Documenting Your Workplace Injury
To receive compensation for medical care and lost wages, you’ll need to properly document your injury.
Most likely your employer has Workers’ Compensation Insurance, which is coverage that injured workers are entitled to receive. Workers’ comp pays your medical bills and compensates you for lost wages while you recover. To file a successful workers’ compensation claim, you’ll need to have clear evidence (documentation) about your injury and its treatment.
Documentation = Compensation
If you are injured on the job, it’s important to take certain actions and have complete and relevant documentation of the injury, or you may face difficulties receiving compensation.
If your injury isn’t serious — and even if you received basic first aid in your workplace — it is essential that you see a doctor or other qualified medical professional as soon as possible. If you don’t have a primary care physician that you visit regularly, see one at your nearest walk-in clinic. Tell the doctor that you have been injured at work.
Why is this important? It’s important for medical as well as legal reasons. This visit provides indisputable evidence that the injury occurred, and that you took it seriously enough to see a doctor. It’s also a good idea to see a doctor for your own health and peace of mind. Many injuries don’t fully emerge for a few days — particularly soft tissue injuries, spinal and neck injuries, and concussions/traumatic brain injuries — can take several days (or even weeks) to manifest.
Tell Your Employer
Reporting your injury to your employer, and making sure they file an accident report, is also an essential step in your documentation trail for your workplace injury claim. This may simply mean telling your manager. In some cases this may require seeing someone in your human resources department. To receive compensation for your injuries an official claim must be filed, and if your employer doesn’t do it for you, you will need to do it yourself.
The initial claim form (WC-117) is filed with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity for review and evaluation. If the claim is disputed for any reason, you may need to file form WC-104A to request mediation or a hearing.
There are reporting deadlines to remember, too. You must report your injury within 21 days to receive benefits from the date of your injury. You must report your injury within 120 days or you relinquish your right to make any claim.
In addition to completing the claim form, it can be extremely helpful to gather additional evidence to document your accident and injury, including photographs of the scene, the clothes you were wearing, and damaged property. This evidence may become important if your claim is contested or denied.
Your Right To Receive Benefits
In Michigan, employers must carry insurance to cover an employee in the event of an injury. While there are some exceptions under special circumstances, if a private employer has three or more employees at any one time, or employs one or more workers for 35 or more hours per week for 13 or more weeks, the employer is subject to the Workers Disability Compensation Act (Section 115). Most employers carry this insurance through a private insurance company.
Michigan workers’ compensation law states that the injured party can receive compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation services, and a percentage of lost wages. The injured party can also receive compensation for a permanent injury that limits the ability to work in the future.
If your employer doesn’t have insurance, workers’ compensation laws in Michigan stipulate that you can sue your employer for damages in a civil personal injury lawsuit.
Do You Need A Workers Compensation Attorney?
Getting professional help for your work-related injuries when you initially file your claim can make a big difference in the outcome. Having an attorney guide you and be your advocate — someone familiar with the workers’ compensation claims process in Michigan — becomes even more important when your injuries are more serious. While the workers’ compensation system is designed to help you, it becomes more challenging when you need specific additional medical treatments and your recovery period is long.
Also, if your claim is denied — or if you receive a petition to terminate, modify, or suspend your benefits — contacting a workplace injury lawyer is the next step you should take.
Let the professionals at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. law offices put their workers’ compensation, disability insurance, and personal injury lawsuit expertise to work for you.
Call our law firm toll-free at (866) 868-3779 or use our convenient online contact form to schedule your no-obligation consultation.