If you are injured at any time while working, you should know what protections are in place to help provide for your family while you recover. Most public and private employers in Michigan carry enough insurance to compensate workers for lost wages, medical expenses and disability benefits. The law prohibits employers from firing or discriminating against a worker who has filed a workers’ compensation claim.

But the insurance companies are looking out for their bottom line, not your best interests. They will exploit legal technicalities to make you consult their doctors, set unfair deadlines for appointments, minimize your benefits and force you to return to work sooner than you might be capable.

What to do after a workplace injury or accident

The clock for workers’ compensation coverage starts ticking the moment an employee gets hurt. It is important to immediately notify your supervisor and start gathering information to ensure the process works for you.

Michigan law requires medical benefits to be provided from the day of the injury. You also are entitled to 80% of lost wages after seven days. Your employer can choose your doctor during the first 28 days of treatment. Afterward, you can notify your employer and insurance company that you want to change doctors.

Other key steps to take after reporting an incident:

  • Notify your employer or insurance carrier of any wages earned while collecting benefits. Michigan law does not allow weekly workers’ compensation benefits for people who are employed and earning wages equal or greater than the date of injury, except for permanent and total disability.
  • Adhere to medical examinations required by your employer or their insurance company.
  • Participate in rehabilitation programs designed to help you return to work.

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. It was the sixth straight year those cases increased. Those numbers represent real people who, through no fault of their own, are forced to the sidelines to stress about their health and their future.

Know your rights and protect your lifestyle

A workplace injury can be devastating if you are unable to do your job or spend quality time with your family. You deserve compensation and care to help you recover and hopefully return to work.

Jobs are important for your self-esteem as a colleague and a domestic provider. They also support an active lifestyle that makes the long hours at work worthwhile when you are enjoying friendships on the ballfield or golf course. Be sure you are playing on a level field when it comes to identifying and leveraging workers’ compensation benefits.