I was hurt at work. What are my rights?

A In Michigan, you have to be off work one week before you can get wage loss benefits if you cannot work or the employer cannot accommodate your work restrictions. This would start on the eight day post-injury. If you are off work more than two weeks, you get wage loss going back to day one.

I was hurt while working, in a motor vehicle accident. What are my rights?

A Workers’ compensation is primary for wage loss and medical benefits, but you can also file a No-Fault claim and possibly also sue the at-fault driver. No-Fault pays 85% of wage loss, which is more than the 80% of take-home that workers’ comp pays, so after comp pays, you may well have “differential” benefits owing from No-Fault to take you up to 85%, beyond what comp pays.

Someone or something other than my employer caused me to injure myself while I was working. What are my rights?

A In Michigan, you can get workers’ compensation and file a lawsuit against “third parties” whose negligence caused your injury, but out of your negligence case recovery, you will have to reimburse the workers’ compensation insurance company for about 2/3 of what they paid you in comp benefits.

I don’t think I can work any more. What can I do?

AYou should apply for Social Security Disability, which you can do online or by going to your local Social Security office. You really don’t need an attorney yet, but you should be prepared to provide the name of every place you have had treatment for the condition(s) you believe prevent you from working. Social Security grants benefits, generally, if you are incapable of working any type of job full-time, not just the job you were last working.

If you are denied by the local office, which about 80% of applicants will be, you need to file a request for an appeal, to have a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. This is when you should contact me, since you have 60 days from getting the denial letter to request the Judge hearing. I will help you with the paperwork to file your appeal and obtain other medical information to hopefully help you win your case. But your hearing will likely not be for around a year from when you ask for the hearing.

If you don’t have enough work earning credits and aren’t eligible for Social Security Disability, you may still qualify for SSI- Supplemental Social Security, if you have limited assets and qualify medically.

I had a car accident. What rights do I have?

A In Michigan, being a No-Fault state, you go to your No-Fault carrier to file an Application for No-Fault benefits, which can include wage-loss, medical benefits including if needed nursing care, and household replacement services if needed. You can sue the at-fault driver if you can show you have a ‘serious impairment of body function”. I will also review whether the at-fault driver is insured, since if he or she isn’t, or carries less coverage than you have if you have underinsured insurance coverage (UIM) then you can make a claim against your own insurance company for UIM or uninsured motorist benefits (UM benefits). MAKE SURE IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT TO BUY A LOT OF UM/UIM COVERAGE- IT’S NOT VERY EXPENSIVE BUT CAN PAY OFF BIG TIME IF YOU HAVE A SERIOUS INJURY IN YOUR ACCIDENT.

My business treats people who have been injured.

A The insurance companies don’t pay me when I send in my bills. What to do? (If the injury was at work, you have to file a “Form B” with the State Workers’ Compensation Agency, like what an injured employee would, and your case is decided there. However, there is a fee schedule determining the amount the insurance company has to pay if they agree or are ordered to pay. If the injury was due to a motor vehicle accident, I can file a lawsuit suit, or join the patient’s suit, to assert your right to payment. TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, I MAKE SURE THE LAWSUIT IS FILED WITHIN A YEAR OF THE OLDEST DATE OF UNPAID SERVICE. ONLY FILING SUIT PROTECTS YOU!

I think I have a good case but it’s not one of the areas you list on your website. Can you help me?

A I can refer you to an attorney who has expertise in the type of case you appear to have. I have been in practice since 1980, but there are too many areas of the law for me, or anyone, to be expert in everything. I would refer you to an attorney who would better help you.

What should I do after a car accident?

A A car accident can be a frightening experience. However, the steps you take immediately after an accident can have a significant impact on your claim and ability to recover. Try to keep a clear head during this time. Stop your vehicle and immediately check for injuries from you, your passengers and the other driver. Report the accident to the local law enforcement agency and request an ambulance if there are any injuries. Exchange information with the other driver. If there were any witnesses at the accident scene, request their contact information. Take pictures of the scene, including from different angles. Photograph the damage to the vehicles, nearby road signs, debris on the roadway and your injuries. Seek immediate medical treatment and contact an experienced car accident lawyer.

What should I do after a car accident? // Douglas S. Dovitz Personal Injury Attorney

Can I file a car accident case for myself or do I need to hire a lawyer?

A While you are not technically required to hire a lawyer after a car accident, many accident victims quickly become overwhelmed when they try to handle their case themselves. They may be trying to recover from their injuries and may not have the time to investigate their claim. The insurance company might give them the run-around or make a lowball settlement offer. In many situations, personal injury victims receive larger settlement offers once they bring in an experienced lawyer to help them.

My insurance company denies my claim. What should I do?

A If your insurance company denies your claim, it is critical that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for assistance. At Douglas S. Dovitz, P.C. we can review the denial letter and your insurance policy information to determine if this denial is in error. We can also submit additional evidence to the insurance company or ask it to reconsider its decision.

When to apply for workers’ compensation insurance?

A If you were injured at work or developed an illness you believe is work-related, you should immediately report this to your employer. Under Michigan law, you must notify your employer within 90 days of your injury, but the longer you wait to report it, the more likely it is that your claim will be denied. If you do not give notice within 90 days, you can forfeit your right to collect workers’ compensation insurance. There is a seven-day waiting period for you to become eligible for wage loss benefits. If your wage loss lasts more than seven consecutive days, you will be entitled to benefits on the eight day. If your wage loss extends 14 days or longer, you will also be entitled to wage loss benefits for the first seven days.

What does the workers’ compensation insurance cover?

A Michigan workers’ compensation insurance covers medical, wage replacement and disability benefits. For the first 28 days of treatment, your employer can choose which doctor you must see for medical treatment for the injury or illness that resulted in your workers’ compensation claim. Then, you may select your own healthcare provider. Workers’ compensation covers all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for your work-related injury or illness. Workers’ compensation also covers a portion of your lost or decreased wages. If you are unable to return to your previous position because of the injury or illness, workers’ compensation insurance can also cover vocational rehabilitation services to help you develop additional skills and training so that you can work with your previous employer or a new one. If your work-related accident left you permanently disabled, you can also receive a lump-sum payment for this.

Should I ask for help from a lawyer for my workers’ compensation claim?

A Workers’ compensation claims are often very complex. They involve your employer and its workers’ compensation carrier, which is often focused on minimizing payouts on claims as much as possible in the interest of its own profitability. A workers’ compensation lawyer is familiar with the state’s program and the various rules that apply. He or she can help you file your initial claim, follow up with medical treatment and handle communications with the insurance company. He or she is familiar with settlement amounts and can assess the value of your claim. If your claim is denied, your workers’ compensation lawyer can appeal the decision.

How do I apply for Social Security Disability Insurance?

A There are several ways to begin your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. You can apply online for your disability benefits. You can call or visit your local Social Security office to complete an application. Alternatively, you can call the Social Security Administration and provide basic information about your claim and then have a representative call you back for more information. The numbers are:

  • 1 (800) 772-1213
  • TTY 1 (800) 325-0778 for the deaf or hard of hearing

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

A Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits and then become disabled while Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available to individuals who do not have sufficient work credits and who meet needs-based eligibility criteria. To qualify for SSI, you cannot have more than $2,000 of non-exempt assets as an individual or $3,000 as a married couple.

Can I get both workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits?

A In some situations, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits at the same time. It is important to remember that these programs exist for different reasons. Workers’ compensation is an insurance provided by your employer that compensates you for getting hurt on the job. Social Security disability benefits replace your income if you are unable to work. If you receive workers’ compensation and Social Security benefits at the same time, you will be subject to an offset. Social Security reduces your monthly benefit if your combined workers’ compensation payment and Social Security payment exceed 80 percent of your former wages. There are ways to avoid this offset with experienced legal help, such as structuring a settlement with workers’ compensation. Douglas S. Dovitz, P.C. can ensure that you receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled.

How long will the process to apply for SSDI take?

A The amount of time that it will take to receive a decision regarding your SSDI application will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:

  • Your illness
  • Whether you have a condition that qualifies for an expedited application process
  • Your medical records and other evidence
  • Whether you need to undergo additional examinations
  • Whether you retain the services of an experienced lawyer

Many applicants receive their initial decision in less than six months. However, many of these claims are initially denied and the case must be appealed. There are multiple levels of appeal. If the claim is initially denied, it is not uncommon for the claim to take more than two years to be finished.