Understanding Workers Compensation in Minnesota
If you have been injured on the job in Minnesota, you may be wondering how long it will take to receive your first workers comp payment. Getting injured at work can cause significant financial strain, so receiving your benefits in a timely manner is crucial.
Understanding the process and timeline for receiving workers comp benefits in Minnesota can help injured workers better navigate the system. In this article, we’ll walk through the key steps and provide estimates for how long it typically takes to receive that critical first check after a workplace injury.
A work injury can feel overwhelming and exhausting, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Call Mottaz & Sisk Injury and Work Compensation Lawyers at 763-421-8226 today for the help and support you need.
Filing a Claim and Reporting Your Injury
The first step toward receiving workers comp benefits is to formally file a claim and report your work-related injury. A workers comp lawyer in Minnesota can help you do this. You must provide written notice to your employer within 14 days of the injury. Verbal notice is not considered sufficient.
To officially notify your employer, you’ll complete a First Report of Injury form. Your employer should have these on hand.
Be sure to provide as many details as possible on the form and give your employer a copy. You’ll also want to keep a copy for your records. Completing and submitting this form starts the official process toward receiving benefits.
The Waiting Period
Once you’ve filed your First Report of Injury, there is a mandatory waiting period before you can begin receiving weekly wage replacement benefits.
In Minnesota, there is a three calendar day waiting period after the date of injury. Benefits are not paid for these first three days, unless you are hospitalized overnight or cannot work for more than 10 consecutive days.
For example, if you were injured at work on a Monday, the waiting period would be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You would be eligible to receive your first workers comp payment for any time missed after that three-day window.
This brief waiting period applies each time you have a new work injury necessitating time off. So if you had two separate injuries in one year, you would need to satisfy the three-day waiting period for each incident.
Partial vs. Full Disability Benefits
Whether you receive partial or full disability benefits under workers comp depends on the nature of your injury and work restrictions. If you are able to return to your job, but in a reduced capacity, you may qualify for temporary partial disability benefits. These make up a portion of your lost wages, based on your restricted hours or light duty assignment.
However, if your injury results in you being completely unable to work for a temporary period of time, you will receive temporary total disability benefits. These provide wage replacement for the full period you are off and unable to work in any capacity.
The process for calculating your exact partial or total disability benefit amount is determined by state law. Your average weekly wage over the last 26 weeks is a key factor.
An experienced workers compensation lawyer in Minnesota can help you understand the formulas and determine an estimate of what your weekly benefit rate should be.
Timing of the First Payment
So when does that long-awaited first workers comp payment actually arrive?
The first payment is typically issued within 14 days of the start of lost time from work.
For example, if your injury occurred on a Wednesday and you missed Thursday and Friday of that week, plus the following Monday before returning to work, your three waiting period days would be Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The 14 day window for your first payment would start on Sunday.
Therefore, you could expect to receive that initial check within two weeks, by the second Sunday following the injury. Payments are then made weekly thereafter, until you are no longer eligible for disability benefits.
If your injury results in an extended period away from work, you may receive a paper check mailed to your home address initially. However, you can request electronic funds transfer once payments have been established. This allows direct deposit into your bank account on payday for more convenient access.
When Payments Can Be Delayed
While the process above reflects the standard workers comp timeline in Minnesota, there are situations that can lead to delays in receiving benefits:
Disputes on compensability – If your employer disputes that your injury is work-related or compensable under workers comp, payments may be postponed until causation is determined.
Delays in reporting – Late injury reporting or submitting your First Report of Injury form can hold up the timeline. Promptly notifying your employer is key.
Administrative processes – Bureaucracy happens. Medical records requests, paperwork issues or processing delays on the part of the insurer can create lags.
Holidays or weekends – If normal processing days fall on holidays or weekends, it may add a couple of business days to the timeline.
An experienced worker’s compensation lawyer in Minnesota can help push the process along if there are unreasonable delays in receiving your entitled benefits.
Making the Wait Easier
The waiting period to receive your first workers comp payment can be difficult and put pressure on your finances. Here are some tips to help ease the strain:
Utilize sick time or PTO – Use any sick leave or paid time off available from your employer to cover days prior to benefits starting.
Look into short-term disability – If offered by your employer, consider filing for short-term disability to offset some lost wages.
Seek assistance – Don’t be afraid to ask for help from social services or non-profits while awaiting benefits. Many have funds or programs to bridge temporary financial gaps.
Get a lawyer – Consult with a reputable worker’s compensation attorney on your case. They can answer questions, expedite matters and ease your concerns.
Focus on healing – As frustrating as waiting can be, don’t let it impede your recovery. Stay focused on getting medical treatment and following doctors orders.
The process of receiving workers comp in Minnesota can seem convoluted when you’re faced with an unexpected injury. But learning the timeline, being proactive and seeking support can help overcome the initial hurdles. With a knowledgeable workers compensation lawyer guiding you, getting your case on track can be far less stressful.
FAQs: Key Questions About Receiving Initial Workers Comp Benefits
Receiving those first workers compensation payments is crucial after being injured on the job. But you likely still have plenty of questions about qualifying for and getting your benefits started. Here are some frequently asked questions:
1. What are my rights as an injured worker in Minnesota?
Some of your key rights include:
Receiving timely medical treatment with full coverage of reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to your work injury. This includes hospitalizations, medications, surgery, therapy and follow-up appointments.
Wage replacement benefits for any time you are unable to work or can only work in a limited capacity. This is a percentage of your average weekly wage based on state formulas.
Assistance returning to work when medically able, either in your same job, modified duty or a new position through vocational rehab if necessary.
Generally you cannot be fired or retaliated against for filing a workers comp claim.
If your claim is disputed, the right to a fair hearing before a workers comp judge.
Having a knowledgeable worker’s compensation lawyer on your side helps ensure these rights are protected.
2. How much are my workers comp payments going to be?
The exact amount of your temporary partial or total disability workers comp payments depends on your gross weekly wage over the last 26 weeks. By law in Minnesota, the benefit rate is calculated at two-thirds of your average weekly wage, subject to maximum and minimum limits that are adjusted annually.
Other factors like number of dependents may impact the precise calculation. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to consult with an experienced workers compensation attorney who can crunch the numbers for your specific situation.
2. What if my employer refuses to file a claim or disputes my injury is work-related?
First, be sure you have fully complied with reporting and documentation requirements and submitted a formal First Report of Injury. If your employer still refuses to file a claim on your behalf or contests the compensability of your injury, it is advisable to get legal help right away.
A knowledgeable worker’s compensation lawyer in Minnesota can walk you through your options, fight on your behalf and represent your best interests. Timely legal intervention can overcome improper claim denial and get your benefits flowing.
3. Can I still get workers comp if I was doing something unsafe when I got injured?
Generally yes. Contributory negligence on your part does not automatically disqualify you from receiving workers compensation benefits. As long as your injury occurred within the course and scope of performing your normal job duties, negligence is not a disqualifying factor.
However, intentionally self-inflicted injuries or injuries sustained while under the influence of drugs or alcohol on the job do not qualify for workers comp. Discuss the details of your injury honestly with your workers compensation attorney for the best assessment.
4. What should I do if my benefits are delayed beyond the standard timeline?
First, reach out directly to the insurance adjuster handling your claim to determine the hold up and push for resolution. Be persistent and document all communication. If you still do not receive benefits within a reasonable window beyond the standard timeline, your next step should be to contact an attorney.
A worker’s compensation lawyer can determine whether bureaucratic lag or improper denial is causing the delay. They can then send a demand letter, request intervention from the state or take other legal action as appropriate to get your rightful benefits paid. Don’t settle for the run around.
Choosing the Best Workman’s Comp Attorney in Minnesota
Dealing with a workplace injury is hard enough without having to struggle to get your entitled benefits. Understanding the process in Minnesota and being proactive can help smooth the path. With an experienced workers compensation lawyer on your side, getting the income replacement and medical care you need can be one less burden.
At Mottaz & Sisk Injury and Work Compensation Lawyers we have years of knowledge and industry experience. Call us at 763-421-8226 today for your free consultation.