Cochran, Kroll & Associates workers compensation injury firm
The Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are workers compensation Michigan attorneys dedicated to representing individuals who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries sustained at work. We’re leading workers compensation Michigan attorneys and look forward to answering any questions you may have.
As a service to you we’ve written several articles that will help you understand your rights, and when you should—and shouldn’t—contact workers compensation Michigan attorneys. We hope this service is as useful to you as actually contacting a workers compensation lawyer in Michigan.
If you have questions about any of these topics please feel free to contact our team of workers compensation claim lawyers directly. We’re workers compensation Michigan attorneys who are happy to help.
What should a worker expect when injured at place of employment
Workers Compensation is the name given to a system of laws intended to protect injured workers. The goal of the workers compensation claim is to make sure if you are injured at work 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.
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 help ensure you collect benefits due you or, if
you wish, get a maximum payoff to settle your compensation claim.
Wage & 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 an injured worker 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 benefits, 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
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, let 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.