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worker's comp help Michigan

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  • worker's comp help Michigan

    my husband has worked for a company for 12 yrs and has significant hearing loss. He is only 38 yrs old. We were denied for workma's comp. We requested a phone mediation and they set a date for a hearing. The problem is my husband is able to work even though he cannot hear. We have 2 doctors saying they believe his hearing loss is work related although not 100%I believe the doctors notes go in our favor. We were advised to get an attorney but no one will help us because he is still able to work. Their is no money in it for them. Our family doctor talked to us and said we need to make a life choice because if he continues to work in that environment he will be totally deaf in the next 10 yrs. I can't get her to put that in writing though. His hearing aides are 7,000 dollars a set. One of my questions is Can we go to the hearing without an attorney or should we? Second--how do I get a doctor to take him off work. we really feel its a safety hazard. We are scared if a car was to fall off his stand or something and someone was to yell he would not hear them. We need all the advice we can get.
    Thanks

  • #2
    Information on WC in MI is here....http://www.michigan.gov/documents/wc...4_135317_7.pdf

    You can go to an IME doctor, and/or hearing... but a hearing with a judge/mediator is going to be based on medical evidence, as is all WC.

    With out your doctors written reports that indicate the injury/illness, hearing loss is work related, you would have difficulty proving up your point.

    Second--how do I get a doctor to take him off work. we really feel its a safety hazard. We are scared if a car was to fall off his stand or something and someone was to yell he would not hear them.
    Your points are well taken, but just because there is a claim for WC benefits, and benefits paid...eg treatment, and/or wage loss, that doesn't equate to a 'medical retirement'...
    Once treatment is complete to the point of being stable... an impairment rating would be compiled, and the case resolved.
    Whether he is able to return to his pre injury job or must undergo rehabilitation of some sort, would not be the issue.

    You need to pursue this with medical evidence. Whether that is with your own doctors, or through the comp system.

    You can find additional information here....http://www.michigan.gov/wca, and should be looking for a dispute resolution process.

    Good luck to you...

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank You For Your Time

      We Only Want Him Off Work Until He Gets Hearing Aids. We Are Going To Pay To See Another Doctor. We Want To Show His Hearing Has Worsened In A Years Time And The Only Common Factor Is His Job. Do You Think We Can Do This Without An Attorney? Thank You For Your Time.

      Comment


      • #4
        Does he work in a loud environment, factory, etc.? I worked for one once and hearing tests had to be done annually. Did the company do any? I had an acquaintance there who was the same age as your husband, working there going on 17 years and his hearing WAS affected.
        Last edited by Pattymd; 03-25-2009, 10:33 PM.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

        Comment


        • #5
          My one brother retired from a factory (steel mill) & his hearing was affected.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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          • #6
            Yeah. Hopefully, E&S Safety Mgr will see this post. I believe that if the noise factor is above XXX, the employer MUST do regular testing under OSHA.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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            • #7
              If the noise level is above a certain level not only do they have to do annual hearing tests they must have a hearing conservation program and require hearing protection. If the noise level is below that criteria then you *may* have an uphill battle to prove it was work related.

              What does he do and do they require him to wear hearing protection?

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks, rangeman. I thought it was something like that, but it's not my area of expertise; I just had anecdotal evidence.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If the facility does have a written conservation program, then a baseline audiogram must be performed within 6 mos of hire. When comparing the baseline to the most recent, if a "Standard Threshold Shift" has occured and has been confirmed, this is the basis for an OSHA recordable incident.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is there a safety officer at his company? Ask if there is hearing protection is available.

                    Hearing loss claims in WC are tricky as the law narrowly defines what constitutes compensable hearing loss. If his hearing loss isn't within those bounds then it would not be covered.
                    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There is no hearing conservation program. OSHA requires Monitoring shall be repeated whenever a change in production, process, equipment or controls increases noise exposures----In 1999 they did a sound test and it came back fine, but since then they have changed there jobs and never tested the new noise levels.
                      We are going to pay for him to go to another doctor so we can compare a year ago til now. we don't know what else to do.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Have you filed a complaint with OSHA regarding the failure to do the current testing...?

                        We requested a phone mediation and they set a date for a hearing.
                        What happened at/with the hearing ?
                        We were advised to get an attorney but no one will help us because he is still able to work.
                        Have you contacted the comp ombudsman/TPA at the state office?
                        how do I get a doctor to take him off work. we really feel its a safety hazard.
                        In order for a treating physican to declare an EE/IW TTD/temp total disable, the physican must find the person unable to perform the job duties required due to the injury.
                        It would appear that while your husband may be suffering hearing loss, that does not constitute a 'disability' or inability to perform his job.

                        Comp laws are funny things... in some injuries the applicant must show a pre set %age of 'loss' or injury/illness to qualify for benefits. eg. in Psych claims, many states require at least 51% of the 'injury' be DUE TO the work/job.
                        MI may have similar statutory requriements regarding hearing loss.
                        Must the work cause the injury?

                        Answer:
                        Yes the work must "cause" the disability. If John Doe simply comes down with the flu while on the job, he is probably not entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The work must somehow be the cause of the disability.
                        http://www.michigan.gov/wca/0,1607,7...843--F,00.html
                        What if the work is only one of the causes of an injury?

                        Answer:
                        The work does not have to be the only cause. It is enough if the work causes, contributes to, or aggravates a condition which results in disability. Some of us can lift 200 pounds without any difficulty. Some of us, however, would severely hurt our back if we lifted 100 pounds. The law does not make this distinction. If a person does something at work that causes him or her to become disabled, the worker is entitled to benefits. It does not matter if there was some pre-existing weakness or if the worker was born with some condition that made him or her more susceptible to injury. This is an old principle of law that has been applied by the courts to all kinds of damage actions, including workers' compensation.
                        http://www.michigan.gov/wca/0,1607,7...844--F,00.html
                        Your best bet at this point, IMHO... is to pursue the treatment for his hearing loss through your personal health coverage provider. And if through medical evidence you/doctor can show the relationship to his work duties to prove up the comp claim, you may be successful in this attempt to secure benefits.
                        CT/Cumulative Trauma injuries/illness are accepted claims all the time. But everything in WC is based on medical evidence.

                        Workplace Hearing Assessment information is here...http://www.michigan.gov/documents/md...M_184815_7.pdf and here http://www.michigan.gov/documents/md...M_236517_7.pdf

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We have not went to the hearing yet. The phone midiation was a couple days ago and like I said earlier it lasted a hole 2 min. We were denied and recommened we get an attorney. I have filed a new OSHA complaint. It will take some time before we hear anything. I am going to see an attorney next week. Hopefully he will help us.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Do you have an opinion in writing from an audiologist or other competent doctor in the field of hearing loss who has put in writing that the hearing loss your husband experiences is due to his job? You mention the job has changed. Is it noisier now than it was in 1999? How has the job changed? It would help if we had some idea of what the job was. Have any of the specialists you have spoken to visited the worksite? If not, I am unsure how they can render an opinion that the workplace is the cause if they have no objective information regarding his working conditions. Just the fact that you can't think of what else might be causing it doesn't necessarily mean it is the result of work. My husband has partial hearing loss and has since his 20's. He works in an office.

                            He also needs to talk to his doctor about his need to be off work until the hearing aids come in. If there is a medical need for him to be off, then he can look into FMLA. This is very different than being off on TTD. It very well may not ever be covered by WC as the standard for one is not the same standard for the other.
                            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My husband is an auto frame technition. Hetakes wrecked auto's and straightens the frame, replaces ll damaged parts, windows, electrical. This requires him to use welders, air tools, grinders and alot of other real noisey tools. Most air tools run at high decibel levels. They do not require him to wear ear protection, he chooses to. We have two doctors reports from the wc doctors. The first one says... He does have significant hearing loss and much more than one would expect for a man of his young age. At this point I can only say that the noises that he has been exposed to over the past 11 years could certainly have contributed to/worsened his hearing loss.

                              The second report says...Based on the audiogram and medical reports it is likely that his hearing loss is attributable to work related noise induced exposures. His hearing loss is greater than one would expect in someone of his age.

                              When he started in 1997 he was a mechanic, they had the building sound tested and it was fine. In 1999 they started doing frame jobs, which is alot more in depth. OSHA says monitoring shall be repeated whenever a change in production, process, equipment or controls increase noise exposures. They never had another sound test done.
                              My other point would be it does not have to be causable through workmens comp. workmens comp says it has to arise out of or in the course of employment. The work does not have to cause the injury. It is enough if the work couses, contributes to or aggrevates a condition which results in disability.
                              Does all this sound like a plausable arguement??
                              Thanks, Carey

                              Comment

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