Frequently Asked Workers Compensation Questions

You’ve probably never undergone a work injury before and don’t know what to expect. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers.

Generally, Michigan law prohibits employees from suing their employers for damages beyond the economic benefits provided by workers’ compensation. However, you may be able to take legal action against the manufacturer of a defective product or against an individual (other than a co-worker) who caused the injury.
Maybe. In the workers’ compensation law, there are exceptions to the general rule that prevent an individual from seeking non-economic damages from an employer. One exception is a civil rights violation; another is an injury that directly results from an intentional act by the employer.
Workers’ compensation usually does not apply to one who is traveling to and from the place of employment. However, once a worker is on the employer’s property, workers’ compensation insurance may cover an injury.
It is important to note that employees who must travel to perform work assignments are covered by workers’ compensation benefits if they are hurt on the job. For example, a person who is injured after leaving the worksite to make a delivery or attend a meeting at another location may qualify for workers’ compensation because the trip was an essential part of his or her job assignment.
On the other hand, workers’ compensation may not cover an injury if the employee was hurt while making a side-trip to handle purely personal business.
Michigan courts traditionally recognize that employees may engage in a certain amount of “horseplay.” In most cases, this would still qualify an individual for workers’ compensation benefits. However, each case must be evaluated separately, based on the specific circumstances. A worker who engaged in serious willful or intentional misconduct may lose the right to workers compensation benefits.
Michigan law requires injured employees to accept a position offered by their own employers (or other employment sources), if the new job is within their qualifications and training, and any medical restrictions. When the new job pays less than the previous position, the worker should receive partial wage loss benefits, to cover part of the difference between the individual’s previous and current earnings.

A worker seriously risks any claim for continued workers’ compensation benefits by turning down the offer of a job that he or she is able to do. If you are not sure how to handle a job offer or your employer demands that you actively look for other work, consult an attorney immediately.

Under the law, it should be possible for you to resume receiving benefits. However, your employer may challenge whether you made a real effort to return to work. If this happens to you and you truly are unable to work, you should talk with a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.
For the first 28 days after a work-related injury, the employer has the right to choose the treating doctor. However, after 28 days, the law allows you to select your own doctor and other medical care providers, as long as you select qualified medical professionals and notify your employer of your intentions.
If you or a loved one have suffered a workplace injury, it is important to talk with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.