An employee should be compensated for any work-related injuries or occupational diseases, regardless of whether his employer was at fault or not. However, workers like independent contractors and volunteers are not covered by workers’ compensation for injuries they may sustain at the place of work.
When to Talk to an Attorney
An employee should contact a workers’ compensation attorney if his employer is challenging his claim. He can also consider finding a lawyer if his injuries are severe or he has other extenuating factors like Social Security. The workers’ compensation attorney will advocate for the worker throughout the entirety of the legal process.
Filing a Claim
The worker should notify his employer immediately after he is injured or becomes ill at the place of work. The employer will give the employee the forms required to file a workers’ compensation claim. Once the worker has notified the employer, it is the job of the employer to notify the workers’ compensation insurance company of your claims. If the employer is self-insured, he then takes care of the claims from his fund that it set aside for that work.
Once the employee has filed the claim, it’s time now for compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits include medical benefits, wage replacement, permanent disability payments, and vocational rehabilitation as explained below:
- Medical Treatment
While an employee is entitled to medical treatment for any work-related injury or occupational disease, he must be able to justify that he sustained those injuries at the place of work. The employer is, however, not responsible for footing all medical bills for all health conditions while an employee has an open workers’ comp claim. Instead, the workers’ comp insurance company is the one to pay for the treatments, but the claim must be reasonable and necessary. The worker’s health condition must have required a medical treatment beyond a simple first aid.
- Lost and Decreased Wages
An employee is entitled to lost wages compensation if he is unable to work due to work-related medical conditions. The compensation is a weekly payment of about 80 percent of his post-tax average weekly wage.
If an employee returns to work after an injury, but he receives less wage than he did at the time of his injury, then he gets partial benefits to cater for the decreased wages. These benefits are 80 percent of the difference in his wages.
According to the law, the employee receives lost-wage benefits 14 days after his employer has noticed his disability.
- Vocational rehabilitation
A worker would qualify for vocational rehabilitation services if he was unable to return to his previous employment after recovering fully. He, however, undergoes a job retraining to be able to return to his previous employer in another position. A vocational counselor can also assist the employee to gain the necessary skills to look for a job elsewhere.
- Permanent disability payments
A worker who has been partially or permanently disabled is entitled to additional disability benefits. The permanently disabled employee receives lump sum monetary payments. A worker qualifies for permanent disability benefits only when there are no further curative treatment options for his conditions.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney from Michigan Legal Center can analyze the details of your specific case and determine the best course of action for your claim. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.