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Representing Individuals on Major Disability & Injury Cases Throughout Western Michigan since 1982

 

 

Steps of a Workers' Compensation Case

 

Work and What it Means to You

The quickest way to lose a case in workers' comp is for an injured worker to refuse to do light duty work that the Judge ultimately believes you could have done. Never reject light duty work without discussing it with us first.

Subsequent Employment

Before starting any other job, please consult with us regarding the affect any subsequent employment will have on your workers' disability compensation claim. Generally speaking, the insurance company/employer is allowed credit for the wages you earn during the same period you are claiming workers' compensation benefits. If you do start a job, keep all of the paycheck stubs so we know how much money you have earned and can calculate the amount of partial compensation, if any, that might be owed to you.

"Thank you for all you have done in the handling of my case. Everyone on your staff I ever talked to has­­­ been very nice to speak with and very helpful at the time of any calls. It was a long haul and I appreciate your dedication to fighting  and winning my case."

Debra Hilton, Kalkaska

Time Limitations

Workers' comp has several time limitations that apply. If workers' comp has already been paid, then an employee is limited to going back one year from the filing of a Petition for Hearing in order to recover unpaid benefits. If no workers' compensation benefits have been paid, then there is a two year back rule, meaning you must make a claim within two years of the date of injury, last day worked or onset of disability. We tell all of our clients that they should consult with their attorney any time the insurance company is refusing to pay benefits they believe they are entitled to receive.

Unemployment Credit Weeks

The Michigan Employment Security Commission allows for a preservation of unemployment credit weeks. This needs to be done within 90 days of going off of work. You need to go to your local unemployment office and request a preservation of unemployment credit weeks form which needs to be completed by your doctor. Unemployment will then allow you to save the unemployment credit you currently have built up in the system for possible future use. The reason the preservation becomes important is if you end up being disabled for an extend period of time, unemployment requires you to have worked so many weeks out of the last 52, and if you have not preserved the unemployment credit weeks, you will fail to qualify for unemployment in the future.
Some people that have a relatively modest impairment, that is one that prevents them from working at their regular job but does not prevent them from other types of employment, will sometimes choose to draw unemployment benefits while they pursue their workers' compensation claim. It is important that you not make an inconsistent claim, and for that reason, when you fill out your application for unemployment benefits, you must state what your restrictions are/or what limitations you have on your employment activities. If you tell unemployment that there are no physical impairments whatsoever, you may be barred from making an inconsistent claim in workers' compensation court. Any unemployment benefits that you draw are taxable and they are also deducted, dollar for dollar, off any workers' compensation benefits that may be owed to you.

Never Quit

We instruct our clients that under no circumstances should you quit your employment without discussing it with us first. Generally speaking, it can have serious adverse consequences on a workers' compensation claim should you voluntarily resign your employment. The reason for that is you prevent the employer from providing you light duty or favored work which might reduce or eliminate the workers' compensation benefits they might have to pay to you.

Pension or Retirement Benefits

Section 345 of the Workers' Compensation Act allows the employer to deduct a number of benefits from workers' comp. One of those benefits is any company paid retirement benefit, such as a pension, 401K contribution, profit sharing, etc. Do not withdraw any monies from your pension, 401K, etc., without consulting with us first. Such a withdrawal can have a significant impact on your workers' compensation case. There are also tax penalties that apply to these pension monies. If the employer requires you to exit a pension plan, you should then be rolling the money over to an IRA or ROTH IRA account so as not to incur any tax penalties and to prevent a work comp offset.