Workplace Accident Lawyer

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Workplace accidents can occur suddenly and randomly in many work environments in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports that each year, about 20,000 people file new workers’ compensation claims for workplace injuries or illnesses that result in time off work to recover. The department notes that two to three Michigan workers die yearly from work-related injuries.

If you experience a work-related injury, knowing your rights as a worker with the help of a work injury attorney in Michigan can help you get the benefits you need for your financial recovery.

The workers’ compensation lawyers with Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can guide you through the complex claims process. If your workplace doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, your personal injury lawyer can fight for your rights to receive financial compensation through a personal injury claim.

Circumstances That May Lead to a Michigan Workers’ Compensation Case

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employers reported over 88,800 non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses in Michigan in 2020.

Workplace injuries frequently occur in many work environments, like warehouses, machine shops, and construction sites. Construction accident injuries are due to hazardous conditions, such as exposure to dangerous power tools, lack of personal protection equipment, and repetitive motions for performing job tasks. These conditions are more likely to increase the risk of injury and cause catastrophic injuries.

Traumatic brain injury qualifies as catastrophic and frequently happens on construction sites. Spills, tripping hazards, defective products, and heavy equipment malfunctions cause the most job injuries in workplace accidents. Office workers might face occupational diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Car accidents occurring while on the job can result in serious injuries ranging from whiplash to spinal injuries.

Many Michigan workers who suffer these injuries might not know their rights regarding workers’ comp benefits. At the law offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., our workers’ compensation attorneys can answer your questions regarding workplace injuries and worker’s comp rules and regulations in Michigan.

The Michigan Workers’ Compensation Act

Michigan first adopted the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act in 1912. It compensates workers who incur workplace injury, illness, or death. The act creates a system that offers wage replacement, medical bill reimbursement, and rehabilitation support for employees who have suffered a workplace injury.

Private employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance company or are self-insured. If they fail to do so, it is against the law, and they can be held liable in a personal injury claim for any injuries you incur while in their employment.

A Michigan business must create a workspace free from hazards and risks to ensure everyone stays safe. If an accident occurs, you can work with a work injury attorney in Michigan to ensure your benefits start as soon as possible.

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in Michigan?

Michigan’s workers’ compensation laws require injured workers to file a claim within 90 days of the date of the accident or diagnosis. Remember to note the injury, time, and condition that led to the accident in your workers’ comp claim.

The laws entitle your employer to choose a medical provider for the first 28 days after your injury. The medical provider can conduct an independent medical examination to determine the severity of your injuries and your rights to benefits.

If you want to change your provider after the 28-day period, you may notify your employer and their insurance company in writing. If the insurance does not dispute your claim, this process should go smoothly and will not require additional authorization.

Wage Loss Benefits

Wage benefits begin on the 8th day after your injury, following a mandatory 7-day waiting period. If your wage loss continues for 14 days or longer, you can claim disability for the first week of disability. Weekly benefits, including overtime, may provide up to 80% of your average weekly wage. In addition, the insurance company may extend wage loss benefits if the original job is no longer available when the employee is ready to return to work.

Workers’ comp benefits should cover all reasonable and necessary treatments for injuries sustained at work. Workers’ comp should continue indefinitely if the work-related injury causes permanent disability or requires ongoing treatment, such as spinal cord injury.

Consult a personal injury attorney with experience handling workers’ comp cases to resolve wage or medical benefits disputes. We know how to guide you through the filing process and advise you of available legal actions for maximum compensation coverage, no matter where you sustained your workplace injury.

Other Benefits Available Under Michigan’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

Immediate medical treatment is only one benefit the injured employee can receive. Your workers’ compensation benefits ensure that you receive appropriate medical care related to your workplace injury and lost wages. The benefits can also cover re-training and vocational rehabilitation benefits to re-enter the workplace. It can also pay wrongful death benefits to your family if you die on the job.

In addition to covering current medical bills, workers’ compensation insurance should cover any future medical treatment related to your workplace injury. For more serious cases, employees may get help with prolonged medical support, wage loss benefits, and therapeutic support for any emotional distress caused by the injury.

Which Employers Must Have Workers’ Compensation?

Most private and public businesses in Michigan must have workers’ comp insurance coverage. The law excludes some sectors, including agricultural workers, sailors, and federal government employees, such as postal carriers. Private employers with less than three workers, including part-time workers, may be exempt from the workers’ compensation laws.

Your experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is familiar with the workers’ compensation system. They can provide sound legal advice and help ensure you collect benefits due to you or settle your case to get you fair compensation.

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What to Do if You Face Denial for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system, meaning the injured worker receives compensation regardless of fault. However, your employer’s insurance company can refuse to pay benefits from the beginning or terminate benefits after payment has started. They might deny your claim for compensation if you lack visible injuries, such as broken bones.

They may even force you to return to work before you are physically fit for it. Many employers hire doctors who are much more interested in maintaining a relationship with the employer than accurately diagnosing the employee.

You need to hire legal representation who can begin the hearing process laid out by the Michigan Workers & Unemployment Bureau. Your lawyer can protect your rights to a settlement when an employer’s doctor refuses to treat you, cuts off your benefits, or sends you back to work too soon.

The lawyer can represent you with mediators who consider the evidence and make recommendations during informal hearings. If your case goes before a formal hearing, your lawyer can develop a legal strategy for you to obtain benefits.

Sometimes, the employer and the employee agree to a lump sum cash settlement for all past, present, and future benefits. This agreement is called a redemption. It is the final settlement of the employee’s claim against their employer for workers’ compensation benefits. The lawyer can negotiate with the employer for a fair redemption to cover all the costs related to treating your injuries and helping you return to work.

Maximize Your Coverage with a Michigan Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Our legal team at Cochran, Kroll, and Associates, P.C. can help you get the compensation you need for your workplace injuries. As an experienced nurse and personal injury lawyer, Eileen Kroll, our senior partner, can tie your workplace injuries back to the workplace accident that caused your injuries. In addition, she handles injury claims involving issues involving emergency medicine, critical care medicine, and orthopedic surgery.

Our law firm’s track record of success has worked for several of our clients, including in the following cases:

  • $125,000 in a redemption to a construction worker in Detroit, Michigan
  • $600,000 for a Swartz Creek, Michigan man with bi-lateral wrist fractures sustained from an accident with a Ford truck
  • $1.5 million for a Westland construction worker who suffered a brain injury on site

Get Legal Help With Michigan Workers’ Compensation Laws Today

Employers should minimize risks and hazards as much as possible and provide the appropriate workers’ compensation benefits when accidents occur. They must also offer your benefits after a workplace accident.

An experienced attorney can help you better understand your rights and benefits under your workers’ compensation claim if you face an unfair denial of your workers’ comp claim. Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.’s work injury lawyers only represent individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses due to injuries, disabilities, and death.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

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Who is covered, who is not

Most workers in Michigan are covered by Michigan Workers Compensation if injured on the job. Some workers who may not be covered, however, include agricultural workers or federal workers such as postal carriers. Some businesses with three or fewer employees also may be exempt. A workers compensation lawyer in Michigan will give you complete details.

“While a typical injured employee does not know workers compensation law, a typical employer is very much aware of how the system works and how to terminate an employee’s benefits,” says attorney Terry Cochran, partner in the law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, PC, which specializes in workers comp and other liability cases.

“An injured worker who returns to work to a specifically created position may find that, 100 weeks later, the position is eliminated and he is laid off – no longer eligible for workers comp,” cautions Cochran. “Many employers hire doctors who are much more interested in maintaining a relationship with the employer than with accurately diagnosing the employee. My firm will help protect your rights when one of these ‘hired gun’ doctors tries to block you from getting necessary treatment, cut off your benefits, or send you back to work too early.”

The lawyer experienced in workers comp whom you hire also will know the administrative judges or hearing officers who preside over comp hearings, and likely will know many of the doctors and defense lawyers who are trying to block your claim. An attorney who knows the ins-and-outs of the system can provide you with sound legal advice and help ensure you collect benefits due you or, if you wish, get a maximum payoff to settle your personal injury claim.

Wage, injury claims & medical benefits

The formula to determine wage loss benefits in Michigan is 80 percent of an employee’s after-tax salary. In some cases, the wage loss benefit might be two-thirds of the worker’s base salary, subject to limitations. When an employee’s salary changes from week to week the benefit may be based on the 39 highest weeks of pay during the past year. Normally the 80 percent calculation is more beneficial to the worker, but legal counsel can best determine which calculation should be used.

All necessary medical expenses incurred by someone who has suffered a work injury are to be paid for by worker’s compensation insurance. But there can be disagreements about what constitutes reasonable and necessary medical treatment. If the treatment is for a work-related injury then the payments should continue indefinitely.

If there is a dispute about wage loss or medical bills, consult an attorney to protect your rights.

Giving timely notice

If you have been injured at work, or if you suffer from an occupational disease, you have a clear claim for workers compensation benefits. Notice should be given to your employer as soon as possible. Once you make a claim for benefits, your employer must investigate and make a decision within 30 days. After first notifying your employer of the claim, call an attorney and discuss whether legal representation is necessary.

The company does have the right to send you to its doctor within 10 days of the injury. You also have the right to see your own doctor. You must give written notice to your employer of the name and address of the doctor you are seeing for treatment.

Your medical expenses will be paid but your doctor must send copies of medical records and reports supporting the claim to your employer. Your employer retains the right to have you examined by the company doctor at any time during your disability. You can challenge the opinion of any physician at a workers compensation hearing.

If you have been injured at work or have an occupational disease, and are off work for more than eight days, your employer is responsible for paying your lost wages. Wage loss benefits are not subject to local, state or federal taxes. There is no limit to how many weeks of benefits you may receive if you are permanently disabled.

Blame is not a factor in personal injury cases

Workers Compensation is considered a “no fault” insurance system because the worker is compensated regardless of blame unless the accident is caused by intoxication, willful misconduct, or gross negligence. Often workers comp claims are paid voluntarily by an employer, but certainly not always.

Your employer can refuse to pay benefits from the beginning, terminate benefits after payment has started, or call you back to work before you are physically able to return. At this point, you need to hire an attorney who will begin the hearing process laid out by the Michigan Workers & Unemployment Bureau.

There are informal hearings conducted by a mediator who considers the evidence, makes a recommendation, but has no authority to order payment of benefits. A formal hearing is where both sides are represented by counsel before a magistrate who has the authority to order payment of benefits. An order to pay benefits is known as an open award.

In some cases, the employer and the employee agree to a lump sum payment for all past, present and future benefits. This is called a redemption and is a full and final settlement of any and all claims the employee may have against the employer for workers’ compensation benefits.

If you suffer a workplace injury or occupational disease, the personal injury lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates fight for your rights. There is no obligation for case evaluation and no fee is charged unless a recovery is made.

The Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries, disabilities and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.

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