Workman’s Compensation

Helping You Find the Compensation You Need to Make a Full Recovery

Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Michigan

Workplace injuries are still a serious issue in Michigan. In 2020, there were almost 90,000 non-fatal injuries and illnesses reported within private workplaces in Michigan— a number that is unfortunately higher than the national average. The majority of these injuries required the employee to take time away from work, switch jobs, or adhere to new restrictions in order to keep working.

If you were injured in the workplace, you are entitled to workman’s compensation benefits. Unfortunately, some employers may dispute these claims. When this happens, you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney by your side. 

At Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, we know that this is a battle you shouldn’t have to face alone. Our team has handled over 120 trials in both Michigan and federal courts, and will help you understand how to move forward.

Keep reading to learn more facts about workman’s compensation, or contact us today to schedule your free (and confidential) case evaluation. 

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation, sometimes referred to as workman’s compensation, is a system designed to provide wage replacement, medical benefits, and rehabilitation benefits to workers who suffer an injury while on the job.

The premise is simple: employers purchase a worker’s compensation policy through an insurance company. If you are injured on the job, you are entitled to receive benefits under that policy, regardless of who was at fault. In exchange for your employer having workers compensation insurance, you are not able to sue your employer directly based on any negligence by your employer or a co-employee. 

What Benefits Are Available Through Workman’s Compensation?

In Michigan, the following benefits are available through workman’s compensation:

  • Wage loss benefits
  • Death benefits
  • Specific loss benefits (e.g. compensation for lost function or amputation)
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Payment for necessary medical treatment
  • Reimbursement for mileage to and from medical appointments
  • Permanent benefits for permanent injuries

Common Workplace Injuries

The majority of fatal workplace accidents in Michigan are transportation-related incidents, followed closely by incidents involving heavy objects and equipment. Some of the most common workplace injuries and causes include:

  • Injuries related to heavy lifting and muscle strain
  • Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents
  • Struck by or against an object
  • Workplace violence
  • Being caught by or compressed in something
  • Car accidents
  • Negligence by a vendor or other contractor at your place of work
  • Negligence by a third person (non-employee) at your place of work
  • Hazardous or defective condition on the premises of your work

What to Do After Sustaining a Workplace Injury

After you’ve sustained a workplace injury (or an illness caused by exposure to toxic substances in your workplace), you need to be prepared to stand up for yourself. Here are the steps you should take immediately after sustaining a workplace injury or suffering a work-related illness:

1) Unless you are self-employed, let your employer know what happened. This is crucial for limiting the risk of further injury to both you and other employees.

2) Seek medical attention immediately. The most important thing is and always will be your health and recovery.

3) Retain all records. This includes anything provided by the hospital, your doctors, or any other health care-related visits. Retain all receipts, bills, and insurance claims, too – these will be helpful to have when you file a claim and during any litigation.

4) File a WC-117 claim. This is a typical workman’s compensation claim. Your employer may or may not do this on your behalf. Make sure to follow up with your employer to find out whether the claim has been filed; if not, you’ll need to take on the responsibility.

4) Evaluate your case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help You

Even if it feels like your employer hasn’t taken your side, you don’t have to fight your case alone. At Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, we are ready to put our experience to use and help you recover the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.

Our collaborative legal team will listen to the facts of your case, help you understand if you even have a case, and evaluate the next steps with you. If you do have a case, our attorneys will help you gather the evidence needed to prove your claim, such as injury reports, medical records, insurance information, and more. Our attorneys will also make sure you file your workers’ compensation paperwork in a timely manner and guide you through the resolution of benefit disputes. We can even help if you need to appeal a workers’ compensation claim denial.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Workers’ compensation can be a complicated process, so it’s normal to have many questions. If you don’t see your question in the FAQ below, please contact us today to speak with someone from our team.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

In Michigan, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a workman’s compensation claim.

Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

If you were injured on the job, yes. However, your employer must have worker’s compensation insurance. In Michigan, the following employers must have workers’ compensation insurance:

-Private employers with one more full-time employees (35+ hours per week) OR three or more part-time or full-time employees
-Public employers (no restrictions)
-Households with full-time domestic servants (35+ hours per week) 
-Agricultural employers with three or more full-time employees (35+ hours per week). 

Please note that some contractors will be exempt from eligibility. Most organizations must employ workers for a certain period of time before the employees qualify for workers’ compensation coverage. 

Additionally, certain injuries may be considered non-qualifying. Please see our “Are There Non-Qualifying Injuries?” question for more information. 

What If My Employer Disputes My Claims?

If your employer disputes your workman’s compensation claim, you will need to file a WC-104A form. Before you fill out this form, we recommend consulting with one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys. Our team has experience handling disputes and can guide you further on what to expect during your hearing.

Are There Non-Qualifying Injuries?

Yes. Injuries sustained off-site at company events or on a commute to work are usually non-qualifying injuries. This means that if you were injured during a company event, you will most likely not be compensated, although there are some exceptions. 

Additionally, if your injury was sustained due to your “intentional willful misconduct,” you will not receive benefits. For example, if your employer has safety rules in place and your injury was caused by not following these rules, you may not receive benefits. 

Lastly, some pre-existing conditions may not be covered, including heart disease, mental disabilities, and common health conditions associated with aging. 

When you schedule a free case evaluation with our firm, our team will help you understand whether your injury is qualifying or non-qualifying.

What Do I Need to Prove?

You must prove that wage loss was the direct result of a work-related injury, illness, or disability. Under Michigan law, a disability is defined as “a limitation of an employee’s wage earning capacity in work suitable to his or her qualifications and training resulting from a personal injury or work-related disease.” To prove this, you will need to provide:

-Your qualifications and training (education, skills, etc.)
-Jobs you are qualified and trained to perform (within the same salary range as your current job)
-Show that your injury prevents you from performing these jobs 

Gathering the evidence needed is not easy, and there is a good chance that your employer could dispute your claim. Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help make the process easier to understand. 

How Much Will I Be Paid?

This varies based on your specific situation, as there are a variety of benefits you could qualify for. In most cases, your wage loss benefits will be based on the average of your highest earnings during a 52-week period (before you were injured). For a better estimate on how much is owed to you, please contact us for a free case evaluation.

When Will I Receive My Workman’s Comp Benefits?

You are entitled to medical benefits starting the date of your injury. For wage loss benefits, you are eligible after the 8th day of your injury. You will not receive a check until the injury has been reported to your employer and you have filed a claim. Once a claim has been filed, the insurance company will have 14 to 30 days to send a check.

Will I Receive Benefits If I Am the At-Fault Party?

Yes and no. If your injury was due to “horseplay” at work, you could still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, every situation is unique. If your injury is considered to be the result of intentional and willful misconduct, you will not receive benefits.

Can I Choose My Own Doctor?

This rule varies from state to state. In Michigan, your doctor will be provided to you by Sedgwick. You are required to see your chosen doctor for at least 28 days. After that 28-day period, you are allowed to change doctors. However, you must notify both Sedgwick and the Disability Management Office of your intentions, as well as the name of your preferred physician.

If I’m On Workman’s Compensation Leave, Can I Be Fired?

Yes. However, it is illegal for your employer to fire you in retaliation to you filing a workman’s compensation claim. 

It’s important to note that if you were terminated, you will only receive benefits if that termination was at no fault of your own. If you are at fault, you will not receive benefits. Additionally, if you receive an offer from an employer or unemployment agency and refuse that offer, you will also be ineligible for benefits.

Request a Free Case Evaluation With a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, previously known as Giroux Trial Attorneys, are proud to serve clients throughout the state of Michigan. We are passionate about fighting for injured workers, and we never collect fees unless our clients win. Reach out to our firm today to request a free case evaluation.

Q: What are my civil rights?

Generally speaking, your civil rights are those enumerated under the US Constitution and legislative acts. Civil rights are typically those considered to be related to an individual’s political and social freedom and equality.  These rights range from your right to free speech to your right to an attorney.

Q: What rights do I have if I’ve been arrested?

The most important rights to consider if you’ve been arrested or picked up by police are the right to an attorney, the right to avoid self-incrimination, and the right not to be unlawfully detained. You can always refuse to answer questions and request an attorney. If you have not been formally placed under arrest, you have the right to leave police custody. If you’ve been placed under arrest, the police have a certain amount of time they can hold you without formally filing charges. Even after you have been formally charged, you have the right to request a non-punitive bail, which can be granted or denied at the judge’s discretion.

Q: What is the statute of limitations for a civil rights claim?

Depending on the claims alleged, civil rights violations have varying statutes of limitations under state law. Federal courts typically apply the laws of the forum state in assessing the applicable statute of limitations. If you believe your rights have been violated, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.

Q: What are common types of civil rights claims?

Technically, a civil rights claim can be any act that in some way has infringed upon an individual’s autonomy.  The most common types of civil rights claims involve abuse by government actors, such as police brutality or misconduct, or agencies, wrongful termination, and employment discrimination.

Q: I believe my rights have been violated by the government or one of its officers. Do I have a claim?

Government actors and officers are protected by governmental and qualified immunity that bars claims. However, if it can be proven that the government or its officer acted with gross indifference or acted in a way that serves as an exception to their governmental immunity, you can pursue a claim.

Q: What is a 1983 complaint?

The most common type of civil rights claim is a federal 1983 claim. 1983 claims are those raised under 42 USC 1983, which governs the actions of governmental agents, like police officers. 1983 claims are often asserted when an individual has been assaulted by a police officer, a government funded institution commits a tort, or an individual suffers an injury or death while incarcerated.

Q: Can I file a civil rights claim on behalf of a family member or friend?

You can only file a civil rights claim on behalf of someone other than yourself if one of the following exceptions applies: wrongful death cases, an incapacitated plaintiff, a minor plaintiff, or a class action case.

Q: What is the difference between a civil and a criminal violation of civil rights?

A criminal civil rights violation involves the use or threat of force. A civil violation of civil rights involves no violence, only discriminatory behavior. Criminal violations carry incarceration penalties, while civil violations carry monetary penalties.


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