a job that you can do. If your doctor says you cannot work your regular job but can work “light duty” or on restrictions, your employer can offer you a job within these restrictions. If they elect not to give you a job and send you home, they should pay you wage loss benefits.
Does my employer have to offer me a job?
Michigan state law does not require your employer to offer you a job following a work injury. However, most employers, if they are smart, will try to make work available if at all possible. Many employers in Michigan are finding that employee recovery times are shorter and costs lower if they are willing to make some changes to help their employees.
What benefits am I entitled to?
Though the benefits of workers’ compensation are limited in Michigan, they are nevertheless very important benefits. Medical coverage for the injury and wage loss while you are unable to work are the two most important benefits.
Wage loss benefits are determined by your pay rate at the date of your injury. A formula is used to determine an individual’s pay scale when injured on the job. To determine someone’s “worker’s compensation rate,” you look at the last 52 weeks worked and take the highest 39 weeks and divide it to determine a person’s average weekly wage (AWW). That wage is plugged into a formula. Whether the individual is married or has dependent children, can affect the rate as well. Generally the rate is in the range of 60 to 65 percent of your gross wages or 80 percent of your take home pay. These benefits are tax free.
Do I receive medical coverage?
The workers’ compensation insurance carrier is obligated to pay for any “reasonable and necessary” medical treatment regarding the injury. Most importantly, an individual has a right to treat with a doctor of their choosing. The employer can require an individual to treat with their doctor for 28 days after the injury. After this time you can treat with whomever you wish. Many insurance companies will tell you they do not have to pay if you do not see their doctor. THIS IS NOT TRUE.
When treating for an injury, you should treat with a physician that you trust. The most important thing is to get better so you can go back to work.
The insurance carrier is also obligated to pay for all mileage related to medical treatment. The mileage is based on the state rate which changes year to year. Any time you see a doctor, go to physical therapy, get prescriptions, etc. you should always keep track of your mileage.
If an individual’s injury is such that nursing care is necessary, this is covered as well. Nursing care does not have to be performed by a licensed nurse to be compensable.
You should talk to an attorney immediately if your claim is being disputed. It is recommended you seek legal advice even if your benefits are being paid. You may be entitled to benefits you were unaware. If you have any questions regarding what benefits you are entitled to,or call (989) 725-8118 for a free consultation.