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Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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Worker's Compensation
Workers' Compensation Law is the framework to provide wage and salary replacement and benefits to pay for medical treatment and rehabilitation for those injured or killed on the job.
In 1912 Michigan passed a Workmen's Compensation Act. This law is essentially a "no-fault" system under which an employee no longer has to prove negligence on the part of the employer, and the employer's defenses were eliminated. The intent of the law was to require an employer to compensate a worker for any injury suffered on the job, regardless of the existence of any fault or whose fault it may have been. Workers were then entitled only to collect
certain wage loss benefits
the cost of medical treatment
certain rehabilitation services

Steven Skahn represents workers in worker’s compensation cases.  When a worker is injured on the job, the worker can make a claim against his or her employer and its worker’s compensation carrier under the worker’s compensation laws.  Under the worker’s compensation law, the employee is entitled to receive wage loss and medical benefits.  The wage loss benefits the employee is usually entitled to receive total approximately 80% of the employee’s net pay.  The employee is also entitled to receive medical care for his or her injury.

If the employee is injured and the doctor sets restrictions, the employer can offer a job to the employee that meets those restrictions.  If the employee unreasonably refuses to do the job, the employer is not obligated to pay worker’s compensation benefits for as long as the employee refuses to pay the job.

The employer or the worker’s compensation carrier is entitled to have the employee seen by a doctor of their choosing for an independent medical examination.  Often these examinations result in the doctor giving an opinion that the injury is not work-related or that the employee is not disabled.  This often results in the worker’s compensation insurance carrier terminating the benefits of the employee, thus necessitating the filing of a worker’s compensation claim.

A worker’s compensation case is decided by a trial before a magistrate.  The employee testifies and medical and other expert testimony is submitted to the magistrate by deposition transcripts.  The employer can call whatever witnesses it believes has relevant evidence to the claim.

The magistrate issues an opinion that can be appealed to the Worker’s Compensation Appellate Commission.  The decision of the appellate commission can be appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeal and then the Michigan Supreme Court.

As in other types of  litigation, most cases settle.  The settlements are called redemptions, and require a short hearing before the magistrate, who is told the reasons for the settlement.  

Steven Skahn has been handling worker’s compensation cases and achieving favorable resolutions for his clients for many years.  

Workers' Compensation Law is the framework to provide wage and salary replacement and benefits to pay for medical treatment and rehabilitation for those injured or killed on the job.

In 1912 Michigan passed a Workmen's Compensation Act. This law is essentially a "no-fault" system under which an employee no longer has to prove negligence on the part of the employer, and the employer's defenses were eliminated. The intent of the law was to require an employer to compensate a worker for any injury suffered on the job, regardless of the existence of any fault or whose fault it may have been. Workers were then entitled only to

  1. collect certain wage loss benefits
  2. the cost of medical treatment
  3. certain rehabilitation services
Over the last century there have been many changes in Michigan's Workers' Compensation laws. The most important changes of the last fifty years occurred in 1965, 1982, 1985, and 1987. 

Nearly all employers in Michigan are covered by workers' compensation. This includes both public and private employers. When discussing workers' compensation coverage, it is simpler to point out the exceptions. There are only a few classes of workers who are covered by Federal laws instead of the Workers' Disability Compensation Act of Michigan. 
  • Federal Government employees (postal workers, veterans administration hospital employees, members of the armed forces) are covered by federal laws. 
  • The Federal Employers Liability Act covers people who work on interstate railroads
  • The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 covers seamen on navigable waters
  • The Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act covers people loading and unloading vessels. 
All other workers and employers are subject to Michigan's Workers' Compensation laws.
Some very small employers are exempt from Michigan's Workers' Disability Compensation Act. If a private employer has: 
  • 3 or more employees at any one time
  • employs 1 or more workers for 35 or more hours per week for 13 or more weeks 
the employer is subject to the Michigan Workers' Disability Compensation Act. (Section 115)
There are many rules and regulations regarding Workers' Compensation coverage and what an employer must provide. Often third parties are at fault and may be sued to compensate an employee for an injury. Additionally, there are frequently issues regarding who is an employee. Many times employers treat workers as outside vendors, though they might not meet the legal requirements and may in fact legally be an employee. Other issues fall into grey areas regarding whether or not the injury happened on the job. 

For clarification on many of these issues and for assistance in obtaining the Workers' Compensation redemption due you for a job related injury, contact the Law Offices of Steven L. Skahn.