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Workers' Compensation Law

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Michigan Workers’ Compensation Laws

Known for its car-making, manufacturing and agricultural sectors, Detroit has always been a state associated with hard work and committed employees. Whether you are putting furniture together in Grand Rapids or leading a marketing team at a Detroit automobile company, this reputation for hard work comes with the risk of a work-related injury.

An injury at work can be expensive, requiring costly medical treatment and rehabilitation. Even worse, you might lose wages because you are unable to work, or be unable to ever return to your previous role. Michigan’s workers’ compensation laws exist to protect workers in this situation, making clear how to make a claim for compensation and the benefits that are available.

What does workers’ compensation cover in Michigan?

Michigan law on workers’ compensation covers personal injuries which employees suffer in the course of their employment. This could include an occupational disease linked to a dangerous work environment, or a trip and fall injury while moving around a meeting room. Importantly, a workplace injury must be medically different from any pre-existing conditions a worker might have had before the injury.

Mental disabilities, heart and cardiovascular conditions, and degenerative arthritis are covered if the worker’s employment contributed to, or aggravated the condition, to a significant level.

However, an injury sustained during a work activity that is mainly social or recreational in nature is not covered. Workers’ compensation also doesn’t cover accidents that were caused by the employee’s own misconduct.

Workers’ compensation benefits

Workers’ compensation benefits cover a number of different expenses, including:

  • Medical care and rehabilitation
  • Disability benefits to help cover lost wages while not working
  • Vocational rehabilitation services to support a worker to retrain if their injury prevents them from returning to their previous role
  • Death benefits, paid to dependents if a worker dies from their injuries

What is workers’ compensation insurance?

Nearly every employer in Michigan must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, which will pay out benefits for approved claims after a work-related injury or illness. This includes private and public employers within the state.

Decisions on awarding workers’ compensation is on a “no-fault” basis, which means it does not matter who was at fault for the accident happening – whether it was a faulty piece of equipment, a poorly-signposted hazard, or the employee’s own lack of attention.

Unless a worker is injured as the result of a deliberate, intentional act of their employer, workers’ compensation insurance is their only source of compensation after a personal injury or occupational disease. This means that an employee cannot sue their employer for damages following an accident.

How to make a claim for workers’ compensation in Michigan

In Michigan, you must inform your employer of the accident which caused your injury within 90 days. You have two years after the injury to make a claim for compensation.

After notifying an employer of their injury, the employer or insurance company can require the worker to be examined by a physician or surgeon.

Workers’ compensation is not paid for any injury which incapacitates a worker for less than one week. If the injury continues to prevent a worker from working after this time, compensation will begin from the eighth day after the injury.

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