The Flint Journal “Ask the Attorney”
MacDonald & MacDonald PLLC
Q. I injured my back at work last year. After going through physical therapy, I returned to work–but my back is still killing me. I think I need to go back to the doctor and need to go back off work. I called the insurance adjuster but she told me there was nothing I could do because my case was ‘closed.’ Is this right?
A. No. Insurance companies often like to say cases are ‘closed’ so that people do not assert their rights. In Michigan since 1965, injured workers have had lifetime coverage for their work injuries. If you need additional treatment for your work injuries, your employer or its workers’ compensation carrier can be required to pay for it. If you again suffer lost wages because of your injury, workers’ compensation can be required to pay you wage loss benefits up to 80% of your after tax lost wages. (If a person returns to work for over 100 weeks following a work injury, an employer or its carrier can however try to argue that he or she has a new wage earning capacity and therefore does not need additional wage loss benefits. A magistrate can choose to adopt or reject that argument.) It does not sound like you ever really recovered (or that you have been back to work for over 100 weeks.) If your back is killing you, you should seek medical attention. Tell the adjuster to ‘un-close’ your case. If the insurance carrier will not pay, contact our office for a free consultation so we can give you individualized advice or assistance regarding your situation. (January 2014)
–Attorney Robert J. MacDonald