It is important for all employees to understand workers’ compensation insurance. Numerous types of coverage is offered, so speaking with a knowledgeable attorney could prove to be useful after an injury.
Sometimes, an injured employee will require vocational or physical rehab. As a result, receiving Michigan workers’ compensation rehabiltation benefits could be essential.
Relevant Laws for Injured Workers
To receive benefits, an employee must be hurt while on the job, and their injury must not be related to intentional or willful misconduct.
Workers who are hurt on the job are required to give notice to their employer within 90 days of their injury. Then, they have two years to file an official claim. Benefits often include:
- Healthcare coverage for necessary medical care
- Reimbursement for a percentage of wage loss
- Specific losses, such as a limb
- Vocational rehabilitation—for up to two years to modify the claimants working conditions, help them find another job, or pay for training
- Death benefits for funeral expenses
Common Types of Rehabilitation
For an injured employee, rehabilitation could have two different meanings: physical and vocational. Physical rehabilitation falls under medical expenses and might include an inpatient stay at a long-term rehab center, for example. Here, the injured employee can receive frequent sessions with physical and occupational therapists.
Vocational rehabilitation, on the other hand, is also covered by workers compensation insurance for up to 104 weeks. Essentially, the goal of vocational rehab is to get the employee back to work. This return to work is ideally to the same position they were in but, if not, to a position that they can now physically perform. Vocational rehabilitation can include:
- Changing the worker’s job station—such as making it so they can be seated instead of standing
- Working with the employer and worker to aid in the employee’s return to work at the same or similar job
- Training for the employee to work in a new line of work—if they are unable to go back to their previous line of work
Injured workers should speak to their employers and insurance companies—as well as an attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C.—to determine what kinds of Michigan workers’ rehabilitation benefits are available in Michigan.
The Nuances of Vocational Rehab
Under Section 319 of the Michigan Workers Compensation Act, workers have a right to vocational rehabilitation, but the scope can vary greatly. For example, it ranges from returning the employee back to work with some minor changes after an injury, to creating an entirely new position or job with the company in order to accommodate the employee in their post-injury condition. Often, this process requires short-term training or even additional education to return the employee to work with the same company—or even a different company.
Employers and insurance companies often push for vocational rehabilitation because they want injured employees to return to work. This way, they do not have to continue to pay wage-loss benefits. Many times, they will hire a private, outside counselor to evaluate the worker, recommend training, and help find a return to work or another job with a different employer. Generally, the employee must cooperate with this type of program or wage loss benefits may be terminated.
Frequently, the employer will attempt to return an injured worker to a job that he or she cannot perform. When the employee cannot do the job, benefits are then terminated. Because of these potential pitfalls for an injured worker, it is important to have a tenacious and seasoned Michigan lawyer on their side.
Help with Pursuing Michigan Workers’ Compensation Rehabilitation Benefits
If you were injured while at work, you could benefit from understanding and pursuing Michigan workers’ compensation rehabilitation benefits. A hardworking attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could help. By explaining your rights and guiding you through the process of pursuing recovery, a dedicated lawyer could prove to be a valuable ally.
Furthermore, if you are denied benefits, you might find it beneficial to speak with a legal professional. Your coverage should extend to not just your medical expenses and lost wages, but also the physical and vocational rehabilitation you need. Although some employers and insurance companies would like you to believe otherwise, you have rights after being injured on the job. To learn more about these rights—or for help pursuing the benefits you might be entitled to—contact an attorney today for a consultation.
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