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Common misunderstandings about worker's compensation

When employees are injured on the job, they often have many questions. How do they apply for compensation? Will their employer cover the costs of care? Can they continue working? These are just a few of the initial concerns that may come to mind. Luckily, the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services has outlined many of the most common concerns about worker's compensation and their answers. Here are a few things to keep in mind that may clarify any questions.

Dependents can receive benefits

If an employee is killed in a workplace accident, his or her dependents may be eligible to receive benefits. The standard amount of compensation in Michigan is 80 percent of the net income earned when death occurred or 50 percent of the weekly average wage in the state, whichever is higher.

Benefits are capped

Injured employees will only be eligible to receive up to 90 percent of the average weekly wage of the state during the year before the injury. In some cases, that amount is much lower than their current salary.

Only certain injures qualify for total disability

If an employee is injured, efforts will be focused toward rehabilitation and healing. Under certain circumstances, the individual will be considered permanently disabled. These include complete loss of function of any two members of the legs, hands or eyes. Mental conditions that cause permanent insanity are also considered disabling.

Size matters

While most employers are required to carry an insurance policy, there are some businesses that are exempt. Examples include very small companies that employ less than three employees on a part-time basis. There are also certain circumstances that can cause agricultural employees to be exempt.

Jobs must be accepted

When an employee is injured, the law requires the business owner to try to find alternate duties for him or her to do while healing. If employees refuse work that they are capable of performing, they will have their worker's compensation benefits taken away.

Location is important

Sometimes, an employee is injured while he or she is driving to work and wonders if this qualifies for a worker's compensation claim. Unfortunately, the department states that if the employee is not on business premises a reasonable amount of time before duties begin, the injury is generally not eligible. Employees who operate vehicles as part of their position may be eligible if they are off-location but performing work duties.

Legal help should be sought

When applying for worker's compensation benefits, small mistakes can mean a reduction in benefits or a delay in processing. Enlisting the help of an experienced attorney can eliminate the risk of problems and help you get the be nefits you deserve as quickly as possible.

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