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Michigan Workers' Compensation Laws

While many Michiganders would prefer to lounge on the shores of Lake Michigan or hang out at a Red Wings game, the majority must spend their days toiling away at work. Whether your office is in Detroit or Grand Rapids, every employee is at risk for work-related injuries and illnesses.

In Michigan, employers must carry workers' compensation insurance, which provides wage replacement, medical, and rehabilitation benefits to employees who are injured or fall ill because of their work, regardless of fault. In turn, the employee gives up the right to file a lawsuit against the employer and is limited to certain benefits. If you've been injured in Michigan, you should know your rights and responsibilities for filing a workers' compensation claim.

Below is a table showing important aspects of Michigan's workers' compensation laws, including benefits and key timelines.

Important Deadlines
  • 90 days to give notice of work-related injury to employer (Sec. 381);
  • 2 years to file claim with employer (Sec. 381)
Some Types of Benefits
  • Health care: coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical care; bills sent directly to employer/insurance carrier (Sec. 315)
  • Wage loss: payments equal to a percentage of wages lost as a result of temporary or permanent disability (Sec. 301(7-9); 351; 361(3))
  • Specific loss: compensation for specific losses such as an arm or thumb (Sec. 361(2))
  • Vocational rehabilitation: up to two years of coverage for cost to modify employee's working conditions, help find new employment, pay for training (Sec. 319)
  • Death benefits: payments to surviving dependent(s) and up to $6,000 in funeral expenses if employee dies from work-related injury or illness (Sec. 321, 345, 415)
Employer Rights & Obligations
  • Employers required by law to provide workers' compensation insurance for all employees, with limited exceptions (Sec. 111 et seq.);
  • May designate employee's medical provider for first 28 days of treatment (Sec. 315(1)); may request additional medical examinations (Sec. 385)

Who and What is Covered by Workers' Compensation?

In Michigan, an employer must have workers' compensation insurance if it has three or more employees at any time or has one employee working 35 hours or more per week. Almost anyone hired to perform services for pay is considered an employee, but there are exceptions, including some farm workers and independent contractors.

Additionally, the injury must be work-related. For example, if you're injured while traveling and your job requires you to travel, you are probably covered. However, normal commuting to and from work is not covered. Furthermore, while injuries are covered regardless of fault, compensation may be denied if the injury was the result of intentional or willful misconduct.

Hurt on the Job? Report Your Injury

After an accident, you should seek medical attention and notify your supervisor of the injury (or illness) within 90 days. If it looks like you'll miss more than one week of work, your employer must file an Employer's Basic Report of Injury with the Bureau of Workers' Disability Compensation and begin making payments to you or deny your claim. Your employer may designate a doctor for you for the first 28 days of treatment.

Whether you notify your employer or file a claim directly with the bureau, you must make a claim for compensation within two years after the injury. Lastly, your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a claim, but workers' compensation law does not require them to hold a job open for you while you are injured, and your benefits may be stopped if you are justifiably fired from your job.

What if My Claim Is Denied or Challenged?

If your claim is denied or you have a dispute with the insurance company or employer, you may file an application for mediation or hearing with the bureau within two years of the injury. If the dispute is not resolved at the mediation, the case is assigned a trial date before a workers' compensation judge. You may represent yourself during this process, but an attorney can be extremely helpful in meeting deadlines, gathering evidence, and representing you against the insurance company's attorneys.

Get Legal Help With Your Michigan Workers' Compensation Concerns

It's bad enough that you've been injured on the job, but now you have to navigate the often time-consuming process of pursuing workers' compensation. If you don't follow rules, your benefits could be reduced or barred altogether. Learn about your potential benefits and recuperate in peace by meeting with a local injury law attorney who has experience with Michigan's workers' compensation laws.

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