Vocational Rehabilitation: Your legal right under workers comp
Michigan workers comp lawyer explains how vocational rehabilitation can be used against you and how to make sure that your legal rights are protected.
We find that our clients have better outcomes if they can return to work after an injury. This is because wages earned over a lifetime will be more than what workers compensation will ultimately pay. It has been our experience that a successful return to work also helps reduce stress and restores a normal life.
What is vocational rehabilitation under workers comp in Michigan?
You may find yourself incapable of doing your past work because of permanent medical restrictions. Your employer is required to provide vocational rehabilitation to help you get back to gainful employment.
You are allowed a maximum of two years of vocational rehabilitation under workers comp. Vocational rehabilitation could include tuition reimbursement or retraining for another job.
Your employer and its insurance company have an incentive to help you with retraining and job placement because it reduces the total amount of wage loss benefits paid. If you find a lesser paying job, workers comp must pay the difference. Don’t let the insurance company tell you otherwise!
Disputes often arise as to what vocational rehabilitation is needed.
You may want to go to college and begin a new career. The insurance company may want you to just accept any job so that wage loss benefits can be stopped. Talk to an experienced workers comp lawyer to learn about all of your options under workers comp.
Some insurance companies use vocational rehabilitation to reduce or stop wage loss benefits instead of trying to help you get back to work.
A vocational rehabilitation counselor may be hired to help with retraining and job placement. A vocational rehabilitation counselor can make your situation worse by ignoring medical restrictions and by suggesting demeaning jobs. If it is found that you did not cooperate with a vocational rehabilitation counselor, you can lose wage loss benefits.
Vocational rehabilitation counselors are sometimes hired by insurance companies for the sole purpose of cutting your workers comp benefits. This is based upon a recent Michigan Supreme Court case called Stokes v. Chrysler. You may find that your workers comp benefits have been reduced or stopped based upon a job that does not truly exist.
You can have a lawyer present during any meeting with a vocational rehabilitation counselor.
Don’t let your employer or the insurance company trample on your legal rights. An experienced workers comp attorney can intervene if a vocational rehabilitation counselor does not have your best interest at heart.
You can also trade away the value of vocational rehabilitation as part of a workers comp settlement. This allows you to get a lump sum payment and do your own retraining or rehabilitation.
We are happy to discuss all of your options under workers compensation. Call (855) 221-COMP for a free consultation today.
- Alex Berman is the founder of the law firm. Hes been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 30 years. Alex has helped countless people get workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to review a case.