The Basics of Minnesota Workers’ Compensation

Before we get into the how the State of Minnesota manages their workers’ compensation program, let’s discuss the basics of coverage. What is worker’s compensation and how does it affect you?

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry, workers’ compensation is:

“…Is a no-fault system designed to provide benefits to employees injured as a result of their employment activities and to limit the liability of employers. Because it is a no-fault system, the employee does not need to prove negligence on the part of the employer to establish liability. It also means the company cannot use negligence on the part of the employee as a defense to a claim. 

A work-related injury can be any condition that is caused, aggravated or accelerated by the employment activities. This includes traumatic injuries, gradual injuries or occupational diseases. The employee needs to show only that the employment activities were a substantial contributing factor to the disability and/or need for medical care.”

Source.

The gist of workers’ comp in Minnesota is this: if you’re injured working for your employer, you’re eligible to receive benefits until you’re healthy enough to perform your full job functions again.

You needn’t show negligence from your employers. It doesn’t matter if you were negligent when you got injured. You’re still eligible to receive benefits because you cannot work while injured.

When a worker in Minnesota is eligible for a claim, they may receive four different types of benefits. These benefits include:

  • Compensation for wage loss
  • Medical benefits
  • Compensation if loss of use of a body part occurred
  • Rehabilitation services

Understanding the Claim Process

claim imageThe workers’ comp claims process in Minnesota can be an intricate process. As such, we wanted to dive deeper and fully explain how things work. Our goal is to ensure every employee receives fair treatment during the claims process.

What Should I Do If I Get Injured While Working?

First and foremost, tell your employer right away. You need to report your injury to a supervisor. Obviously, if you need to get medical attention before telling your employer – do so.

Just make sure to tell your employer as soon as you can. Once your employer knows about your injury, they’ll fill out a First Report of Injury (FROI) form. During this process, you’ll need to give your employer the full details of how you got hurt and what happened.

Will My Employer Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Yes, every employer in the state of Minnesota is required to have workers’ comp insurance – no matter how large or small of a company. However, there are a few exceptions.

Overall, every employer is required to have a workers’ comp policy through a licensed insurance company. Certain businesses provide self-insurance options that have been approved by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Is My Injury Covered?

Yes. If you’ve been injured as a result of your work with employers, then the injury should be covered by a workers’ comp policy. Injuries covered include traumatic, gradual injuries that occur with time and disease due to the occupation.

Will All Medical Treatment Be Covered?

According to the Minnesota workers’ compensation statutes, an employee is entitled to all necessary and reasonable medical treatments to cure and/or relieve an injury sustained at work.

An employer will be held responsible for such medical treatments, including:

  • Hospital treatment
  • Surgery
  • Podiatric
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychological

 Are Personal Physicians Allowed and Accepted?

Yes, the majority of the time you will be allowed to choose your health care provided for all treatments stemming from a work-related injury. However, there are situations where your employer may require you to see a designated provided. Some of these situations include:

Your employer may require you to receive treatments and supplies from certain providers under a managed care plan that is certified.

Your employer can also require you to receive prescription medications from a certain network of pharmacies only, as long as one of the locations is within 15 miles of your residence.

Your employer may require you to see a specific list of health care providers due to a collective bargaining agreement. This may include an independent medical examination.

What is an Independent Medical Examination?

Independent medical examinations (IME) are evaluations performed by a medical professional selected by the insurer or employer. This individual will not be involved in the patient’s care.

Due to workers’ compensation laws, the insurer or employer has the legal right to request on of these evaluations at any time. The examination is mandatory and must be within 150 miles of the employee’s residence. The employee must be reimbursed for mileage and other costs, too.

If you don’t attend one of these evaluations when requested, you could see an interruption in benefits.

 What If I Cannot Return to the Work I Completed Before the Injury?

You’ll continue to be eligible for wage-loss benefits. You may also have access to vocational rehabilitation services to ensure you can return to work.

Some of these services may include vocational counseling, job-seeking skills, job placement, formal training, and a transferable skills analysis.

Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Benefits Explained

mn state imageIf you’d like a greater understanding of Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits, keep reading. While we discussed the basics of potential benefits, we wanted to get into the details.

How Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits Will Be Paid?

Benefits after an injury can begin three calendar days after a claim. These benefits will either be paid by your employer, if they’re self-insured or by an insurance company. Minnesota state laws set the exact level of benefit.

One thing to note: an insurer can legally obtain medical information regarding your work injury without any authorization on your part. That’s part of the law.

Payment Timeline

If your claim is accepted, you’ll receive a copy of the Notice of Insurer’s Primary Liability Determination form from the insurer.

Then the insurer must begin paying you wage-loss benefits within 14-days from the date your employer knows about your injury. Benefits are required to be paid on time. You’ll receive benefits on the same schedule you’d receive your work paychecks.

If You’re Denied

If the insurer denies your claim, then you’ll receive a copy of the Notice of Insurer’s Primary Liability Determination form. This will state the exact reasons why the insurer has decided to deny your claim, as they will claim your injury did not result from work.

If you do not agree with the denial, you can speak to the claims adjuster from the insurance company. This individual will be able to answer most questions about your claim.

If the response doesn’t please you, then contacting a workers’ compensation lawyer in Minnesota may be your next step or recourse.

Compensation Lawyer Information

hammer & gavelWhile following process and procedure with your employer and insurer often leads to a fair resolution, certain individuals will need to contact a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer.

There are two situations where hiring legal help may be beneficial to an employee. You may need an attorney if: 

Your Claim is Denied

Make no mistake about it – employers and insurers don’t want to pay workers’ compensation benefits. It’s not profitable for their bottom line. You’re not working, but they are still paying. That’s lose-lose for any business.

As such, these companies can be prone to denying claims that should be approved. As such, many employees are forced to hire legal help to claim their rightful benefits. That’s just the way it goes.

If you truthfully got injured on the job or as a result of your work, your claim should be accepted. That’s what Minnesota law states. If you’re denied, then getting legal help may be your only recourse.

A Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer may be your only chance to claim what is rightfully yours – workers’ compensation benefits.

Personal Injury Claims

Another situation where legal help may be required stems from negligence. If your injury is a result of a third-party who is not an employer or co-worker, then adding a personal injury claim to the damages is within your legal rights.

To claim personal injury, you’ll need a lawyer, as the case will often need to go to court or reach a settlement. A Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to help you with this side of the legal process, too.

Conclusion

Ultimately, your employer should help you navigate the workers’ compensation waters when you sustain an injury at work. They will be responsible for paying benefits until your back working again.

In practice, things don’t always work that way. Employers and insurers have little incentive to pay workers’ compensation benefits if they can remove their liability. As such, many injured individuals are forced to hire legal help.

If you’re injured, it’s important to get an attorney right away. Don’t delay. Use the information above to navigate the system. If Minnesota workers’ compensation system isn’t working out how you desire, get legal help quickly.