Whether you are thinking of moving to Michigan to work or you are already a resident, but you are new to the workforce, it is always good to know what kind of
workers’ compensation claims you can expect from the company you choose to work for. If you get hurt on the job, fall ill, or die suddenly you need to know if you or your family will receive wage replacement, medical, and rehabilitation benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Law in Michigan
In 1912 Michigan adopted the Workmen’s Compensation Act (now referred to as the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act). This solution to covering injuries on the job was basically a “no-fault” system that allowed the employee to be compensated for any injury suffered on the job, no matter if the fault was their own or due to the negligence of the employer.
Although this eliminated the employer’s defenses and made them automatically liable, the Act limited the amount the worker could recover. Most workers are now only entitled to (1) select wage loss benefits, (2) the cost of medical treatment, and (3) select rehabilitation services. These limitations are maintained no matter how serious the injuries might be.
Who Is Covered By This Act?
With the existence of a few exceptions, all employers in Michigan are covered by workers’ compensation. This does not change whether you are a public or a private employer. The few exceptions to this law are federal government employees like postal workers and members of the military, certain very small employers, and agricultural workers. Otherwise, any employer with one or more workers that work up to 35 hours a week for 13 or more weeks is subject to the Act.
Details About Coverage
The State of Michigan does not ordinarily pay workers’ compensation benefits, so the majority of employers must purchase an insurance policy from a private insurance company in order to cover their employees. Depending on what insurance policy your employer has purchased the types of coverage and amount covered may vary, but every employer is required to provide medical benefits from the day of the injury into treatment and recovery.
To ensure you receive the correct coverage, you must report your injury to your employer immediately. Your employer will choose what doctor you go to for the first 28 days of treatment and only after the allotted amount of time can you switch if you so desire. If you change doctors, you must inform both your employer and the insurance company in writing.
There is a week-long waiting period before wage-loss benefits kick in. After the first week of coverage kicks in your wage-loss benefits will amount to 80% of your after-tax wages. If you feel you have been short-changed in medical cost coverage, wage-loss benefits, or rehabilitation costs you are entitled to sue your employer in civil court. It is important to make sure you have connections to a good lawyer in this field just to make sure you are getting all that you are owed.
It is required by law for your employer to allow certain family members to be covered under the company insurance. Make sure you read each plan carefully so you can see which members qualify. In most cases, this will guarantee the inclusion of your spouse and children.