After a workplace injury, you may not feel that you need medical treatment right away. But after a few weeks, you start to notice that the injury interferes with your ability to perform your job. Can you still collect workers’ compensation benefits?
Workers’ compensation covers your medical bills and any lost wages due to a workplace injury. But Michigan will not let you wait forever to file a claim. In most cases, you have a limited time to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
90 days to notify your employer
Once you sustain an injury, you must let your employer know within 90 days. Michigan law says that your employer must accept either verbal or written notification. You should always submit your notification in writing whenever possible, in case your employer or your employer’s insurance company disputes that you reported the injury and that it was timely. Notice may consist of a written accident report or simply telling your supervisor or someone in charge of your workplace that an injury occurred.
It is important to know that an injury not reported within 90 days will still be considered timely unless the employer can demonstrate that they were somehow “prejudiced” by the late reporting. That is very difficult for the employer to demonstrate in most instances.
Many companies have accident reports that you can fill out to report your injury. Make sure you make yourself a copy as well.
One- and two-year workers’ compensation claim rules
Once you report your injury, you must make a claim within two years or your employer and/or its insurance company may deny your claim for benefits. Michigan requires your claim be made within two years of the injury. However, the time limit is extended if you continue to work after your injury. You then have 2 years from the date you last worked for the employer where you were hurt. The 2-year rule may also be extended if you are receiving other wage loss payments from the employer such as short-term disability benefits, long term disability benefits, pension benefits and social security benefits. The 2-year period begins to run from the date those benefits stop.
Be aware that no benefits are payable for a period that is more than 2 years prior to filing a request for hearing with the Workers Disability Compensation Agency if you were never paid wage loss for the injury. If you were paid wage loss, then you can only collect benefits going back one year from the date of filing a request for hearing. Medical expenses are also subject to a 2-year back rule.
If you suffer an injury at work, workers’ compensation benefits help cover your bills. Michigan allows you to take some time before filing a claim with your employer. But if you wait over two years, you may lose out on the benefits.