This blog regularly touches on legal topics concerning Michigan’s workers’ compensation schemes. The laws which demand employers provide insurance coverage to their workers has a catch. Known as workers’ compensation exclusivity, an injured worker is generally only able to recover insurance benefits from an accident. In other words, he or she cannot also sue their employer for negligence.
This issue was recently raised in front of the Michigan Supreme Court. The case concerned a man who was vacuuming leaves for a yard company. He was injured when the leaf vacuum fell from the truck and struck him. He sued the lawn care company and its owner for negligence. Those parties, though, countered that the man was an employee and workers’ compensation was his sole remedy.
The Supreme Court disagreed, however, determining that the man was an independent contractor. As a result, the workers’ compensation policy did not apply. Rather, the company’s other insurance policies were on the hook for the man’s injuries.
Like any case in front of a trial or appellate court, the devil is in the details. Determining whether someone is an employee or independent contractor is a complicated test that can sometimes go in any direction. Nonetheless, that direction may mean thousands of dollars in compensation for a victim of a negligent act.
If you or a loved one was injured in a work related accident and has questions concerning who is responsible for lost wages and medical expenses, local Saginaw workers’ compensation attorneys are here to help. Understanding when workers’ compensation benefits are the right route and when other negligence claims are a better option is a key decision. To be sure you are maximizing recovery for your injury, help is highly recommended.
Source: Business Insurance, “Injured worker can seek benefits under auto cover,” Sheena Harrison, Dec. 1, 2014