A Michigan workers’ compensation lawyer helps workers injured during their employment.  This includes workplace injuries, accidents outside the workplace, and injuries caused by other parties.

The workers’ compensation statute provides benefits available to an injured worker against an employer.

While most work-related injuries are restricted to worker’s compensation claims only, there are occasions when an injured employee can file a lawsuit outside of workers’ compensation in Michigan.  In these lawsuits, a worker can sue for pain and suffering damages in addition to traditional payments.

To find out if you are eligible to sue outside of workers’ compensation in Michigan, you need to speak with an award-winning workers’ compensation attorney.  The Buckfire Law Firm can help you file a lawsuit to recover compensation for the benefits provided under the work comp statute.

What are Benefits Covered under Workers’ Compensation?

The Michigan Workers’ Disability Compensation Statute provides several types of benefit payments to employees injured during their employment.  The injured worker is not required to prove fault by the employer for a work-related injury, but only the occurrence of an injury on the job.

Benefits payable under the statute include the following during the period of disability:

  • Lost wages, calculated at 80% of the after-tax average weekly wage for the 39 weeks paid before the injury. These benefits are not payable until after day 7 off of work.
  • Medical payments, covering hospitalizations, doctor visits, therapy, surgery, and prescription expenses.
  • Attendant care benefits for being cared for at home during the recovery period.
  • Vocational rehabilitation to re-train an injured worker for a new job.

In most cases, workers’ compensation payments are the exclusive remedy in Michigan under the statute.  However, there are some exceptions for you to sue for pain and suffering damages.

Can I Sue for Pain and Suffering Under Worker’s Compensation?

In Michigan, you cannot sue for pain and suffering damages under the workers’ compensation laws.  Benefits are limited to lost wages, medical expenses, and vocation rehabilitation services.

Pain and suffering damages include physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), fright and shock, loss of enjoyment of life, and humiliation and embarrassment.

There are some exceptions to this rule which may permit you to sue outside of workers’ compensation.  In most of these cases, you will likely have to file a lawsuit against another party.

Type of Cases to Sue Outside of Workers’ Compensation

You can sue outside of workers’ compensation if the injury was caused by a person or company other than your employer.  This is true even if you are receiving work comp payments for the injury.

There are several circumstances where a Michigan injured worker can sue outside of workers’ compensation to seek pain and suffering damage compensation.  Examples include:

  • Defective machinery that caused the injury, like a machine press without safeguards.
  • Auto accident injuries caused by a non-employee of the same company.
  • Exposure to toxic substances, like asbestos, carbon monoxide, benzene, and other chemicals.
  • Slip and fall on non-company property, like ice and snow in a parking lot.
  • Negligence by a co-worker who is employed by a different company at the same workplace, like a temporary worker or construction worker on the same job site but working for a different employer.
  • Egregious and intentional conduct by your employer.

What is Considered an Intentional Injury?

The only exception to the workers’ compensation exclusive remedy rule is an “intentional tort.”

An intentional tort is when an employee is injured from a deliberate act of the employer and the employer specifically intended an injury. This does not mean the employer wanted to harm the worker, such as an assault or other action meant to cause physical harm.

Rather, an employer shall be deemed to have intended to injure “if the employer had actual knowledge that an injury was certain to occur and willfully disregarded that knowledge.”

An example is a worker who lost a limb in a machine press after the company knew that the machine lacked safety guards to prevent the injury, or that a similar injury previously occurred for the same reason.

Examples of Injuries Caused by Others

Another circumstance where you can sue outside of workers’ compensation is when an injury is caused by others.  These are people with a different employer, an independent contractor, or not even performing work related to your primary occupation.

For example, a company responsible for clearing snow and ice from a company parking lot may be liable for doing so in a negligent manner. Or you may be riding a shuttle bus for work that is owned and operated by a different company and the driver negligently crashes the vehicle causing an injury.

An experienced attorney needs to get the full facts of your work injury to determine if you can file a lawsuit outside of worker’s compensation.  Our legal team will perform an in-depth interview and investigation to see if you qualify for a pain and suffering settlement for a work injury.

What if I Am Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

There are classifications of employees that are not covered by Workers’ Compensation in Michigan.  These include farm workers, interstate railroad workers, crew members on ships and vessels, undocumented workers, and some other domestic workers. If you are not covered by the statute, you can file a lawsuit outside of workers’ compensation.

How Do I File a Lawsuit Outside of Worker’s Compensation?

To file a lawsuit outside of workers’ compensation, contact our award-winning personal injury law firm today.  We will fully evaluate your case and determine if you can sue a negligent party.

In many circumstances, you can file sue a negligent party even if you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits from your own employer.  The damages for pain and suffering are in addition to your lost wages, medical payments, and other work comp benefits.

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How Much are Lawsuit Settlements above Work Comp Benefits?

The settlement amount for a work-related injury depends on several factors. These include the seriousness of the injury, permanency of the damage, psychological damage, and disability from activities.

Every case is unique and judged on its unique facts and the impact on the injured worker.

Some cases result in settlements greater than $1,000,000 for pain and suffering compensation.  A worker who loses a limb, suffers a traumatic brain injury, or has a spinal cord injury can receive a substantial settlement.  Our lawyers will evaluate your damages and work hard to maximize your award.

Find Out if You Can Sue Outside of Michigan Workers’ Compensation

Since 1969, The Buckfire Law Firm has helped injured workers win top settlements in lawsuits outside of workers’ compensation benefits.  Call us today to speak with a top-rated attorney to discuss your case to find out if you can also file a pain and suffering claim after a work injury.

We charge no legal fees unless you win a settlement.  It costs no money to start your case.

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