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How can You Get Workers Compensation Benefits?

— November 7, 2022

If you are left with a permanent impairment such as an amputation, loss or hearing or vision you may qualify for specific loss benefits. 

Traverse City, MI – Accidents happen, but when they happen on the job it’s even more frustrating. One minute you’re doing your job and the next one you find yourself injured and in pain. For most people what is worse is the fear that they won’t be able to work for a long time and won’t be able to put food on the table or pay the bills. In most cases, you can sue the party at fault after an accident, but in work-related injuries you will have to rely on workers compensation benefits. Under Michigan law, all employers with more than three employees are required to have workers compensation. However, certain categories, such as independent contractors, most farm laborers and federal employees are not covered by workers compensation. If you were recently injured in a work accident and you don’t know whether you qualify for benefits or your claim was denied, you should seek legal advice from an experienced workers compensation lawyer in Traverse City, MI. 

What do I need to do after an accident at work?

The first thing you need to do is to inform your supervisor or your employer of the accident. If possible take pictures of the scene and of what caused your accident, like the ladder you fell from, the ramp you slipped on, the piece of equipment that malfunctioned, etc. Even if you were partly to blame for what happened you can still recover damages. Michigan uses the comparative negligence law for accidents which means that even if you were 25% to blame, you can still get 75% of the damages. 

Another important thing is to see a doctor as soon as possible. Under Michigan law, for the first 28 days of your medical treatment you are required to see a doctor approved by your employer or their insurer. However, if you need to see a doctor right away you can go to the ER and see the other doctor later. What matters is that you document your injuries so there won’t be any discussion later as to what caused your medical issues. Many times insurance adjusters try to minimize the value of your claim by arguing that you have a pre-existing medical condition and your injuries have nothing to do with the accident. 

What type of benefits can I recover for a work injury?

Medical Records are Often Incorrect & Missing Information
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In Michigan, workers compensation includes four types of benefits:

  • Medical bills covering all the care you’ve received, from emergency treatment to physical rehabilitation programs.
  • Lost wages for the period you were unable to work, whether your disability is temporary or permanent
  • Vocational rehabilitation benefits, which include the cost of any program to train for a new career if you are unable to return to your old job.
  • Death benefits that go to the family of an employee killed in a work accident. 

If you are left with a permanent impairment such as an amputation, loss or hearing or vision you may qualify for specific loss benefits. 

If your employer or their insurer unjustly denies your claim, talk to a seasoned Michigan workers compensation attorney right away. You can always appeal a denied insurance claim and you are allowed to submit more documents supporting your claim at this stage. If it turns out your employer refuses to give you the benefits you deserve because they don’t have workers compensation coverage that is against the law. Your lawyer will probably advise you to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages.  

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