Workplace Accident Lawyer
Workplace injuries can occur suddenly and randomly in a number of work environments in Michigan. When this happens, it is important to know what your rights are as a worker, and what you and your employer must do to make sure you receive the right benefits.
As leading worker compensation lawyers in Michigan, the team at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is ready to help guide you through the process, or help fight for your rights to be compensated. Learn about your rights and eligibility regarding workplace accidents.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Workers’ Compensation Injury Attorneys
The Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are Michigan workers compensation attorneys dedicated to representing individuals who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of personal injuries sustained at work. We’re leading workers’ compensation attorneys and look forward to answering any questions you may have regarding workplace injuries and workman’s comp in Michigan. As experienced workplace accident lawyers, we have dealt with work-related injury cases of all kinds.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than 2.8 million workplace illnesses, accidents, workers’ comp injury claims, and wrongful deaths a year. Construction sites are one of the most common places for workplace accidents, due to the fact they are dangerous places to work. Warehouses, machine shops, and factories also have a high rate of incidence because of the high powered machinery and fast-paced work environment naturally involved in such a workplace.
Workman’s Comp in Michigan
The Workers’ Disability Compensation Act was first adopted in Michigan in 1912 and protects and provides compensation for workers who incur injury, illness, or death at the workplace. The act sets in place a system that supplements an employee’s wage replacement, medical bills, and rehabilitation support for those who have suffered a workplace injury. In Michigan, employers usually take out a workman’s compensation policy from a private insurance company.
The most common injuries are caused by spills, tripping hazards, or heavy equipment malfunctions. While many of these injuries result in minor injuries such as bruises, sprains, or temporary soreness and occur from genuine accidents, it is your employer’s responsibility to create a workspace that is free from hazards and risks. In the event that an accident does occur, it is important to follow the correct protocol to ensure your benefits start as soon as possible.
What to Expect
If you or a friend or family member are injured on a job, it is important to notify your employer immediately, taking note of the injury, time, and reason for the occurrence. Your employer should be able to provide you immediate medical benefits.
For the first 28 days, your employer will be entitled to choose your medical provider. If you would like to change your provider after that time, you may do so by notifying your employer and insurance company in writing, as you should be able to do so with no trouble or authorization if your claim is not in dispute. If you have any issues with the following, contact your local workplace accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
Wage loss benefits will kick in on the eighth day after your injury, following a mandatory seven day waiting period. After 14 days, you will be entitled to disability. Weekly benefits may be up to 85% of your wages, including overtime. In addition, wage loss benefits are eligible to be extended if the original job is no longer available when the employee is ready to come back to work.
What is Covered
Workers’ Compensation is the name given to a system of laws intended to protect injured workers. The goal of the workers’ compensation claim following a workplace injury, is to ensure that you receive appropriate medical care, lost wages, retraining, and rehabilitation, if needed, to re-enter the workplace, or benefits for your family if you are killed on the job.
In addition to covering current medical bills, workers’ compensation insurance should cover any future medical expenses related to the pain and suffering of the injured parties. This may include physical rehabilitation, therapy, support groups, or any other suitable system to restore the employee’s health.
Workplace injuries occur quite frequently in different work environments in Michigan. From warehouses to machine shops to construction sites, workers are subject to dangerous environments daily and it is up to employers to minimize risk and hazards as much as possible, as well as to provide proper workman’s’ compensation benefits in the case that something goes wrong.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a workplace accident and has not yet received proper compensation, contact our team at the Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. to better understand your rights and entitled benefits and to receive them as soon as possible.
Immediate medical care is only one of the benefits and the injured party is eligible to receive. For more serious cases, employees may be eligible for prolonged medical support, wage loss benefits, and support for any pain and suffering that may have been caused.
If the injury was not your fault and you were injured on the job, you should not have to suffer physical and wage losses without the support of your employer. Call Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at (866) 868-3779 for a free consultation and to get support on how to handle your workplace injury case.
Who is covered, who is not
Most workers in Michigan are covered by Michigan Workers Compensation if injured on the job. Some workers who may not be covered, however, include agricultural workers or federal workers such as postal carriers. Some businesses with three or fewer employees also may be exempt. A workers compensation lawyer in Michigan will give you complete details.
“While a typical injured employee does not know workers compensation law, a typical employer is very much aware of how the system works and how to terminate an employee’s benefits,” says attorney Terry Cochran, partner in the law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, PC, which specializes in workers comp and other liability cases.
“An injured worker who returns to work to a specifically created position may find that, 100 weeks later, the position is eliminated and he is laid off – no longer eligible for workers comp,” cautions Cochran. “Many employers hire doctors who are much more interested in maintaining a relationship with the employer than with accurately diagnosing the employee. My firm will help protect your rights when one of these ‘hired gun’ doctors tries to block you from getting necessary treatment, cut off your benefits, or send you back to work too early.”
The lawyer experienced in workers comp whom you hire also will know the administrative judges or hearing officers who preside over comp hearings, and likely will know many of the doctors and defense lawyers who are trying to block your claim. An attorney who knows the ins-and-outs of the system can provide you with sound legal advice and help ensure you collect benefits due you or, if you wish, get a maximum payoff to settle your personal injury claim.
Wage, injury claims & medical benefits
The formula to determine wage loss benefits in Michigan is 80 percent of an employee’s after-tax salary. In some cases, the wage loss benefit might be two-thirds of the worker’s base salary, subject to limitations. When an employee’s salary changes from week to week the benefit may be based on the 39 highest weeks of pay during the past year. Normally the 80 percent calculation is more beneficial to the worker, but legal counsel can best determine which calculation should be used.
All necessary medical expenses incurred by someone who has suffered a work injury are to be paid for by worker’s compensation insurance. But there can be disagreements about what constitutes reasonable and necessary medical treatment. If the treatment is for a work-related injury then the payments should continue indefinitely.
If there is a dispute about wage loss or medical bills, consult an attorney to protect your rights.
Giving timely notice
If you have been injured at work, or if you suffer from an occupational disease, you have a clear claim for workers compensation benefits. Notice should be given to your employer as soon as possible. Once you make a claim for benefits, your employer must investigate and make a decision within 30 days. After first notifying your employer of the claim, call an attorney and discuss whether legal representation is necessary.
The company does have the right to send you to its doctor within 10 days of the injury. You also have the right to see your own doctor. You must give written notice to your employer of the name and address of the doctor you are seeing for treatment.
Your medical expenses will be paid but your doctor must send copies of medical records and reports supporting the claim to your employer. Your employer retains the right to have you examined by the company doctor at any time during your disability. You can challenge the opinion of any physician at a workers compensation hearing.
If you have been injured at work or have an occupational disease, and are off work for more than eight days, your employer is responsible for paying your lost wages. Wage loss benefits are not subject to local, state or federal taxes. There is no limit to how many weeks of benefits you may receive if you are permanently disabled.
Blame is not a factor in personal injury cases
Workers Compensation is considered a “no fault” insurance system because the worker is compensated regardless of blame unless the accident is caused by intoxication, willful misconduct, or gross negligence. Often workers comp claims are paid voluntarily by an employer, but certainly not always.
Your employer can refuse to pay benefits from the beginning, terminate benefits after payment has started, or call you back to work before you are physically able to return. At this point, you need to hire an attorney who will begin the hearing process laid out by the Michigan Workers & Unemployment Bureau.
There are informal hearings conducted by a mediator who considers the evidence, makes a recommendation, but has no authority to order payment of benefits. A formal hearing is where both sides are represented by counsel before a magistrate who has the authority to order payment of benefits. An order to pay benefits is known as an open award.
In some cases, the employer and the employee agree to a lump sum payment for all past, present and future benefits. This is called a redemption and is a full and final settlement of any and all claims the employee may have against the employer for workers’ compensation benefits.
If you suffer a workplace injury or occupational disease, the personal injury lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates fight for your rights. There is no obligation for case evaluation and no fee is charged unless a recovery is made.
The Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries, disabilities and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.