In Michigan, in most situations, employees are entitled to pursue disability compensation benefits against their employer if they suffer an injury or aggravation, physical or mental that can be linked to their employment and results in an effect to their wage earning capacity. This is known as the exclusive remedy provision. In essence, employees in Michigan are guaranteed, via statute, the right to workers’ disability compensation benefits for injuries or aggravations to a condition that can be linked to their employment. In exchange for this absolute benefit and right, the employees forfeit their right, under most circumstances, to pursue other civil actions against the employer. On one hand, Michigan employers that are subject to the Act are obligated to pay employees’ workers’ disability compensation benefits, and on the other hand, in exchange for their obligation to pay workers’ disability compensation benefits, they gain protection from other associated potential civil actions.
Although benefits payable to employees for work related injuries covered under the Act can be quite extensive, most claims usually involve the payment of lost wages and all medical expenses associated with the work-related injury.
Many workers’ disability compensation claims are, in fact, legitimate and end up being paid by the employers. An attorney can handle claims that have red flags that have caused the employer or adjuster to question the legitimacy of the claim. From a defense standpoint, the most frequent issues addressed include:
- was there an injury or aggravation at all;
- are there relevant preexisting conditions;
- is there any evidence of malingering or fraud;
- is the medical condition related to a work injury or work in general;
- does the work injury or condition affect the employee’s ability to work or earn his/her regular wage and if so, to what degree;
- do they have a residual wage earning capacity and are there any other available defenses that will help minimize any potential exposure.