Workers’ Compensation: Applying For Coverage 101
A job-related injury or illness stops you from working. You’re worried about paying medical bills and supporting yourself and your family after the loss of income.
This is why workers’ compensation insurance exists.
You start your application by immediately informing your employer. If your employer doesn’t put in the necessary forms to initiate your claim, you submit the application yourself.
Hopefully you soon start collecting benefits to cover health care and lost wages.
But the process can be complicated and the insurance company doesn’t put your interests first. You may need to work with an attorney to get all the benefits you deserve.
WHEN YOU QUALIFY FOR WORKERS’ COMP
Workers’ comp covers most employees in Michigan from injuries that “arise out of and in the course of employment.”
Your illness or injury must have been caused by your job, but it doesn’t matter who was responsible. Even if you were partly at fault, workers’ compensation should provide benefits.
Some examples of work-related injuries include being injured on heavy equipment in your workplace or suffering repetitive stress-use injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Injuries related to falls are among the most common. Falls affecting workers ages 45-54 cost $23 billion annually.
However, job-related injuries can strike employees of any age, in any industry, at any time.
HOW TO APPLY FOR BENEFITS
After a job-related injury or illness occurs, your first step is always to report it to your employer.
They should start your claim, but if your employer doesn’t file the claim for you, you can file Workers’ Comp form WC-117 directly with the Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency.
That application form asks for information about you and your employer and details about the injury or illness.
It’s important to be as accurate and complete as possible, as this form will provide the basis for the insurance company’s (or self-insured employer’s) initial determination.
If your employer or the insurance company disputes your claim, you can pursue a mediation session or a hearing by filing Workers’ Comp form WC-104A.
This is a more detailed form that asks for information about you, your family, the work-related injury or illness, medical treatment you’ve received and whether there were any witnesses to the injury.
WHAT DOES WORKERS’ COMP COVER?
If you were injured in a work-related accident, or if you became ill because of working conditions, the first thing workers’ comp does is pay for the cost of your medical care, including prescription medications.
Medical expenses are covered from the day of the injury, although it’s important to note that your employer has the right to choose the doctor who treats you for the first 28 days after a work-related injury.
If, after seven consecutive calendar days, you are not able to return to work, workers’ comp also provides wage-loss benefits starting on the eighth day.
For situations where your wage-loss continues for at least 14 days, you can receive wage-loss benefits for that first week you were unable to work.
AN EXPERIENCED WORKERS’ COMP LAWYER AT LEVINE BENJAMIN CAN HELP
Finding yourself suddenly unable to work because of a job-related illness or injury can be scary. If you’ve been hurt on the job, benefits from the workers’ comp program are there to protect you financially.
While you don’t need a workers’ comp attorney to represent you in your claim, you might not get all of the benefits you’re entitled to if you try to handle the application process on your own.
The insurance company’s goal is to protect its own interests. Those interests are generally not the same as yours.
When you choose to work with a knowledgeable, experienced workers’ comp attorney at Levine Benjamin, you can have peace of mind knowing professionals are handling your claim.
Our attorneys understand injured worker benefits as provided by Michigan’s workers’ comp laws.
And, if your injury or illness is expected to keep you from working for at least one year, we can also help you with the Social Security Disability application process.
Even if your initial benefits request was denied, don’t give up. Contact Levine Benjamin for a free consultation to review your case.