If you’ve been injured on the job, Michigan’s workers’ compensation system can provide financial assistance to keep you and your family afloat while you heal. But obtaining benefits is not always simple. Getting the workers’ comp benefits you deserve involves paperwork, documentation and haggling with insurance companies when disputes arise.
Applying for workers’ comp in Michigan is a multi-step process, and sometimes claimants miss out on benefits by missing deadlines or other easily avoidable errors. To prevent you from making the same mistakes, we have compiled a list of the most common errors claimants make when applying for workers’ comp in Michigan.
Don’t Make These Mistakes When Filing Your Michigan Workers’ Comp Claim
People filing workers’ compensation claims often make simple mistakes that can cost them valuable benefits, such as:
- Not giving proper notice to their employer: You must report your claim to your employer within 90 days after the injury. Sometimes injuries are not immediately apparent, particularly in cases of “repetitive trauma” such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. In those cases, notice must be given within 90 days after the employee knew of or should have known about the injury. Telling your employer – either verbally or preferably in a written accident report – is extremely important or you risk losing your right to workers’ comp benefits.
- Failure to file a claim within the statute of limitations: You must make a claim for workers’ comp benefits within two years of the date of the injury.
- Not telling your doctor all the details of the accident: It is important that your doctor understands that your injury happened on the job or as a result of your work environment. That documentation will be crucial in supporting your workers’ comp claim for benefits, particularly when disputes arise.
- Failing to report the injury because it seems minor: Injuries that seem minor at first may become bigger problems as time passes. For example, it is not uncommon for symptoms of a brain injury to have a delayed onset. Some workers may try to shake off a simple “knock on the head” by not reporting their work-related injury, only to regret it later when problems arise.
- Not reporting an injury because it aggravated an existing condition: Contrary to what you might think, work injuries that make pre-existing conditions worse are still compensable under Michigan’s workers’ compensation laws. In some cases, such as heart disease, mental disabilities and conditions inherent in the aging process, a worker must be able to prove that the injury was accelerated “in a significant manner” at work in order to receive benefits.
- Not realizing that the insurance company will be watching you: Insurers want to save money – not pay it to you in a workers’ comp claim. It is likely that you will be followed or videotaped during your recuperation without realizing it. If you perform activities outside the scope of your restriction, your benefits may be cut or denied.
- Not getting a second opinion: Initially, the law specifies that you must see a doctor selected by your employer’s insurance company. However, after 10 days, you are free to choose a doctor on your own, as long as you notify your employer of your intentions. It does not hurt to get a second opinion on your injuries, particularly if you run into a dispute situation.
- Going to a hearing without a workers’ compensation attorney: If your comp claim has been denied, you may be required to have a hearing before a magistrate. Insurance companies will be represented at hearings by lawyers who want to protect their interests and will work aggressively to argue that you are not entitled to benefits. You should seriously consider partnering with a Michigan workers’ comp attorney if your claim has escalated to the hearing level to make sure that your interests are protected.
Our Workers’ Comp Attorneys Can Assist With Your Claim
The majority of Michigan employees are entitled to workers’ comp benefits if they sustain an injury at work. Don’t let a simple mistake cost you the benefits you deserve. Call Michigan Injury Lawyers at (888) 454-0801 or contact us online for a free consultation. If there is no recovery in your case, there is no fee for our services