Michigan’s Workers Disability Compensation Act, the statutory framework that governs workers comp claims in the state, describes the power and duties of workers’ compensation magistrates and provides that 30 magistrates shall be appointed by the governor with the approval of the state senate. But after a decade of attrition by executive order due to budget cuts, the number of authorized magistrates fell to 17 in 2010.
Even worse, due to departures, illness and appointment delays, the roster stood as low as 13 magistrates late in 2010, which pushed docket loads as high as 1,000 cases per magistrate. With workers’ compensation cases constantly increasing in complexity and their importance in a tough economy as high as ever, Jack Nolish, the former Director and current Deputy Director of Michigan’s Worker’s Compensation Agency, called the situation a “perfect storm” of understaffing, underfunding and resulting delays of justice.
These recent circumstances only serve to underscore the importance of acting wisely and swiftly when faced with a debilitating work injury. Michigan workers who have been injured on the job are eligible for benefits that cover a percentage of lost wages, medical expenses and, depending on the severity of the injury, vocational rehabilitation.
Seeking Clear Advice on Worker’s Compensation When Your Income Disappears
Work-related injuries run the gamut from chronic repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or knee and back problems to emotional stress caused by supervisory pressure. Even a seemingly simple claim can become very complex due to the long-term effects of the injury and disagreements over a worker’s ability to return to the job. For that reason, it makes sense to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer about your options.
The most basic advice you will receive in an initial consultation involves two important aspects of all claims: you must seek proper medical attention and immediately notify your employer about your injury or work-related illness. From that point on, always maintain an accurate record of all medical care, employer communications and other relevant developments for your work injury and treatment.
One additional adverse effect of Michigan’s workers compensation budget cuts is a significant reduction in staffed locations statewide. By handling your interactions with the agency, this is one more area where a Michigan workplace injury attorney can reduce the hardship that your injury has caused.