The workers’ compensation system is in place to provide benefits to workers who have been injured on the job. Obtaining the benefits you are entitled to is not always an easy task, though. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the workers’ compensation system because one of the last things you want to happen in the middle of a complex legal situation is the added pressure of trying to learn legal terms.
Harvey & Carpenter, Attorneys at Law has 50 years’ worth of experience handling Workers’ Compensation and Social Security disability cases, and we are prepared to help you. Here are some of the questions we hear most regarding Workers’ Compensation and Social Security disability cases in Minnesota.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance is used to protect businesses and the employees from going through a financial loss when an employee is hurt or becomes ill from a cause that was work-related. An employee with an injury or illness can receive benefits regardless of who was the one at fault.
While the federal government takes on the responsibility of administering a workers’ compensation program federal employees and other types of employees, each state will have its own laws and workers’ compensation programs.
I was Injured at work. How long do I have to make a report?
If you tell your employer within 14 days after your injury, you have provided your notice on time. In such a case, your claim for workers’ compensation cannot be denied for lack of notice. If you give notice of your claim more than 14 days after your injury, your claim for workers’ compensation can be denied by your employer for lack of notice. However, the issue of timely notice is very complex and there are many exceptions to these rules. You should talk to a lawyer if lack of notice if being claimed as a defense, or you believe it will be.
How Do I File for Workers’ Compensation?
While a verbal notification can be enough to alert your employer of your injury, it is recommended to use a written notification in case the timing of your verbal notification ever comes into question. It is important to file a claim as soon as possible. One should report a workplace injury or illness if the following occurs:
- An employee has been injured
- An employee develops an illness due to their work
- A job-related responsibility resulted in an employee’s injury
An employee who is injured or develops an illness will need to receive proper medical treatment.
What Will Workers’ Compensation Cover?
As mentioned earlier, workers’ compensation can help protect a business and the employees in the event of a loss. However, there are some situations that occur that will not be covered by workers’ compensation. Typically, an injury that takes place because an employee was under the influence alcohol or drugs will not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are exceptions to this as well.
Coverage can also be denied if the following situations occur:
- An employee started a fight and was injured
- An employee intentionally injured himself/herself
- An employee has emotional injuries that were not accompanied by trauma in the working environment
What does Workers’ Compensation pay?
Virtually all states will provide four types of benefits under Workers’ Compensation, and those benefits are as follows:
- Medical coverage for the injury or illness
- Disability coverage; this can be total disability or partial disability
- Rehabilitation benefits that can be used in helping you find another job or formal education
- Wage replacement benefits
Why should I be cautious about returning to work after the injury or illness?
Many employers will do their best to encourage employees to return to work after an injury. Those who have been injured on the job should be careful about returning to work, even if it is to perform light duty assignments. Returning to work may further injure the worker. What happens if you return to work early and you realize you are more hurt or ill than you realized? You should contact your doctor as soon as possible and contact an attorney.
Can I obtain Social Security Disability benefits and Workers’ Compensation benefits?
The answer is yes. However, dual claims can be very complex due to the interactions between disability and workers’ compensation claims. If the workers’ compensation claim you file is not handled the right way, you could see a reduction in your Social Security Disability benefits.
The number of benefits under other programs can also be impacted by workers’ comp benefits. The Benefits Office in your workplace should be contacted for specific information as it relates to workers’ compensation benefits and disability benefits.
What is my Workers’ Compensation case worth?
Several factors will come into play when determining the value of one’s workers’ compensation case. Some of the key factors that will help determine the value of one’s case include the following:
- the nature of the injury or illness
- support from a medical team
- the length of time you were employed when the injury occurred
- the amount of money you were earning
How long will my worker’s compensation case take?
Generally, if a case is litigated to its full extent, it could take up to a year or more. However, many cases will come to a conclusion before this time. It is important that you make sure you respond to every form and letter you receive and every call you receive from your legal team.
Can I be fired for filing a claim?
If you have been injured at work or if you have developed an illness, we understand you may be uneasy when it comes to filing a workers’ compensation claim. You may feel you will be denied or you may feel you will lose your job. It is important to know that it is illegal for an employer to fire or discriminate against anyone for reporting an injury.
There is a law in Minnesota that prevents employers from firing employees who make the decision to seek workers’ compensation benefits. Under this law, an employer cannot stop an employee from seeking workers’ compensation benefits. If an employer does fire an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits, the employee has been wrongfully terminated.
Workers’ compensation laws have been put in place to protect you when you are hurt on the job. If you have been injured on the job, contact Harvey & Carpenter, Attorneys at Law for a consultation.