Injured Workers Hit Again-- HB 5002 Approved by Both Houses
On party lines, the Michigan Legislature approved HB 5002. It will now be presented to Gov. Snyder for signature. The bill dramatically changes injured workers' rights to benefits.
Under the new bill, a workers' wage loss benefits may be reduced by "phantom wages." If injured workers' restrictions allow for some, lower paying, work, their wage loss benefits can be reduced. It does not matter whether the job is actually available. It does not matter if the worker applies for the job and is not hired. Now, benefits can be reduced simply because there is a hypothetical job that an injured worker can do.
Injured workers will also have to wait 28 days before seeing a doctor of their own choosing. In other words, company doctors will control treatment for at least 28 days.
Additionally, workers' compensation benefits can be stopped if a worker is fired for fault. The language in this section of the bill is very, very vague. However, it appears that if injured workers violate a work rule, they (and their workers' compensation benefits) could be terminated.
The bill also lowers the qualification requirements for workers' compensation magistrates. In the current workers' compensation environment, Michigan workers need expert representation. HB 5002 makes workers' compensation cases more costly and more complicated. An injured worker does not want a lawyer who "dabbles" in workers' comp. McCroskey Law has been representing workers in Michigan for over 60 years. We are one of the premier workers' compensation firms in Michigan. If you have been injured at work, contact McCroskey Law today.
McCroskey Law is also encouraging all of their clients to contact the firm to discuss their case and the impact of HB 5002.