Workers’ Compensation Employee Rights
William Biebuyck is a Workers’ Compensation Employee Rights Advocate and Attorney
Workers’ Compensation is an employee benefit established in 1912 by the Michigan Legislature to protect injured workers. Compensation is provided for disability or death as a result of a work-related injury or disease, without regard to who may be at fault. Benefits are paid by employers or through their insurance carriers.
When injury occurs at work, the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act is your exclusive remedy against your employer for work-related injuries or diseases. You usually do not have the right to sue your employer outside of the benefits from Workers’ Compensation.
YOUR RIGHTS AS AN EMPLOYEE
#1 Medical Care
You are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical care for work-related injuries or diseases. This may include, but is not limited to medical, surgical, nursing and hospital care, and, dental care, and other assistive devices.
Employers or their insurance carriers are required by law to provide these services. However, during the first 28 days of treatment, your employer or their insurance carrier has the right to choose the doctors for your care. After 28 days you are free to pick the doctors you feel are best suited for your proper and reasonable care. Let your employer know your wishes, allowing for the change in care. If your employer or insurance carrier does not have a good reason for denying your request to change doctors, you may want to contact an attorney specializing in Workers’ Compensation law to protect your best interest, keeping in mind, insurance companies are not always looking out for your best interest, they may be looking out for their best interest. You should not have to pay any out of pocket expenses.
#2 Wage Loss Benefits
Your injury may entitle you to weekly compensation benefits, which may be claimed as long as a disability and wage loss continue. In most cases, the benefit rate is 80% of your after-tax average weekly wage, however, there is a maximum weekly benefit, which changes each year.
#3 Vocational Rehabilitation
In some cases, if you are unable to perform the work that you have done previously, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. If you cannot return to your past work, or require assistance in finding a new job, vocational rehabilitation services may be a benefit you could be entitled to.