Are Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Effective?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
When you are injured in a workplace accident, you want the reassurance that you will not be out of pocket for medical expenses or for loss of wages. Michigan’s workers compensation law is a fantastic scheme that in most cases works well. But for many people who suffer a work injury, they will not always be offered the full workers’ compensation benefits they may be entitled to.
And while many cases may never need the intervention of a workers’ compensation attorney, many others need the input of an experienced law firm to ensure that workers’ compensation claims are properly dealt with.
Under Michigan state law, all employers must hold workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits when an employee is injured on the job. There are strict regulations governing workers’ compensation cases that include how and when a claim is filed. Your entitlement to these benefits will also preclude you having any legal claim against your employer. Knowing what your rights are can be crucial for your claim.
Third Party Liability
Although you will be unable to pursue a claim against your employer, you may in some circumstances be able to make a claim against a third party if you can prove they are liable for your injuries. This third party could be a subcontractor, a manufacturer – where equipment can be shown to have been faulty and caused your injury – or even an individual. Pursuing such a third party claim does not affect your entitlement to workers compensation.
There are a number of problems or hurdles you may face in your individual case or situation.
Time – As with any aspect of laws and regulations, there are time frames set in place governing when a claim must be filed. The primary one regarding workers compensation is a 90-day window in which you must have reported the injury to your workplace.
Even though those 90 days are set by law, reporting an accident later in the period will lead to questions and a probable dispute. This can seem unfair when some injuries may not fully show themselves for several weeks.
Although the law only requires a verbal report to a manager, Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. always advise that you use any workplace accident reporting forms. This can provide your attorney with evidentiary paperwork if reporting times are questioned later in the process.
The only flexibility to this time frame is where you have developed an occupational illness or condition as a result of workplace conditions. In those cases, the report must be submitted within 90 days of the condition being identified as workplace-related.
There will also be a requirement to prove that any condition was not pre-existing.
Insurance Companies – Once you have filed a claim, your employer’s insurance carriers will process it then make you a settlement offer. This will often be a low offer that does not represent what you are properly entitled to. This is a stage of the process where good legal advice can make a major difference to the outcome.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Many people wrongly assume that workers compensation will only cover loss of wages and any medical costs for your personal injuries. In fact, it entitles an injured worker to a wide range of benefits depending on circumstances. You may also receive a lump sum settlement in lieu of monthly payments. The type of benefits you may receive include:
- Within reason, any medical costs related to your injury will be covered. That can include initial treatment, any required ongoing treatment, any expenses for physical therapy or rehabilitative treatment, and also psychological counseling.
- If your injury means that you are off work for any period, then you will receive a percentage of your normal monthly wage.
- If the incident led to the loss of a limb or a digit, then you will be compensated for the loss.
- In the event that the injury results in you being unable to fulfil your former job role, then funds will be made available for retraining. This could be to retrain you for a new role at the same workplace or for an entirely different career or job.
- In the tragic event a workplace accident has caused death, the spouse or dependents will receive any workers’ compensation as well as a lump sum of $6,000 towards funeral costs.
But Can a Lawyer Really Help Me?
Many workers’ compensation claims go smoothly with injured workers receiving the full benefits they are entitled to. But every year, our law offices hear from hundreds of workers who are experiencing problems with their claim. From low settlement offers to disputes over the extent of injuries, injured workers face issues in receiving what they are entitled to every day.
Having an experienced lawyer such as the team from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. representing you can make a real difference. We can negotiate with the insurance company to get you a better offer. We can analyze your medical reports and present evidence regarding the seriousness of your injuries or condition. And, if needed, we can seek expert medical testimony to support any long-term needs. Our effectiveness comes from our extensive experience in this area of the law and our in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations that apply.\
When you are recovering from a workplace injury, the last thing you want is worry about how you are going to pay medical bills or where the money will come from to pay your rent or mortgage or put food on the table. Engaging a good workers’ compensation lawyer to represent you can ensure a positive outcome.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are a leading law firm in Michigan. As well as our comprehensive knowledge and experience, we also have a highly competent nurse attorney as a senior partner. Her insights and experience can help interpret any medical records and enable her to discuss your case with other medical professionals.
We offer a free initial appointment to evaluate your circumstances and to let you ask any questions. To book a consultation, please call us today at 866-MICH-LAW.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.