You may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you are a Minnesotan and have sustained an injury at work. The benefits can include things like medical coverage to treat the work injury and wage replacement.
Workers in nearly every sector and trade are susceptible to injury. In 2014, there were 78,700 work-related injuries reported in the state of Minnesota alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. People may be concerned about how they will pay their medical expenses and support themselves after a workplace accident. Employees need to understand what workers’ compensation benefits they may be entitled to so they can safeguard their rights.
Workers’ compensation in Minnesota is a no-fault insurance system that covers the expense of medical treatment of the work injury provided it is deemed reasonable, medically necessary, and causally related to the work injury. This includes the cost of doctor’s office visits, surgery and other procedures, lab work and other tests, and durable medical equipment and prescription drugs. In certain situations, injured employees may be reimbursed for transportation costs connected with their medical treatment. Medical treatment of work injuries does, however, require the injured employee to follow certain procedures and rules to get the treatment paid for.
Wage replacement benefits (temporary partial and temporary total disability)
Employees who suffer a working injury may be required to work fewer hours or change their job responsibilities for some time owing to the nature of their injuries. If this results in a reduction in earnings, workers’ compensation may be required to pay temporary partial disability benefits. That is 2/3 of the difference between what the employee was earning at the time he or she was injured and the lower wage after the injury due to inability to return to full duty and full wages.
In other situations, they might be unable to work at all for some time. Workers who are out of work under a doctor’s orders and have lost earnings due to the occupational injury or ailment are generally eligible for temporary total disability benefits. That is 2/3 of the wage the person was earning when he or she got injured.
Both types of benefits give money to employees until they can resume their regular job or until there is some legal reason allowing the insurer to discontinue the benefits. Examples might be that the maximum number of weeks has been paid, that an employee has been offered a job she or he could do but has turned it down, that the employee no longer has any restrictions, the employee is 90 days past “maximum medical improvement”, etc. There are many reasons an insurer might cite to tell you that your benefit will end – and getting advice from an attorney if that happens is a great idea. Insurance companies do try to cut off benefits at times when they are not allowed to do so – but you need to take action to keep them from being successful.
Permanent partial disability ratings (% disabled)
When work-related accidents cause the permanent loss of function of a body part, workers may be eligible to receive permanent partial disability. If that loss of function is ratable under a complicated schedule published by the Department of Labor & Industry – by a doctor – you may be entitled to a payment for that percentage of disability. Unlike other workers’ compensation benefits, this payment depends only on the percentage of disability and a schedule applicable to the date when your injury occurred. It does not depend on how much you were earning on the date of injury.
- The goal of vocational rehabilitation in Minnesota workers’ compensation is to assist the injured worker to return to work at as close as is possible to his or her previous financial position as possible. A Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) may be assigned – or chosen by you – to help to do that. The QRC is a neutral person who helps the parties communicate with each other, helps organize and monitor appropriate medical care, assists in exploring the employee’s ability to return to work in an organized way (same job/same employer versus different job/same employer versus similar job/different employer versus different job/different employer). Assistance in job search may be provided – and even retraining.
- The Vocational Rehabilitation Act is a lengthy and complicated statute. It is an excellent idea to contact an attorney if you have concerns or want to learn more about your rights to vocational rehabilitation. Some procedural requirements and deadlines may apply, so don’t delay learning about the different vocational rehabilitation benefits that may be available to you.
You might be eligible for rehabilitation services if your spouse died from a work-related injury.
Looking out for injured workers
Workers’ compensation is generally available to all injured employees in Minnesota. The definition of “employee” must be met, however. However, workers’ compensation is not a simple system. Stumbling blocks may prevent injured workers from getting the benefits to which they are entitled. Injured workers are wise to seek legal advice to learn their rights – and to get help making sure they receive what they are entitled to get. CONSULTATIONS TO CHECK ON YOUR RIGHTS ARE FREE. AND THERE IS NEVER A FEE CHARGED UNLESS THE LAWYER GETS BENEFITS FOR YOU THAT THE INSURANCE COMPANY DOES NOT VOLUNTARILY OFFER.
Contact Harvey & Carpenter Attorneys at Law for A FREE Worker’s Compensation consultation for your work-related injury.
To contact Harvey & Carpenter Attorneys at Law, please call us at 507-779-7529, or you can visit our office at 75 Teton Ln, Mankato, MN 56001.