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By: Matthew Clark.   
Date Added : July 1, 2011 Views : 427

In Michigan, when someone gets hurt while at work, the Michigan Worker's Compensation Act usually comes in to play and becomes the exclusive remedy for the injured.  

The Michigan Workers Compensation Act was passed in 1912 so as to benefit injured workers who would otherwise face difficulty being compensated for their injuries and lost wages.  Before the implementation of the Act workers would face many obstacles to recovering damages in typical tort actions for negligence. These obstacles included the negligence of the worker who might have contributed to his injuries in some way; that the worker assumed the risks that were involved in the job; and that a fellow employee caused the injury and not the employer.   These three defenses for employers made it very difficult for employees to win their law suits.  Additionally, tort actions are usually lengthy and can be drawn out over years.  This could potentially leave workers at a disadvantage, because employers could delay settling and going to trial thus forcing the worker, who is not being paid and not being treated medically, settle for an amount that was less than the true value of the workers injuries. 

Because these problems, the Michigan Workers Compensation Act made it so that a worker who received injuries that arise out of and in the course of employment no longer had prove liability.   This theoretically makes it easier for employees to receive benefits and be compensated for work place injuries.   However, this compromise was not free.  In exchange for "liability" workers no longer have the ability to bring a tort lawsuit against the employer for their injuries. Of course there are a few exceptions to this rule such as intentional acts of employers that injure workers; however, for almost all cases no tort lawsuit can be brought.  This "exclusive remedy" rule makes a big difference because under the Workers Compensation Act workers are not able to recover for the same types of damages that they would be able to sue for in Tort.   

Typically, workers can recover for medical treatment, lost wages, and some rehabilitation services. It is obvious at this point, that many times this does not equate with the damages one would be entitled to in a tort action.  The Workers Compensation Act does not compensate for pain and suffering and other damages available in Tort.   This is the trade off for not having to prove liability.  Moreover, theoretically it is supposed to be easier for employees to file claims and be reimbursed for their lost wages, and medical treatment than it would be to file a lawsuit.  On the contrary, the argument that payments to employees occur faster and with less hassle is becoming increasingly suspect in the current Administrative climate.  Many times understaffing, increased volume and the subtle changes in the law and administration of the Workers Compensation Act makes it difficult to swiftly and efficiently compensate workers.

For this reason finding an experienced Workmans Comp or Workers Compensation Attorney to help with your claim has become more important and more necessary. 

Matthew R. Clark is the author of this article on Michigan Workmans Comp. Find more information, about Michigan Workers Comp here.

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