What Does Michigan Workers Compensation Cover?
In the state of Michigan, workers compensation provides people injured on the job with benefits for three key things: health care, vocational rehabilitation, and wage loss.
When you’re hurt on the job, first and foremost, you need to get medical attention right away. Your employer or their insurance company is responsible for covering all of your medical care reasonably related to your injury for as long as it is needed. If you sustain an injury that will require treatment for the rest of your life, that is how long workers compensation will pay for it. This covers things such as hospital stays, attendant care, crutches, wheelchairs, and prosthetic limbs. If, for some reason, you end up paying some of your medical expenses out of pocket, you can seek reimbursement from your employer or their insurance company.
In the state of Michigan, employers have the right to select the doctor(s) you see for the first 28 days of your treatment. But if you would prefer to see a doctor of your choosing, you can notify your employer after that 28 day window has passed.
The ultimate goal of workers compensation is for you to get well and be able to return to work as quickly and safely as possible. But sometimes injuries prevent you from being able to do your old job and other jobs you can do don’t pay as well. Vocational rehabilitation benefits can help you go back to school, learn new skills, or get certifications so you’ll be able to find higher paying work. Workers compensation provides up to two years of vocational rehab and you can still collect wage loss benefits while doing vocational rehabilitation.
Vocational rehab may also cover things like an employer making adjustments to your workspace so that you are able to return to work and perform the same duties you had been prior to your injury.
If your injury leaves you unable to perform your job for seven or more consecutive days, causing you to lose money, you are eligible to collect wage loss benefits. In Michigan, wage loss benefits are 80% of the after-tax amount of your average weekly wage. The average weekly wage is calculated by finding the average of the highest wages paid for 39 of the past 52 weeks. If you are working for more than one employer at the time of your injury, wages from both jobs are factored into your wage loss benefits.
In Michigan, if your employer offers you a job that you can reasonably do, you are expected to accept it even if it doesn’t pay as much as your old job. Otherwise, you risk losing your workers compensation benefits. If your injury prevents you from being able to do higher paying jobs, wage loss benefits can cover the difference between your new wage and what you used to earn.
Do I Need an Attorney for Workers Compensation?
Workers compensation was introduced in Michigan in 1912 as a way of keeping injured worker cases out of the courts. But having an experienced workers compensation attorney on your side can still be a tremendous asset. In too many cases, injured workers do not receive as much compensation as they’re entitled to. An attorney will make sure your employer, their insurance company, and anyone working for them treats you fairly and that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.