Michigan workers' compensation
Michigan workers' compensation laws are written to benefit the workers. Here's everything you need to know about how to make a successful claim.

Michigan Workers’ Compensation Benefits: How to Apply

Each state has its own workers’ compensation laws and claims process in place. If you suffer a workplace injury or illness, we’ll explain how to apply for Michigan workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, we’ll review Michigan workers’ compensation program changes from 2014-2018 in an interactive chart.

Does Your Employer Have Michigan Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

Every private employer with at least three regular, full-time employees at any given time must have Michigan workers’ compensation insurance. State law defines this as a mandatory insurance coverage requirement if your employer:

  • Employs 3+ workers for 35+ hours per week in the last year for 13+ consecutive weeks
  • Is a household where you work as a domestic servant for 35+ hours each week for 13+ weeks
  • Is an agricultural business that employs 3+ employees for 35+ hours per week for 13+ consecutive weeks
  • Employed at least one person for 35+ hours per week for 13+ weeks in the past year
  • Is a public employer (i.e., city, county or state-level employers)

In addition, part-time workers have automatic coverage when employed by private businesses with at least three regular, full-time employees.

The following employees are generally exempt from Michigan workers’ compensation coverage:

Whitmer’s Executive Order Authorizes Certain Workers’ Comp Claims for Covid-19

On March 30, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued an executive order authorizing Michigan workers’ compensation claims for certain employees with Covid-19. According to that order, employers cannot deny Covid-19 Michigan workers’ compensation benefits for the following designated first response employees:

  • Any person working in a home health agency or visiting nurse association
  • Physicians, nurses, physician assistants, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics and respiratory therapists
  • State or local corrections officers
  • Police officers, including state police department officers that work in the motor carrier enforcement division
  • Firefighters, including on-call fire department employees
  • Any person working in ambulance operations or advanced mobile emergency care services, including emergency services and emergency medical services
  • Volunteer civil defense workers, on-call life support agency workers or members of an emergency rescue team
  • Employees working in county medical care facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and homes for the aged

This specific order remains in effect until September 30, 2020 unless Governor Whitmer issues an extension.

How to Apply for Michigan Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you get hurt or sick while doing your job, follow these steps to apply for Michigan workers’ compensation benefits:

  1. Report your injury to your supervisor immediately and ask for a physician referral before seeking medical treatment. State law says you must see an employer-authorized doctor during your first 28 days of treatment. If you fail to report your accident within 90 days, you may not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
  2. If your injury prevents you from working for a week or longer, you employer notifies the Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency. To do this, your employer submits Form WC-100, Employer’s Basic Report of Injury. If your injury doesn’t require at least a week off work to recover, your employer only covers your medical bills.
  3. Once you miss seven consecutive work shifts, you should qualify for partial lost wage payments. State law says you cannot receive lost wage benefits for that first week until after your 14th missed workday. The maximum weekly payment for lost wage benefits in 2020 is $934.00.
  4. If approved, you should get your first lost wage benefit payment within 30 days. If your injury doesn’t require that much time off, your employer’s insurer must only cover your medical bills.
  5. Otherwise, file Form 104A, Application for Mediation or Hearing within two years to appeal your claim’s denial. If you don’t have an attorney, the WDCA will try to resolve your claim dispute through mediation. Claimants with lawyers will receive a hearing date once the WDCA transfers your case to an available magistrate’s docket.

Every Michigan workers’ compensation claim is unique, so your own process may vary. To learn more, read this Overview of Workers’ Compensation in Michigan.

Michigan Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2014-2018

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes an annual report listing workers’ compensation program data for most states. You’ll find total claims filed as well as broken down by job sector, including and how many people received work restrictions or changed jobs this past year. See how the Michigan workers’ compensation program changed from 2014-2018 in our chart below:

Even at our chart’s peak, just 1.2% of all Michiganders applied for workers’ comp benefits in 2014. As you can see, service-industry workers file most workers’ compensation claims in any given year. That job sector accounts for 57%-59% of total claims filed for workplace injuries. From 2014 to 2018, total claims fell 11%; service-industry claims fell 11.5% during that same period.

Overall, only half the injured workers filing Michigan workers’ compensation claims during this five-year period qualified for lost wage benefits. On average, just 49%-52% of claimants each year needed more than seven days off work to recover from their injuries. In other cases, your employer’s insurance provider strictly pays medical bills incurred from treating your workplace injury or illness.

Michigan workers’ compensation law says your employer doesn’t have to keep your job open until you’re able to work again. In addition, you cannot choose which doctor treats you for the first month after your injury. What’s more, it’s legal for your employer to dispute your choice and insist that you see their preferred doctor. These rules put you at a serious disadvantage when filing your Michigan workers’ compensation claim.

Why not sign up for a free, no-obligation phone call with a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your case? It’s a fast, easy and free way to get specific answers that apply to your claim. An experienced nearby Michigan workers’ compensation lawyer will call and answer all your claim questions within one business day. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get free, confidential legal advice without ever leaving your home. These lawyers work on contingency, so if you don’t win any benefits, you pay $0 for legal assistance. And if you do win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee..

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free benefits evaluation online today!

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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.