Frequently Asked Workers’ Compensation Questions

Be Empowered. Be Educated.

We believe that every injured or disabled worker deserves to know their legal rights under Minnesota law, so they can be on equal footing with the insurance companies and employers. Protect your legal rights for workers comp benefits. There are deadlines, limits on benefits and guidelines which must be followed. If you’ve been injured on the job and are concerned about your future and how you can maximize your recovery, you need to make sure you are protecting your rights. While we believe you should always speak with a lawyer after an injury, we also understand that knowledge is power. Feel free to look around and if you don’t find your question or if you want to discuss it further – just fill out the form below

Here is some information  and frequently asked questions to help you to Protect Your Legal Rights:

Things to Do After a Work Injury

  • What should I do after a work injury?

    After a work injury an injured worker should make sure they follow these steps. 

    1. Report your injury to your employer.

    It is very important to report your injury immediately to your employer. Many employers have their own guidelines and rules about reporting work-related injuries. You should make sure to check with human resources or your employee handbook about the appropriate procedure. Regardless of your company’s own policies, under Minnesota Workers’ Compensation law, you are required to report your injury within 30 days of the injury. Only in limited circumstances are you allowed to report your injury beyond 30 days. 

    2. Seek medical care or treatment.

    While in most cases, cuts and bruises will heal on their own but more significant soft tissue or even traumatic injuries won’t. An injured worker should seek medical care or treatment to evaluate the severity of the injuries. Not only is seeking medical care and treatment important to determine the extent of the injuries, it also allows opportunity for the injury to be documented and memorialized in the medical records. This is important. In some cases, documents get lost, witnesses are no longer available, and employers deny injuries even occurred. By documenting it in a medical note, it allows for others to know that it happened.

    3. Speak with an Attorney.

    There is no such thing as a silly question. In most cases, this is your first and only work-related injury. Most of the documents and forms that are presented to you are new and can be a lot to try and understand. There are people out there who can assist you in answering your questions. Our attorneys can help you and provide you the legal advice you need. Call us now at 855-354-2667.  It is a free call with free advice

    4. Be prepared.

    We always like to believe that people and insurance companies will always do the right thing. Again, that is not always the case. In workers’ compensation, things can turn bad really quickly. In other words, an insurance company that has been paying bills and wage loss benefits can suddenly stop paying. It is important to have an understanding of what benefits are available to you and what your legal options are in getting those benefits. When an insurance company stops paying medical bills or benefits most of the time it’s not because they should be. Therefore, you should have a basic understanding of what benefits are available to you, and whether you may be potentially entitled to those benefits. In most cases, it is good to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to again go over your options.

  • Do I need to report my work injury?

    For every compensable work-related injury there is a reported injury. In other words you must report your injury to the employer. Failure to report your injury in a timely fashion can result in a bar to workers compensation benefits. Regardless of whether the injury is a slip and fall, trip and fall, herniated disc or a Gillette type injury, you should always report your injury as soon as possible to the employer.

    To receive Minnesota worker's compensation benefits, the injured worker must show they provided notice of the injury to the employer, or that the employer had actual knowledge of the injury, with in 180 days as allowed under Minnesota statute 176.141. This does not require that you fill out any paperwork or a first report of injury but instead that you provided notice either verbally or in written form.

    Notice must be given when it becomes "reasonably apparent" dad in injury has resulted in, or is likely to cause, a compensable disability. Oftentimes, with cumulative trauma injuries or Gillette type injuries that may be difficult to know when you may have sustained an injury. Gillette injuries require that notice does not have to be given until the injured worker, as a reasonable person, should recognize the nature and seriousness and probable compensable character of their injury or disease. In other words, you believe that you've got work-related injury should report it.

    A Minnesota worker’s compensation attorney can help provide you advice as to whether notice was appropriately given. If you have sustained a work-related injury would like to discuss whether you provided notice contact today for free no hassle consultation.

  • What happens if I don't report my work injury?

    Failure to report a work injury can harm your chances of getting workers compensation benefits. 

    The first step in any workers’ compensation claim is to report an injury.  The purpose of the  requirement is to allow the employer the ability to render immediate medical attention in the hope of minimizing the seriousness of the injury and permitting the employer to investigate the claim soon after the injury.

    It is important to keep in mind that when you file a claim for workers’ compensation it is a claim against the employer’s insurance coverage, not the employer directly. Even if you decide you want to put it under your own health insurance, you may run into problems.

    Failure to report your injury in a timely fashion can result in a bar to workers compensation benefits. Regardless of whether the injury is a slip and fall, trip and fall, herniated disc or a Gillette type injury, you should always report your injury as soon as possible to the employer.

    To receive worker's compensation benefits, the injured worker must show the provided notice of the injury to the employer, or that the employer had actual knowledge of the injury, with in 180 days as allowed under Minnesota statute 176.141. You should always report your injury. 

  • Should I get medical treatment for my work injury?

    After a work injury it’s important to receive medical care and treatment. Either emergency room, hospital, medical clinic or chiropractic office.  Not only do you want treatment for your injury but you also want to document the injury, your current condition, and your symptoms. It is important to have documentation to establish that a work injury actually occurred. For example you have an injury at work but you decide to hold off on getting treatment. In fact, you wait several weeks for the symptoms to get bad before you go see a doctor. This delay in medical treatment gives the workers compensation insurer an opportunity to explain her symptoms on other things including possibly activities at home, extracurricular activities, etc.

    You have a right to choose your physician in most circumstances.

    Under Worker’s Compensation law you have a right to choose your physician. Only in limited situations if it is a managed care program can an insurer direct where you will seek medical treatment. Otherwise you have a right to choose your position.

    If you treat with a physician more than two times that physician becomes your “treating physician.” You may be referred to other physicians by your treating physician but typically you’re not allowed to change physicians unless in certain circumstances. Consequently, it’s important that you choose the right “treating physician.”

  • Should I speak to a workers’ compensation attorney after my work injury?

    Workers Compenation is a specialized area that requires someone with knowledge of how the law works and how it applies to your case. The law changes yearly and sometimes monthly depending on the ever changing legal landscape. It is important to to know your rights. Be empowered. Be educated. The following are reasons you may want to speak with our office and a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer now:

    1. We offer a free no hassle consultation. We will answer all of your questions, provide you information concerning what rights you have under the law, and what responsibilities an employer and insurer have to you, the injured worker – all for free. Why not educate and empower yourself?
    2. To make sure that you are getting the appropriate benefits.  Often times, this can be overlooked as the employer and insurer calculate a certain wage and most injured workers believe that is all they can receive when, in fact, this may not be correct.  A lawyer can help determine whether you are getting what you are owed.
    3. To make sure you are on the right track and receiving medical benefits and treatment.  Sometimes a little advice from someone who has been through it hundreds of times can go a long way.  Our attorneys and staff know the best way to guide injured workers through the system in making sure that they get the appropriate treatment that they need.
    4. To make sure you are getting the appropriate vocational assistance.  Most insurance companies fail to appropriately inform injured workers about their rights under the rehabilitation laws including services through a qualified rehabilitation consultant and even retraining.  A lawyer can help guide you in obtaining a QRC and getting you on the right track for the appropriate rehabilitation benefits

    In most circumstances, you first need to speak with a lawyer to go over the facts of your case to determine whether or not you need to retain a lawyer to represent you. 

    Our office, offers a free consultation to all potential clients.  We don’t set any time limits on the conference, and often times we are more than happy to meet with you as long as need be.  We offer in-person as well as over-the-phone consultations.


Getting a Minnesota Workers' Compensation Lawyer

  • How do I find a Minnesota workers' compensation lawyer?

    Surprisingly, finding a workers compensation lawyer can often times be easy. Type in Google  “Workers Compenation attorney” and there you go.  However, finding the “right” attorney can be a little more difficult if you don’t know what to look for or even ask. Anyone can buy an advertisement or claim to be the best, but how do you find the right attorney? Be careful of just the slogans:

    • I’ll Fight for you
    • X amount of combined years of experience. In other words adding all of the lawyers years of experience in the office to come up with a number.
    • Argued hundreds of cases
    • Recovered x amount for a particular client.
    • Don’t be tricked by the insurance company

    Despite these advertisements and proclamations many attorneys fail to stress one of the most important attributes any great attorney must have - listening. One of the biggest complaints of injured workers who want to switch their attorney is that can’t be heard or even communicate with their lawyer.  We don’t need to explain why this would be the most important part of the case. 

    The second most important attribute is just plain hard work. No matter how smart someone is or how great a talker a lawyer may be, if they are not going to do the work on your case then your chance of success goes down. Hard work translates to better preparedness for conferences, hearings, etc. This translates to a better outcome for your case. While no case can be guaranteed a Judge does not like an unprepared attorney.

    So how do you find a lawyer with these qualities? Again we would say you’ve come to right place but in order to continue with your research the two things you should look at are:

    • Meet with the attorney either in person or over the phone.  Ask questions and observe.  Are they really listening to you about your case? Are they looking at their watch the entire time? Do they have staff to help with your case? What was your first impression? 
    • What do client reviews like Google and Avvo say about them? What does their negative reviews say? What does the attorney say about the negative reviews? 

    Our staff are here to help you and provide the legal service you deserve. Let us help you. Be empowered. Be educated.  

  • When is a good time to speak with a workers' compensation attorney?

    RЕАЅОNЅ TО TALK TO A LАWУЕR

    The old adage is that the best time to talk to a lawyer is when you don’t actually need one. Some of the reasons why you may want to speak to a lawyer include:

    1. You Want to Get the Facts

    A licensed lawyer that practices in workers’ compensation can tell you about the applicable laws that apply to your case. Looking for information online may yield inaccurate or outdated information. A professional can provide current information and relevant information.

    2. You Want to Ease Your Mind

    Not knowing is sometimes the worst feeling in the world. It is often better to know what you are facing even if this involves negative information. To remove the feeling of paralysis, many people consult with a lawyer to learn about their options.

    3. You Need to Know Options

    A lawyer can provide an objective set of information about the options available in your case along with the pros and cons of each option.

    4. You Want to Avoid Mistakes 

    While legal information is widely available on the Internet, this information is often not accurate. Even if the information is accurate, the law is a complex area that requires strict adherence to deadlines, filing requirements and procedures. Sometimes doing the work yourself can be much more expensive because then you have to hire a lawyer to fix your mistakes.

    Mottaz & Sisk offers free consultations for injured workers and their families to discuss their legal options. If you wish to discuss a potential case, please feel free to contact our office or calling 763.421.8226.

  • How much will it cost to hire a Minnesota workers compensation attorney?

    There is no cost to meet with our office to discuss your workers’ compensation case.  We do not charge a fee unless you retain our office and we are able to recover benefits on your behalf.  This means, if you retain our office and during the life of your claim we do not recover any disputed or new benefits, you will not owe us anything.  This means that we will monitor your case and make sure to advise you on important issues.

    Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney fees are handled on a contingency basis.  No fee is owed unless we are able to recover additional workers’ compensation benefits or a settlement. Before October 1, 2013, attorney fees would be paid on a contingency basis of 25% of the first $4,000 and 20% thereafter.  After October 1, 2013 dates injuries, the law changed to 20% of workers’ compensation.  In the case that there is no money paid directly to you, whether it be wage loss, permanency or a settlement, and in a situation where we recover medical or rehabilitation benefits on your behalf, we are allowed to have the insurance company pay our hourly fees.

    Insurance companies spend lots of money to hire defense lawyers to represent them.  Hiring a lawyer gets someone in your corner that understands the system and makes sure that no one is taking advantage of you.

    Following a work injury, there is no bad time to meet with a workers’ compensation lawyer.  All meetings are private and confidential.  An attorney can help you with even the smallest of cases and assist in monitoring your claim and making sure there are no issues.  Waiting until there are issues may not always be in your best interest.

    Meeting with a workers’ compensation lawyer for an initial consultation is free with no obligation to sign.

     

  • If I hire you, will I owe anything for costs? ie records, reports, etc

    Our office does not charge clients for costs in their workers' compensation cases. If we are successful in your case we will seek reimbursement for our costs separately from the insurance company. If we were to lose your case or if the insurance company refuses to pay our costs we will not seek to recover our costs from you. Instead we will just absorb those costs. 

    Our office has found that this practice provides more certainty for you and less risk while pursuing your workers compensation case. We are happy to provide this to you.

    While we offer this as part of our service, other law firms may not. Some other firms may include in their retainer agreement they will or may seek to recover costs against you. Again, our office will never do that. 

  • Why hire a work injury attorney?

    Why Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

    Seeking help from a workers’ compensation lawyer may be one of the best things you can do following a work-related injury.  Often times, an injured worker’s interaction with a lawyer following a work injury is the first time they have ever needed to speak with a lawyer.  You may wonder how much it costs, what are the details, how are the attorney fees paid.

    When Should I Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

    Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer can occur any time after a work-related injury.  Sometimes hiring a lawyer immediately after a work injury is the best thing to do.  An experienced lawyer can protect your legal rights and entitlement to benefits.  Furthermore, a lawyer can protect the injured worker from certain harassment following an injury and make sure that the worker is not being taken advantage of by the insurance company.

    What Can a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney do for me that I can’t do on my own?

    An experienced work comp lawyer can do many things, including:

    • Make sure that you receive all of the work comp benefits that you are owed.

    • Meet with you free of charge.

    • Deal with the employer and the insurer so you can recover.

    • Assist in getting you a larger work comp settlement.

    • Protect your legal rights and entitlement to benefits. 

    • Make sure that you get the appropriate medical support to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

    • Challenge an adverse independent medical examination report.

    Why Hire Mottaz & Sisk to Represent me? 

    Insurance companies are in the business to make money.  As such, they routinely deny benefits.  Insurance companies will deny benefits in hopes that the injured worker will go away, quit their employer, settle for less, or just give up.  An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can assist the injured worker in challenging the denials or disputes in court and get you the benefits that you are owed under the law.

    Following an injury, dealing with your employer can be extremely difficult.  Even if the employee has been a long-time and very good employee, the employer or insurance company may not do the right thing.  Many injured workers find themselves in a difficult place as they are having to go back to work with restrictions, perform duties outside of their normal job or told to return to work without restrictions.

    One of our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can help you deal with your employer and insurance company so you can focus on getting better.  A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you resolve minor to even large problems without filing litigation.

    A lawyer can be that extra person in your corner to help you get back on the road to recovery. 

    Following a work injury, insurance companies don’t disclose all of the workers’ compensation benefits available to you, including wage loss, medical treatment, and vocational rehabilitation.

    Our workers’ compensation attorneys can meet with you and go over your specific case and determine whether you are receiving all of the benefits that you are owed.

    When you decide to meet with our office, you will meet with an experience workers’ compensation. One of the lawyers will meet with you free of charge.  If you decide to retain the lawyer, the fees are handled on a contingency fee basis.  If there is wage loss or permanent partial disability benefits paid to you.  In cases where there are medical or vocational benefits at dispute, the attorney is allowed to seek attorney fees, not from you, but directly from the insurance company.

    When you hire a workers’ compensation lawyer, there are no fees unless we recover for you. 

    After an injury, an insurance company may send you for an independent medical examination or an adverse examination.  Under the law, you are required to attend the examination.  Although the law calls them independent medical examinations, they are not truly independent as the doctors are selected by the insurance company and often times routinely do these examinations at the request of the insurance company.  The insurance companies use the same doctors and get the same types of reports.  Sadly, an independent medical examination can be the basis for which an employer and insurer use to deny and stop benefits.

    Our workers’ compensation lawyers will fight the report.  Our lawyers are experienced and are willing to take all of the necessary steps, including meeting with your doctors, taking depositions, and trying your case in order for you to get the benefits you deserve.

    An injured worker should be leery of attempting to settle a workers’ compensation case on their own.  In most cases, you will get a larger settlement with the help of an experienced knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer.  An insurance company knows that if they make an offer, that an injured worker may accept it, as in most cases they are facing financial trouble, behind in bills, or are not aware of their rights under the law.

    An attorney can advise you of the value of your case and you obtaining a lawyer will pay for itself.

    Many firms try and settle your case quickly without advising you of the consequences of the actions.  Our office makes sure that you are aware of your legal rights and your entitlement to benefits.  We make sure that you have a full understanding of what it is that you are receiving and what it is that you are potentially giving up.  Our office will make sure that you know and understand your rights.

    Let us be your advocate. 

    The insurance company knows your rights, do you?  Talk to a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer today by calling (855) 354-2667.  It is a free consultation and there is no obligation to retain a lawyer.  You can discuss your case with a lawyer and obtain the advice you need to get your life back on track.


Denied Workers' Compensation Benefits

  • I am denied Minnesota workers compensation benefits, what can I do?

    Denied Workers Compensation Benefits

    If you have been denied Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits than it is important to talk with a workers compensation attorney. An attorney can walk through with you the steps that can be taken to get you workers’ compensation benefits. The next steps will depend on the denial, the type benefits requested and the benefits that have been paid.

    There is no cost to meet with our office to discuss your workers’ compensation case. We do not charge a fee unless you retain our office and we are able to recover benefits on your behalf. This means if you retain our office and during the life of your claim we do not recover any disputed or new benefits, you will not owe us anything. This means that we will monitor your case and make sure to advise you on important issues.

    Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney fees are handled on a contingency basis. No fee is owed unless we are able to recover additional workers’ compensation benefits or a settlement. Before October 1, 2013, attorney fees would be paid on a contingency basis of 25% of the first $4,000 and 20% thereafter. After October 1, 2013 dates injuries, the law changed to 20% of workers’ compensation. In the case that there is no money paid directly to you, whether it be wage loss, permanency or a settlement, and in a situation where we recover medical or rehabilitation benefits on your behalf, we are allowed to have the insurance company pay our hourly fees.

    Call or contact our office today for a free consultation.

  • Workers compensation insurance companies and employers may deny medical treatment for a variety of reasons including:

    • The treatment is not related to the work injury.

    • The treatment is outside of the allowed treatment parameters.

    • The chiropractic treatment is beyond the 12 weeks of allowed care without an allowed departure.

    • The treatment is not reasonable and/or necessary.

    These are just some of the reasons that an adjuster or claims representative may deny treatment.  They are required under the law within 7 days to either admit, deny or request a  second opinion such as through an independent medical examination.  In the cases of surgery, they are obligated to have an independent medical examination within 45 days of the request for surgery.

    So what do I do if I am not getting the treatment I need approved?

    In most cases, it may be beneficial for you to sit down with a work injury lawyer to discuss your legal options and whether or not a claim would need to be filed to get the treatment approved.  There are, however, things that you can do on your own without the assistance of a lawyer to help you get the necessary treatment, including:

    • Make sure that your provider has submitted the appropriate forms or bills to the insurance company.

    • Contact the insurance company to confirm that they have the appropriate information from the medical provider.

    • Determine whether or not an independent medical examination has been scheduled.  If an adjuster is dragging their feet in scheduling one, it may be in your best interest to contact the Department of Labor and Industry to assist in getting the examination scheduled so a determination can be made.  They can be reached on the Workers’ Compensation hotline.

    If any of the above is unsuccessful or if you have already been told that the treatment is denied, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in order to discuss your case.  The lawyer will need to gather all of the appropriate documents including bills and medical records and file either a Medical Request or Claim Petition on your behalf.  The attorney will also need to make sure that the appropriate medical support is gathered, including an opinion as to why the recommended treatment is reasonable, necessary and causally related to the work injury.

    This can devastating as often times the denials occur at a pivotal point when treatment is necessary to get you back on your feet and doing the things you used to do.  An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer should be able to help you and guide you to make good informed decisions.

    We are experienced workers’ compensation lawyers willing to meet with you for a free.  If you would like to discuss your case, please feel free to contact Mottaz & Sisk today.

  • What is a Notice of Intention to Discontinue Workers Compensation Benefits or NOID?

    NOID or Notice of Intention to Discontinue Workers Compensation Benefits

    When the insurance company decides that they are going to stop paying you wage loss benefits they are required under the law to file what is called a Notice of Intention to Discontinue Benefits or NOID.  The form you receive provides various instructions on how to request a conference concerning your benefits.  Typically, you have a very short window, sometimes 12 days, in order to request a conference.  You want to make sure that you request a conference as the conference will provide you with an opportunity to dispute and contest the stopping of your wage loss benefits.  It may also be in your best interest to talk to a lawyer and discuss what your other options may be. 

    239 Conference

    The type of conference you will get is called a “.239” Conference.  If you fail in requesting a conference in a timely fashion, you may then be required to file a Claim Petition or an Objection to Discontinuance in order to get your benefits reinstated. 

    Some injured workers do attend the .239 Conferences on their own, but in most cases it would be in the injured worker’s best interest to have representation in order to insure the necessary arguments are made to the compensation judge.

     We at Mottaz & Sisk offer free consultations for injured workers to discuss their legal options.  Because things move fairly quickly once an NOID has been filed it is important that if you wish to speak with an attorney that you do so within a reasonable timeframe.  Our office will work diligently to schedule a time to meet with you as promptly as possible.  And, if you do retain our office to represent you, we will then take the necessary steps to attempt to get your benefits reinstated. 

    If you wish to speak with a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer, please feel free to contact our office today.

  • What is 239 Conference?

    239 Conference

    When the insurance company decides that they are going to stop paying you wage loss benefits they are required under the law to file what is called a Notice of Intention to Discontinue Benefits or NOID.  The form you receive provides various instructions on how to request a conference concerning your benefits.  Typically, you have a very short window, sometimes 12 days, in order to request a conference.  You want to make sure that you or your attorney requests a conference as the conference will provide you with an opportunity to dispute and contest the stopping of your wage loss benefits.  This type of conference is called a “.239” Conference.  

    If a conference has been requested in a timely fashion, a conference will be held within 30 days. Arguments are made at the conference as to why benefits are not to be discontinued. No live testimony is given - only arguments. These conferences are held at the Office of Administrative Hearings or by phone depending on your location. 

    It is highly recommended that you have an attorney at a 239 conference. An attorney can make sure that the right arguments are being made. In most situations the insurance companies have attorneys represent them at these conferences. You should have representation too.

    Following the conference the compensation judge is required to issue a decision, within five business days, as to whether benefits should have been discontinued. If you prevail, benefits will need to be reinstated, however, the other side may appeal by filing a Petition to Discontinue.  If you lose an Objection to Discontinuance can be filed but benefits are not recommenced unless you prevail at a hearing. An attorney can help to file the appropriate documentation.


Litigation after a Minnesota Work Injury

  • Under MN workers’ compensation, there are two different places or venues a disputed or claim can be filed– Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry or the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings. The type of document filed and the nature of the dispute will dictate where it will be heard. Typically, DOLI will hear issues of medical and rehabilitation under $7,500 if it is an admitted claim (paid benefits). OAH will hear all other disputes including wage loss and disputes over $7,500 where claims are either admitted or denied. Documents that can be filed to recover benefits can include:

    • Medical Requests;
    • Claim Petitions; and
    • Rehabilitation Requests.

    Once a claim has been filed the employer and insurer have a right to undergo discovery which includes the injured worker to undergo what is called an Independent Medical Examination (IME). In certain cases, an employer and insurer may also request an Independent Vocational Evaluation if the injured worker claims that their ability to earn has been reduced by the injury. During the discovery process, the injured worker and her attorney are also afforded an opportunity to obtain records from the employer, conduct depositions of experts and relevant parties and request medical records before going to a hearing.

    MN Work Comp Conferences and Hearings

    Once the appropriate documents have been filed with the state a conference or hearing will be scheduled. The purpose of an administrative conference is to resolve issues regarding medical and rehabilitation services. Administrative conferences are typically scheduled for a half hour to an hour and are less formal than a hearing as no sworn testimony is given and a formal record is not kept.

    A hearing is the equivalent of “trial” in civil cases. However, it is nothing like you see on TV. Instead, hearings are conducted at OAH or other designated locations throughout the state. There is no jury but instead, a compensation judge that will consider all of the evidence. A hearing before the judges will be scheduled for either a half or a full day depending on the issues. The parties offer evidence and sworn testimony is given. The parties are bound to follow certain rules when conducting themselves at a hearing.

    Following the conclusion of the conference or hearing, the mediator or Judge will take the matter under advisement and issue a Decision and Order (DO) or a Findings and Order (FO), which can be appealed within 30 days. If it is an administrative decision (DO) any party can request a formal evidentiary hearing before a compensation judge. If it is a hearing it can be appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals.

     

  • I lost at my workers compensation conference, can I appeal?

    If you have had an Administrative Conference., whether it be over wage loss, medical, or rehabilitation benefits, typically there is a short window for you to appeal that decision for a formal  hearing. The deadlines to appeal a decision can range from 30-60 days depending upon the type of conference - while some Administrative Conferences can be handled adequately by the injured worker, it is important to consult with an attorney if you intend on appeal a decision or if the insurance company appeals a decision.

    Following an Administrative Conference, whether it is appealed by the injured worker or not, the insurance company will most likely want to perform some type of discovery. This can include requests for authorizations, requests for medical records, depositions, Independent medical evaluations. etc. The employer and insurer will attempt to build a case against you in an effort to stop paying benefits. It is important that if you have not already yous should discuss the matter with an attorney to go over your options and the best way to handle your case.

    Under Minnesota worker's compensation law, attorneys are retained on a contingent basis. What this means that if the attorney is not successful in getting benefits on your behalf - there are no fees. If an attorney is successful in obtaining wage loss benefits on your behalf, then contingent fees will be withheld in the amount of 20%. If the dispute involves medical or rehabilitation, and the attorney is successful in getting benefits for you, then the attorney would be able to recover attorney fees from the insurance company and not from your benefits directly. There would be no fees unless the attorney recovered benefits on your behalf. It is important that you discuss the matter with an attorney so as to protect your rights under the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Act.

    The lawyers at Mottaz & Sisk are experienced and have handled thousands of these types of cases. Contact Mottaz & Sisk today for free no hassle consultation.

  • Workers' Compensation stopped paying benefits because I am at MMI or Maximum Medical Improvement, what now?

    If workers' compensation stops your wage loss benefits or medical benefits because they believe you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement you may have a right to additional benefits. First, you must determine whether you or your doctors are disputing you reached MMI from all conditions. 

    If you are disputing MMI, you have a right to request additional benefits including temporary total and medical benefits. In fact, a designation of MMI should not effect your right to additional medical benefits. Often times Maximum medical improvement is generally not found to have been established when it is shown that the employee requires additional treatment or surgery. Depending on the timing either a conference or a hearing can be requested to dispute the denial.

    If you are not disputing MMI then the only wage loss benefits that can stop would be temporary total disability. The insurer is allowed to discontinue TTD 90 days after service of the MMI opinion on you. While your TTD benefits may stop, you could still be entitled to the following:

    • Medical benefits
    • Medical mileage
    • Vocational retraining and rehabilitation
    • Home remodeling
    • Pеrmаnеnt Pаrtіаl Dіѕаbіlіtу (PPD) bеnеfіtѕ. If уоur dосtоr finds that you suffer permanent loss of impariment or loss of function, уоu may be eligible for реrmаnеnt раrtіаl dіѕаbіlіtу (PPD) bеnеfіtѕ. Inѕtеаd оf рауіng a set аmоunt fоr сеrtаіn bоdу раrtѕ, lіkе ѕоmе ѕtаtеѕ do, Minnesota аѕѕеѕѕеѕ how muсh you hаvе lоѕt of your tоtаl bоdу funсtіоn. Onсе you rеасh MMI, уоur dосtоr wіll gіvе you a tоtаl body іmраіrmеnt rаtіng, stated аѕ a percentage. This is based on the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Permanency Schedule under Minnesota Rule 5223. This is not payable until your TTD benefits have stopped and is payable in a lump sum or paid out weekly.
    • Pеrmаnеnt Total Disability Bеnеfіtѕ (PTD). In Mіnnеѕоtа, permanent tоtаl dіѕаbіlіtу (PTD) bеnеfіtѕ аrе twо-thіrdѕ of уоur average weekly wage. Thе state’s mаxіmum bеnеfіt аррlіеѕ to PTD сlаіmѕ and Minnesota ѕеtѕ a minimum PTD bеnеfіt ($1,098.54 and $701, аѕ of October 1, 2018). 

    A Minnesota work injury attorney can help guide you in determining what benefits may be available to you.

  • What happens at my workers' compensation deposition?

    Minnesota Workers' Compensation Deposition

    A deposition is a legal proceeding where the attorney representing the employer and insurance company is allowed to ask you questions that you have to answer under oath. It is typically held at your lawyers office, but in certain circumstances it will be held at other locations. At the time of the deposition, a court reporter will be present to take down all of the questions and all of your responses. You should always have an attorney present to represent you in a deposition if it is your case.

    The purpose of a deposition is for the employer and insurer to learn any information that is, or may be, relevant to your Minnesota workers compensation claim.  Because of this, the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Courts allow a good deal of latitude in the types of questions that are asked. In order for you to be prepared for those questions, you should take time to recollect the following areas to the best of your ability:

    1. Past education history.

    2.  Past employment history.

    3. Past medical history. 

    4. Injury job description. 

    5. Chronological history of the effects of your work related injury, including the type of treatment provided; the type of rehabilitation assistance received any job search efforts that you have made, etc. 

    6. Description of current symptoms. 

    7. General statistical data.

    You should be present at the location of the deposition prior to its scheduled starting time, so that you have an opportunity to run through your deposition with your attorney.

    Since the deposition is not taken in an actual courtroom, nor is a Judge present, it is not necessary to dress formally. You may dress casually. Be courteous with the other attorney and the court reporter. 

  • What is an IME or Independent Medical Examination and why do I have to go?

    In cases of work-related injuries, the insurance company has a right to request that you be examined by a doctor of their choosing to determine the extent and validity of your injuries. This doctor who is examining you is not your treating doctor and is only doing so for the insurance company. Their bill will be paid by the insurance company. Again, they will not be treating you nor are they obligated to tell you what their findings and recommendations are at the time of your examination. Sometimes these appointments can be cold and unfriendly as the doctors are unwilling to provide much information if any at all. Obviously, this is very different than our typical experience with doctors and physicians. Please keep in mind that it is fine for you to be slightly apprehensive, but it is imperative that you cooperate and be truthful with the doctor.

    For more information, check out this article


Minnesota Workers' Compensation Benefits and Injuries

  • What is Minnesota workers’ compensation?

    The Minnesota workers’ compensation system was established in 1913 to help injured employees cope with the financial hardship brought on by occupational injuries and to assist in returning the employee to employment. However, with the inception of the system came a struggle between providing necessary benefits to the injured employee and the costs incurred by the employer and insurer during the process.

     Minnesota workers’ compensation does not take fault into account. In fact, think of it as a contract between the employee and his or her employer. The employer agrees to compensate the employee for on-the-job injuries, and in return, the employer has limited liability with a set amount of exposure. Every employer is liable for compensation in every case of personal injury or death of an employee arising out of and in the course of employment without regard to the question of negligence.

    Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Is an Exclusive Remedy 

    Although workers’ compensation can be categorized as an exclusive remedy, it does not prohibit an employee from bringing other claims against the employer for things like discrimination, retaliation, or other claims.

    Quick and Efficient Delivery of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

    It is the intent of the legislature that the system is to assure the quick and efficient delivery of indemnity and medical benefits to injured workers at a reasonable cost to the employers who are subject to the provisions of this chapter. . . . The workers’ compensation system in Minnesota is based on a mutual renunciation of common law rights and defenses by employers and employees alike. Employees’ rights to sue for damages over and above medical and health care benefits and wage loss benefits are to a certain degree limited by the provisions of this chapter, and employers’ rights to raise common law defenses such as lack of negligence, contributory negligence on the part of the employee, and others, are curtailed as well. 

    If you have questions about Minnesota workers’ compensation, contact our office today for a free consultation. 

  • What are my rights to Minnesota workers' compensation benefits?

    As an Injured worker you have certain rights. These rights you have regardless of whether your claim has been accepted by the insurer or denied. Please keep in mind this article does not discuss “benefits. This can be found here. Your rights cannot not be infringed upon and if the employer or insurer does then penalties or sanctions can be imposed.

    So what are my rights? Here are some:

    • If are denied benefits, you have the right to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. Consulting with a lawyer is great first step in getting benefits.
    • Initial treatment. After an injury you have a right to choose where you want to treat. Exception - if your employer is part of a managed care plan or part of the union construction program they may direct you to a provider.
    • First Report of Injury. You have a right to receive a copy of the first report of injury.
    • Ongoing treatment. If you have not initially treated with a physician more than twice you have a right change physicians.
    • Investigated claim. The employer and insurer must investigate your workers compensation claim.
    • An insurer must pay benefits timely. The type of benefits you are owed will decide when they are to be paid. See Benefits for further explanation
    • Not to be fired for filing a workers compensation claim. This would be retaliation and you may not only need a workers' compensation but an employment law attorney.
    • Force you to undergo treatment. You have a right to decide your treatment.
    • Speaking with a lawyer. The employer and insurer cannot dissuade you from speaking with a lawyer.
    • Right to a QRC or qualified rehabilitation consultant or, at minimum, a consultation. 

    These are some of your rights under Minnesota workers' compensation. If you have questions about whether your rights have been violated, feel free contact our office for a free consultation. We can discuss with you your rights under Minnesota workers' compensation. 

  • What types of work injuries are covered in Minnesota?

    In Minnesota injured employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for conditions caused or aggravated by a work injury or activity.  A work-related disability can be caused by a specific event, repetitious work activities over time, or occupational diseases contracted because of the hazards of the employment.

    Compensable Work Injuries 

    • Specific Injury - Single and/or specific event-type injuries remain compensable as long as they arise out of and in the course of employment.
    • Gillette or Cumulative Trauma - Compensation is allowed for injuries that occur as a result of repetitive minute trauma brought about by the performance of ordinary job duties. As a general rule, a Gillette injury culminates when the cumulative effect of repetitive trauma is sufficiently serious to disable the employee from further work. The date of disability resulting from a Gillette injury may be arrived at by considering various “ascertainable event.” These include the date on which an employee’s job duties are changed to accommodate his work restrictions, the date surgery is recommended, or the date an employee becomes unable to continue working.
    • Occupational Disease - An occupational disease is a disease arising out of and in the course of employment peculiar to the occupation in which the employee is engaged and due to causes in excess of the hazards ordinary of employment and shall include undulant fever. Ordinary diseases of life to which the general public is equally exposed outside of employment are not compensable. Exceptions exist where the diseases follow as an incident of an occupational disease, or where the exposure peculiar to the occupation makes the disease an occupational disease hazard.
    • Consequential Injuries - Subsequent injuries or disabilities that are a direct and natural consequence of a previous compensable injury are compensable.
    • Psychological/Mental Injuries – Under Minnesota law only certain mental injuries are compensable including mental/physical and physical/mental. However, mental/mental injuries are not usually compensable unless it is diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Otherwise, solely mental injuries are not compensable. The Workers’ Compensation Act does not allow compensation for mental disability caused by work-related stress without “physical stimulus,” “trauma” or “injury.” Thus, the law requires a “physical” component to the injury.

     Non-Compensable Injuries

    •  Idiopathic - An idiopathic condition is one which is peculiar to the individual or arises spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause.
    • Intoxication - If intoxication of the employee is the proximate cause of the injury, there is no liability on the part of the employer for payment of workers’ compensation benefits. The burden of proof of these facts, however, is upon the employer.
    • Intentional Injuries - An injury is not compensable if it was intentionally self-inflicted. The burden of proof of intentional self-infliction is on the employer. “Intentionally self-inflicted” language contemplates a deliberate intent on the part of the employee to cause injury or death, not a failure on the employee’s part to realize the probable consequences of foolish acts.
    • Fraud or Misrepresentation - False representations about physical condition or health made by an employee in procuring employment may preclude the receipt of workers’ compensation benefits for an otherwise compensable injury if it is shown that: (1) the employee knowingly and willfully made a false representation as to his physical condition; (2) the employer substantially and justifiably relied on the false representation in the hiring of the employee; and (3) a causal connection existed between the false representation and the injury. The burden is on the employer to prove each of these elements.

    If you have questions as to whether you or a loved one sustained a work related injury contact our office today for a free consultation. 

  • My work activities over time have caused a repetitive injury, what should I do?

    Not every work injury in Minnesota is the result of an accident or specific trauma. At times, the injury is the result of work activities performed over time. These types of injuries typically result due to the wear and tear that repetitive activities and motions cause on the body. In Minnesota, these types of injuries are caused "Gillette" injuries.  

    Even performing seemingly simple tasks and activities may cause people to develop repetitive injuries. These types of muscle, nerve, tendon and ligament injuries, may be temporary or permanent. Depending on the type and severity of their conditions people who suffer from repetitive injury conditions may need to alter their job duties or take time off of work to recover.

    Getting Minnesota Workers' Compensation Benefits

    As is the case with other workers who are injured on the job, those who suffer repetitive injuries may also be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Injured workers may receive medical benefits, portion of their lost wages resulting from time off of work, or on restricted duty, for recovery, permanent partial disability and vocational assistance. In order to get these benefits an injured worker who believes they have suffered a repetitive injury or Gillette injury should perform the following:

    1. Report your Gillette Injury to your employer.
    2. Get Medical Treatment.
    3. Discuss Your Work Activities and Injury with their Doctor.
    4. Talk with a Work Injury Attorney

     Since repetitive injuries typically cannot be attributed to a particular incident, it can be difficult for some Minnesota workers to prove their conditions are work-related. As such, those who have developed this type of occupational injury should seek legal counsel. An attorney can advise them of their rights, and help guide them through the workers' compensation claims process.  

     

  • What is a Gillette injury under Minnesota workers' compensation?

    Under Minnesota workers' compensation law, overexertion/cumulative trauma/repetitive-type injuries are typically referred to as “Gillette” type injuries. Compensation is allowed for injuries that occur as a result of repetitive minute trauma brought about by the performance of ordinary job duties. As a general rule, a Gillette injury culminates when the cumulative effect of repetitive trauma is sufficiently serious to disable the employee from further work. The date of disability resulting from a Gillette injury may be arrived at by considering various “ascertainable event.” These include the date on which an employee’s job duties are changed to accommodate his work restrictions, the date surgery is recommended, or the date an employee becomes unable to continue working.

    If you believe that you have suffered an overexertion or repetitive-type injury, it is important that you report your injury to your employer.  Failure to report your injury when it is known or thought to be known to be work-related could be a bar to workers' compensation benefits.    It is also important to seek medical care and treatment to document your condition.  

     You should know your rights under the law as it relates to these types of Gillette injuries.  Our office offers free consultations to provide you with the necessary information so you can move through the workers' compensation system and get the benefits that you deserve.  Feel free to contact our office for a free no-hassle consultation.  

  • Do I qualify for workers' compensation benefits in Minnesota?

    Under Minnesota Workers' Compensation Law, all employers are required to purchase workers' compensation insurance or be self-insured. While there are certain exceptions to this rule, workers' compensation is mandatory. Therefore, if an injured worker is an "employee" under the law they are covered for workers' compensation benefits if their injury "arises out of " and "in the course of employment".

    1. Employees Under Minnesota Workers' Compensation

    Employees are generally defined as people performing services for another, for hire, including minors, part-time workers and workers who are not citizens.  A list of covered and non-covered workers' can be found in the statute here. 

    2. Arising out 

    “Arising out of” refers to a causal connection between the injury and the employment. Consequently, the employment or employment activities need to be the source of the injury-producing hazard. In other words, there needs to be some hazard that increases the employee’s exposure to injury beyond that of the general public.

    It is not enough that an injury takes place at work; rather, there must be a connection to the employer and the injury beyond that of the general public in order for the injury to “arise out of” the employment. The mere fact an employee falls at work and sustains an injury does not necessarily lead to coverage as there needs to be something at work to cause the injury.

    3. In the Course

    To be compensable, an injury must not only “arise out of” employment but it also must have occurred ‘in the course” of employment. “An injury is said to arise during the course of the employment when it takes place within the period of the employment, at a place where the employee reasonably may be and while he, is fulfilling his duties or engaged in doing something incidental thereto.”

    Speak with a Minnesota Work Injury Attorney

    If you have questions about whether you qualify for workers' compensation following a work injury contact our office for a free consultation. We can apply the law to your individual case to determine whether you qualify for benefits and provide you the advice you need. 

  • Although the law controls the specific amounts, duration, and types of benefits in effect at the time of the injury, there are four main types of benefits available to an injured worker. 

    Wage Replacement Benefits

    Temporary total disability benefits (TTD).  TTD benefits are a form of compensation available to an injured employee who is unable to work because of the work injury, or who is released to work with restrictions but is unable to find work within those  restrictions.  The TTD rate is two-thirds of the employee's gross wage at the time of the injury, subject to certain maximum and minimums.

    Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD).  TPD benefits are partial wage loss compensation for an injured employee who is back to work but is earning less than the date of injury wage due to the effects of a work injury. TPD is calculated at two thirds of the difference between the pre-injury wage and the employee’s current ability to earn. 

    Permanent total disability benefits (PTD). PTD benefits are wage loss compensation where the injured employee’s physical disability causes the employee to be unable to find anything more than occasional employment resulting in insubstantial income. This means that the worker cannot secure a steady job and earn a living from work. The rate payable for PTD benefits is two-thirds of the employee’s gross weekly wage at the time of the injury.

    Functional Impairment or Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD)

     Permanent partial disability or “permanency” is a payment for the loss of use of, or the loss of body function. These benefits are paid according to the compensation schedule established by the Workers’ Compensation Division. The amount and duration of the benefit are controlled by the permanent partial disability rating. It may be payable in one lump sum or in weekly increments. In cases where there is no specific schedule for that injury, the courts have allowed what is called a “Weber” rating. Under Weber, a doctor may provide an alternative permanent disability rating.

     Medical Benefits

     The employer and insurer are responsible for payment of “reasonable and necessary” medical treatment, which will aid in curing or relieving the effects of the work injury. Covered treatments include hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic services, injection therapy, chronic pain management and many other forms of medical care. The right to receive these benefits may be impacted by the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Treatment Parameters depending on various factors including whether the injury is admitted or denied. 

     Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

    Vocational rehabilitation benefits are designed to assist the injured worker returning to former employment or to a job related to that employment. In the alternative, rehabilitation services assist the injured employee to return to a job in another work area, which produces an economic status as close as possible to that enjoyed but for the disability.  This assistance may include direct job placement, on-the-job training or formal retraining. Rehabilitation services can include the use of a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (“QRC”) to help with medical management, return to work, and job placement.

  • What is a QRC and how do I get one?

    Vocational rehabilitation benefits are designed to assist the injured worker returning to former employment or to a job related to that employment. In the alternative, rehabilitation services assist the injured employee to return to a job in another work area, which produces an economic status as close as possible to that enjoyed but for the disability. This assistance may include direct job placement, on-the-job training or formal retraining. Rehabilitation services can include the use of a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (“QRC”) to help with medical management, return to work, and job placement.

    What is a QRC and how do I get one?

    One of the benefits that are offered to injured workers in Minnesota is the assistance of a QRC or a qualified rehabilitation consultant. The job of a QRC is to help the injured worker in getting them back to work with the date of injury employer, either in their original job or in a new position within the employer. If the employee cannot go back to work with the same employer, and they are allowed to return to work, job placement services may be initiated to help the worker look for work.

    How do I go about getting a QRC?

    An injured worker has the right to choose their own QRC. Often times, if an employee does not choose one-  whether they know they can or not – the workers’ compensation insurance company may assign one. Don’t allow the insurance company to choose a “bad” QRC for you. Contact our office to today and we can help you choose the right QRC for you.  In most cases, it is not until much later on in the case do you realize that the QRC is not looking out for your best interests. Unfortunately, only in extreme circumstances can the QRC be changed. This typically requires an Order from the court. Consequently, it is important to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you choose the right QRC from the beginning.

    Even if the QRC has been put on the file, the injured worker has 60 days to select a new QRC if they so desire. Unfortunately, the telltales of a bad QRC don’t typically come to light until well beyond the 60-day period. Therefore, it is important to talk to a knowledgeable MN work comp attorney as to whether a certain QRC is right for you. Jerry would be happy to assist you in finding a QRC.

    Things to Remember:

    • If rehabilitation services are thought to be helpful, you are to request an initial consultation with a QRC.
    • An initial rehabilitation consultation is to be provided to you upon request. Once a consultation is requested, the employer must provide a QRC unless a waiver is filed by the employer.
    • You have a right to choose a QRC at the beginning of rehabilitation services or within 60 days following the filing of the rehabilitation plan.
  • How do you calculate an injured workers average weekly wage in Minnesota?

    In order to calculate workers’ compensation benefits, an injured workers’ average weekly needs to be determined.  Average weekly wage is the beginning point in calculating work’ comp wage loss benefits including temporary total, temporary partial and permanent total disability. This is not always an easy taks. In most cases, the insurer will utilize an average weekly wage by adding the injured workers’ paychecks for the 26 weeks prior to the date of injury and dividing it by the number of weeks works.  While this is a simple and easy way in calculating an average weekly wage it is not necessarily the correct way or the only way to calculate the wage.

    Arriving at Fair Approximation 

    In MN work comp, the law has required that that object of average weekly wage determination is to arrive at a fair approximation of the employee’s probable future earning power which has been destroyed by the injury. In order to arrive at a fair approximation the injured worker includes certain benefits including:

    • Tips and gratuities 

    • Overtime if regular or frequent

    • Sick leave

    • Vacation and holiday pay

    • Bonuses if tied directly to the employee’s performance

    • Value of Room/Board

    What is not included:

    • Pension/Profit sharing

    • Employer contributions to insurance

    • Mileage/travel expenses

    • Overtime if not regular or frequent

    Regular v. Irregular Earning

    An injured workers’ average weekly wage will be calculated differently depending on whether their wages are Regular or Irregular. An employee’s wage is irregular if there is a variance in the number of hours worked each day or in the number of days worked each week or if the hourly wage earned by the employee varied.

    Calculating Regular Wages

    First add the injured workers’ paychecks for the 26 weeks prior to the date of injury and divide it by the number of weeks works up to 26 weeks. There may be different variations depending the facts of the case. 

    Calculating Irregular Wages

    First you must determined the daily wage. 

    Daily Wage:

    • Divide Total Earnings over 26 weeks by the Days Actually Worked =X

    Next, calculate the Average Days:

    Average Days:

    • Divide Days Actually Worked by Weeks Actually Worked = Y

    Lastly, calculate the Average Weekly Wage.

    AWW:

    • Multiply Average Days per Week (Y)by the Daily Wage (X)= Average Weekly Wage

    Calculating the correct average weekly depends on a number of factors. It is always a good idea to consult a with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.

    Second Job

    Earnings from  a second job or concurrent employment at the time injury are includable in the injured workers’ average weekly wage calculation.

    Maximum Compensation and Minimum Rates  

    The Department of Labor and Industry keeps an up to date list of the Maximum and Minimum compensation rates for wage loss. It can be found on DOLI’s website. https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/annladj.pdf

    Minnestoa workers compensation wage calculation

    Cost of Living Adjustments

    For injuries occurring on or after October 1, 1995, a cost of living adjustment does not occur until the fourth anniversary of the date of injury. 

  • Do I get wage loss if I am working after my injury but earning less?

    Temporary Partial Disability or TPD Benefits in Minnesota

    After a work injury in Minnesota if an injured worker has restrictions and is earning less because of their injury they may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits or TPD benefits. Temporary partial disability benefits are paid at a rate of 2/3rds of the difference between the average weekly wage and the wage the injured worker is able to earn. To be entitled to TPD the injured must establish the following:

    • A work related injury
    • Loss of earnings must be related to the injury
    • The injured worker must be able to work
    • There must actual be an actual loss of earning capacity. 

    For injuries after 1992 but before October 1 ,2018, TPD benefits are paid at most up to 225 weeks but no more than 450 weeks after the date of injury. For injuries after October 1, 2018, TPD benefits are paid at most up to 275 weeks but no more than 450 weeks after the injury. 

    Temporary partial is subject to the maximum and minimum compensation rates.

  • What is MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement)?

    Maximum Medical Improvement

    MMI is defined as “the date after which no further significant recovery from or significant lasting improvement to a personal injury can reasonably be anticipated, based upon reasonable medical probability, irrespective and regardless of subjective complaints of pain.” Minn. Stat. §176.011(25) (2010). Stated otherwise, MMI essentially means an injured worker is as good as they are going to get. An analogous concept is that of a healing plateau.

    As indicated, establishment of MMI serves two basic purposes:

    • First, it constitutes a defense to payment of additional temporary total disability benefits (TTD).
    • Second, it serves as a place marker, so that where appropriate, a permanent partial disability (PPD) rating can be assigned.

    In order for MMI to be used as a defense to payment of further TTD, it is not enough that the injured worker has attained MMI; rather, the injured worker must also be advised about reaching MMI. This is usually accomplished by the insurer mailing a medical report to the injured worker – indicating MMI has been reached. In legal terms, this is known as service of MMI. Service can be accomplished by mail, fax, email or in person. The latter could arise if an injured worker’s physician provided a report of work ability to the injured worker indicating MMI at an office visit.

    As a general rule, 90 days after the injured worker receives notice of MMI, no additional TTD is payable. Exceptions can occur if the injured worker later becomes medically unable to continue to working or participates in an approved retraining plan. Those, however, are fairly limited circumstances.

    Attainment of MMI does not act as a defense to payment of temporary partial disability benefits (TPD) nor permanent total disability benefits (PTD). Rather; it only constitutes defense to payment of additional TTD. Moreover, although it appears counterintuitive, MMI does not constitute a defense to claims for further medical treatment.

    Under Minnesota law, MMI occurs upon proof that the employee’s condition has stabilized and will likely show little further improvement. Moreover, an injured worker may reach MMI regardless of further flare-ups or worsened symptoms. Factors to be considered by the court when dealing with the issue of MMI include history of improvement, current treatment, pre-existing conditions and proposed treatment. An injured worker can be at MMI even if still disabled and unable to work. Moreover, a worsening condition does not preclude a finding of MMI because the issue is whether the employee has reached a point where substantial lasting improvement is unlikely.

    Attainment of MMI gets decided by a compensation judge – if disputed. The judge decides MMI based upon the medical opinions, the medical records and the employee’s testimony. The opinion of the treating physician does not necessarily govern. Sometimes, insurers will hire independent medical examiners to render opinions on MMI.

  • How do I know if I am getting the right amount of workers' compensation benefits?

    This is never an easy question to answer as it depends on a variety of items. This typically includes the following:

    1. Date of Injury: The date of injury controls the law that gets applied. Year by year the law changes which could effect the amount and entitlement to benefits.
    2. Average Weekly Wage: See how to calculate the AWW.
    3.  Benefit Type: Is it temporary total "TTD", temporary partial "TPD",  permanent total "PTD" or permanent partial "PPD"? 
    4.  Duration of Benefits: The days or weeks of benefits.

    With these types of questions it is always important to consult with an attorney. Our office offers a free consultation and would be happy to discuss your entitlement to benefits. 

  • How do I calculate Permanent Partial Disability or PPD benefits in Minnesota?

    Permanent partial disability or “permanency” is a payment for the loss of use of, or the loss of body function. These benefits are paid according to the compensation schedule established by the Workers’ Compensation Division. The amount and duration of the benefit are controlled by the permanent partial disability rating which is typically given by your treating physician.

    For more information on how to calculate permanent partial disability click here: Calculating PPD Benefits

  • If I receive permanent partial disability benefits am I settling my workers compensation case?

    No you are not settling. 

    The acceptance of a permanent partial disability payment is not a settlement or closing your workers' compensation case. Instead, it is a benefit, just like wage loss or mileage, that you are owed. Even if you think you are entitled to a higher amount or percentage you are not giving up the right to future benefits or even a higher permanent partial disability rating. 

    For example, the insurance company's adverse examiner assigns a 6% PPD rating. You think it should be higher. In fact your doctor assigns a 9% PPD rating. The insurance company cuts you a check for 6%. You are not giving up any rights by accepting the 6% payment. You still maintain the right to fight to get the additional 3%. A workers' compensation attorney can you do just that. 

    You should speak with an attorney to confirm the correct rating, whether you are at MMI and entitled to PPD or to fight to get you PPD benefits. Consultations are free.

  • What is the employer and insurer’s responsibility regarding Minnesota workers’ compensation and paying me benefits?

    An employer and insurer are obligated to provide the following:

    1. Workers' Compensation Insurance to their employee's. Only in limited circumstances do not have to. 

    2. Provide medical treatment for on the job injuries.

    3. Furnish wage loss for time off attributable to a work injury if the disability last longer than 3 days. 

    4. Complete a First Report of Injury.

    5. Not retaliated against the injury worker for having a work injury.

    Workers' Compensation claims can be difficult and confusing when it comes to understand what your rights. Contact our office today for a free consultation. 


Late Payments and Due Dates

  • When does the workers compensation insurance company have to pay my work comp benefits?

    Workers’ compensation insurers are required, under the law, to issue workers’ compensation checks in a timely fashion. What does this mean? Well this depends on the type of benefits you are receiving.

    Temporary Total Disability Benefits

    If you are off of work because of your injury you may be entitled to temporary total or TTD benefits. TTD would be owed within 14 days of notice to the employer that you were off due to the injury.

    If you are receiving temporary total disability benefits, the checks are required to be paid at the same interval which you would be receiving checks normally from your employer. In other words, if you get your check on a weekly basis then, temporary total disability benefits are to be paid to you on weekly basis.

    Temporary Partial Disability Benefits

    If you are receiving temporary partial disability benefits, the checks are to be issued ten days after you have sent your paystubs to the insurance company. If you are relying on the employer to send the checks, then it would be ten days from which the employer is sending the check to the insurance company. You may want to send the paystub on your own and not rely on the employer to send it to make sure that they are sent in a timely fashion.

    Permanent Partial Disability

    PPD benefits are not payable until you are no longer receiving TTD benefits and one of the following has occurred:

    1. A PPD rating from a doctor or IME;
    2. A medical report where an insurer can determine a "minimum ascertainable amount" for PPD.

    Often times an insurer will want to wait to pay PPD until you are at MMI. However, in some situations PPD may still be owed before then. 

    PPD is owed within 14 days after 1st medical report with a PPD rating. If there are multiple ratings a "minimum permanency" is to be paid within 30 days. 

    Medical Bills

    An insurance company is required to make payment within 30 days after receipt of a medical bill unless denied in writing. If denied, your private health insurer is required to pay for the treatment. 

    If a workers' compensation insurer is waiting to approve treatment, they have seven days to admit, deny, request additional information or request an adverse examination.

    Medical Mileage

    Medical mileage is typically issued 30 days after it has been sent to the insurance company. The reason that it is 30 days is that the insurance typically handle it like medical bills for which under the statute they have 30 days to issue payment.

    If checks have been sent to you untimely or late, a penalty may be assessed against the insurer. A penalty can be brought, at your request, by the Special Compensation Fund with the Department of Labor and Industry. A complaint can be made and an investigation with be undertaken to determine what, if any, checks have been issued late. The Department of Labor and Industry may then issue a penalty which would then be payable to you. In other circumstances, an attorney can also bring a claim for penalties based on the employer and insurer’s failure to issue checks in a timely fashion.

    If you are having issues with workers’ compensation providing benefits in a timely fashion, please feel free to contact the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at our office. 

  • My workers’ compensation checks are late, what can I do?

    Workers’ compensation insurance companies must follow the deadlines in Minnesota to avoid penalties and sanctions. They are required to issue payments and respond to requests in a timely fashion. 

    If you are receiving payments or late checks there are several options:

    1. Contact the adjuster: The adjuster may not know that the checks are late. In some cases, direct deposit could be used to make sure payments are issued timely.
    2. Contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry: A workers’ compensation specialist with the MN DOLI can help in contacting the adjuster and making sure they are complying with the law. In some situations they may direct you to obtain legal council if they are not able to get adequate responses from workers’ compensation. Also, a penalty can be brought, at your request, by the Special Compensation Fund with the Department of Labor and Industry. A complaint can be made and an investigation with be undertaken to determine what, if any, checks have been issued late. The Department of Labor and Industry may then issue a penalty which would then be payable to you. 
    3. Contact a work injury attorney: In some situations where the checks are continuously late or not even being paid at all, a work injury attorney can help by filing a claim for benefits along with penalties. 

    Our office offers free consultations and would be happy to discuss your legal options.

  • My workers compensation checks are not the correct amount, what can I do?

    Workers’ compensation insurance companies must follow Minnesota workers' compensation law when it comes to the correct amount of benefits. 

    If you believe your payments or checks are not the correct amount you have several options:

    1. Contact the adjuster: The adjuster may not know that the checks are not correct. Sometimes a phone call can help resolve the issue.
    2. Contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry: A workers’ compensation specialist with the MN DOLI can help in contacting the adjuster and making sure they are complying with the law. In some situations they may direct you to obtain legal council if they are not able to get adequate responses from workers’ compensation. 
    3. Contact a work injury attorney: A work injury attorney can help you determine whether you are getting the correct amount. If appropriate an attorney can file a Claim Petition to get you the correct amount of workers' compensation benefits. Sometimes the insurer disputes the AWW, duration of benefits, etc requiring the filing of a claim for benefits. 

    Our office offers free consultations and would be happy to discuss your legal options with you.

  • My workers’ compensation checks have stopped what are my rights?

    When the insurance company decides that they are going to stop paying you wage loss benefits they are required under the law to file what is called a Notice of Intention to Discontinue Benefits or NOID.  The form you receive provides various instructions on how to request a conference concerning your benefits.  Typically, you have a very short window, sometimes 12 days, in order to request a conference.  You want to make sure that you request a conference as the conference will provide you with an opportunity to dispute and contest the stopping of your wage loss benefits.  This type of conference is called a “.239” Conference.  If you fail in requesting a conference in a timely fashion, you may then be required to file a Claim Petition or an Objection to Discontinuance in order to get your benefits reinstated. After receiving a NOID it is important to talk with a lawyer. 

    Denied Workers’ Compensation

    The workers’ compensation insurer may discontinue your wage loss benefits for some of these reasons:

    • A doctor says you are able to return to work

    • Your employer offers you suitable light duty work

    • A doctor says you have reached maximum medical improvement

    • The insurance company determines you were injured somewhere other than work, and

    • The insurance company’s doctor says you had a pre-existing condition.

    If you have not received an NOID you may also contact the Office of Administrative Hearings to request a conference or contact the Department of Labor and Industry.  It may also be in your best interest to talk to a lawyer and discuss what your other options may be. 

    Some injured workers attend the .239 Conferences on their own, but in most cases it would be in the injured worker’s best interest to have representation to make the necessary arguments to the compensation judge in order to get the benefits reinstated.  We at Mottaz & Sisk offer free consultations for injured workers to discuss their legal options.  Because things move fairly quickly once an NOID has been filed it is important that if you wish to speak with an attorney that you do so within a reasonable timeframe.  Our office will work diligently to schedule a time to meet with you as promptly as possible.  And, if you do retain our office to represent you, we will then take the necessary steps to attempt to get your benefits reinstated. 

  • What is an NOID or Notice of Intention to Discontinue Workers' Compensation Benefits?

    When the insurance company decides that they are going to stop paying you wage loss benefits they are required under the law to file what is called a Notice of Intention to Discontinue Benefits or NOID.  The form you receive provides various instructions on how to request a conference concerning your benefits.  Typically, you have a very short window, sometimes 12 days, in order to request a conference.  You want to make sure that you request a conference as the conference will provide you with an opportunity to dispute and contest the stopping of your wage loss benefits.  This type of conference is called a “.239” Conference.  If you fail in requesting a conference in a timely fashion, you may then be required to file a Claim Petition or an Objection to Discontinuance in order to get your benefits reinstated. 

    The NOID must “set forth a statement of facts clearly indicating the reason for the action.” Copies of medical reports relied on by the employer must be attached to the notice. The NOID shall be sufficiently specific to convey clearly, without further inquiry, the basis upon which the party issuing the notice or statement is acting.” It must contain the “legal reason or reasons for the proposed discontinuance or reduction, stated in language which may be easily read and understood by a person of average intelligence and education, and in sufficient detail to inform the employee of the factual basis for the discontinuance or reduction,” along with copies of relevant medical reports.

    If you have not received an NOID you may also contact the Office of Administrative Hearings to request a conference or contact the Department of Labor and Industry.  It may also be in your best interest to talk to a lawyer and discuss what your other options may be. 

    Some injured workers do attend the .239 Conferences on their own, but in most cases it would be in the injured worker’s best interest to have representation to make the necessary arguments to the compensation judge in order to get the benefits reinstated.  We at Mottaz & Sisk offer free consultations for injured workers to discuss their legal options.  Because things move fairly quickly once an NOID has been filed it is important that if you wish to speak with an attorney that you do so within a reasonable timeframe.  Our office will work diligently to schedule a time to meet with you as promptly as possible.  And, if you do retain our office to represent you, we will then take the necessary steps to attempt to get your benefits reinstated. 

  • Workers comp has refused to pay for my surgery, what should I do?

    If workers compensation has refused to pay for surgery you have a right to pursue approval and payment of the surgery.  This can be done through a Medical Request or Claim Petition filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings. Our office and work injury attorneys can help you with your claim for surgery.

    After your provider has submitted a request for approval to the workers compensation insurer they either must admit, deny or request a  second opinion such as through an independent medical examination.  In the cases of surgery, they are obligated to have an independent medical examination "IME" within 45 days of the request for surgery. The insurer may wait to deny the claim until after independent examination. During this time between the surgery request and receipt of the IME you may have to wait to have the surgery. You can attempt to put the surgery under your own health insurance but in most cases the health insurer will want a "formal denial" If you are able to get approval through your private health insurer, depending on whether your attorney files a claim or if workers' compensation agrees to pay, your health insurer can seek reimbursement for payment. 

    So what do I do if I am not getting the surgery I need approved?

    In most cases, it may be beneficial for you to sit down with a lawyer to discuss your legal options and whether or not a claim would need to be filed to get the treatment approved.  There are, however, things that you can do on your own without the assistance of a lawyer to help you get the necessary treatment, including:

    • Make sure that your provider has submitted the appropriate request to the insurance company.

    • Contact the insurance company to confirm that they have the appropriate information about the surgery.

    • Determine whether or not an independent medical examination has been scheduled.  If an adjuster is dragging their feet in scheduling one, it may be in your best interest to contact the Department of Labor and Industry to assist in getting the examination scheduled so a determination can be made.  They can be reached on the Workers’ Compensation hotline.

    If any of the above is unsuccessful or if you have already been told that the treatment is denied, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in order to discuss your case.  The lawyer will need to gather all of the appropriate records to file a Medical Request or Claim Petition on your behalf.  The attorney will also need to make sure that the appropriate medical support is gathered, including an opinion as to why the recommended surgery is reasonable, necessary and causally related to the work injury.

  • What can I do if my medical bills are not being paid?

    If уоur medical bills are not being paid by the workers compensaiton insurer уоu dо have орtіоns, thе following: 

    • Cаll the іnѕurаnсе сlаіm'ѕ adjuster аnd аttеmрt to resolve the іѕѕuе with thеm; 

    • Dіѕсuѕѕ the рrоblеm wіth an Altеrnаtіvе Dіѕрutе Rеѕоlutіоn specialist at the Department оf Labor аnd Industry (651)-284-5005; or 

    • Request a hearing bу filing аn Emрlоуее'ѕ Claim Pеtіtіоn, Medical Request, Rehabilitation Request or Request an Administrative Conference (mаnу еmрlоуееѕ сhооѕе to have an аttоrnеу hеlр wіth preparing dосumеntѕ, mееtіng deadlines, аnd аrguіng thеіr case durіng thеѕе рrосееdіngѕ) 

    • Contact a our office. Denial of workers’ compensation is a serious matter, but it is not a cause for panic. Injured workers have the opportunity to pursue their cases or request payment of benefits if benefits are reduced, limited or denied. By learning more about the system and how to prepare for it, you can protect your rights and the rights of your family. A Minnesota injury attorney can help you navigate through the process. 

    We are experts wіth Mіnnеѕоtа'ѕ wоrkеrѕ' соmреnѕаtіоn lаwѕ and we provide a frее claim еvаluаtіоn оn thе ѕtrеngth аnd potential оf уоur claim. 

  • Can I sue the employer instead of using workers compensation?

    Workers’ compensation is considered an “exclusive remedy” with respect to work-related injuries unless a third-party contributed the injury. An injured worker may want to sue the employer for negligence but, negligence is not to be taken into account for work-related injuries whether on the employee or the employer’s behalf. Often times, workers' compensation is your only recourse.

    It is important to recognize whether a third-party may be responsible for the accident and injuries as you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against that party.  Often times, in the construction industry or if there is a property owner, you may be able to pursue a claim for common law damages such as pain and suffering.

    If you suspect that you have had a work-related injury that was caused by a third-party’s negligence, you may have more than just a workers’ compensation claim and you should contact a Minnesota work injury lawyer. A Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine what potential claims you may have

    Common personal injury claims in conjunction with a workers’ compensation case

    An injured worker may be able to bring a personal lawsuit in addition to a workers’ compensation claim under the following circumstances:

    Products liability — Sometimes an injured worker may have additional claims against a manufacturer of a product that may have caused the injury, such as it being unreasonably dangerous or deficient instructions or warnings on how to operate the equipment. There also may be additional claims if during the course of a workers’ compensation case there is further injury or insult done because of failed medical treatment, including surgery, prosthetic, etc.

    Third-party on an employer’s premises — At times, a third-party may enter into an employer’s premises and commit an act which injures the employee. For example, someone operating a skid loader and accidentally runs over an employee’s foot.  This may represent an injury by a third-party who does not have an employment relationship with the employer and it may be possible to pursue a personal injury claim against them.

    An injury occurring on someone else’s property — Sometimes traveling employees may have to perform job duties on different sites including at a client’s home or another property. These could include a delivery person, repairman, sales, etc.

    Intentional injuries — These types of injury are more difficult to prove as they do not extend to claims where there is merely negligence or acts with indifference, instead, it must be done with actual intent to cause harm. Often times, these are not called for but, if the injury was intentional, there may be an additional way in which to obtain benefits.

     It is important to stay empowered and know your rights under the law.  Mottaz & Sisk offers free no-hassle consultations to allow you an opportunity to be informed so you can make the right choices.


Time Limitations

  • What are the time limitations to file a Minnesota workers' compensation claim?

    In Minnesota, the amount of time that you have to file a workers' compensation claim depends on three factors:

    • Whether you have reported the injury;
    • Whether any benefits have been paid; and
    • Whether a First Report of Injury has been filed with the Department of Labor and Industry.

    You must always report your injury in a timely fashion. Failure to report your injury timely can be a bar to future benefits. 

    Assuming the injury has been reported and benefits have been paid in the past, then the injured worker would be able to bring a claim at any time during the life of the claim. This means that an injured worker can bring a claim as long as those benefits continue to remain open and have not been settled.

    Minnesota Workers Compensation Statute of Limitations 

    If no benefits have been paid, then the question turns as to whether or not a First Report of Injury has ever been filed with the Department of Labor and Industry. If a First Report of Injury has been filed, then the injured worker would have three years from the date of injury to bring a claim. If the claim is not brought within those three years, than the injured worker would be forever barred from bringing a claim. If a First Report of Injury has not been filed, then the injured worker would have six years from the date of injury in order to bring a claim.

    There is also a statute of limitations for an injured worker to bring a claim for retraining. A retraining claim can be made within 156 weeks or 208 weeks of combined benefits depending on your date of injury. If a claim has not been brought for retraining, even if benefits have been paid, the claim may be barred based on the statute of limitations.

    In cases of dependency benefits, the dependents or estate would have three years from the date of death in order to bring a claim.

    In some situations, such as occupational diseases or cumulative trauma injuries a claim can be lengthened depending on the facts of the case.

    It is important to contact a workers' compensation lawyer so that claims will not be barred by the statute of limitations. If you wish to discuss your case to determine whether or not benefits are available to you, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.

  • How long do I have to report a work injury?

    Unless an employer has actual notice of the injury, an injured worker must give notice within 180 days of its occurrence. Overall, the notice statute establishes a three-tiered approach:

    1. injuries occurring within 14 days are to be automatically compensated after notice is received;
    2. injuries reported after 30 days will give rise to compensation unless the employer can show prejudice; and
    3. injuries where notice is given after 30 days and before 180 days may give rise to compensation if the employee shows mistake, inadvertence, ignorance of fact or law – unless the employer shows prejudice by failure to receive the notice.

    In limited circumstances, late notice will be forgiven. However, it is much better to give prompt notice to the employer as soon as possible after the injury has occurred. This notice can be verbal, in writing or by email. The latter two modes are best – should a dispute over notice later arise.

    There are many reasons an injured worker fails to give timely notice to an employer. And the ultimate decision of whether to pursue a workers’ compensation claim against the employer rests with the injured worker. However, prudence dictates providing notice as soon as possible. Prompt notice protects the injured worker. By giving timely notice, the option to pursue a claim is left open in the future. Failure to give proper notice will prevent you from being able to make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits now or in the future. 

    It is best to discuss to always discuss reporting requirements with a work injury lawyer. Mottaz & Sisk offers free no hassle consultations. 

  • I had an injury a long time ago are my workers' compensation benefits still available?

    If you had a work injury in the past, your right to bring a workers' compensation claim against the employer and insurer remains alive and intact so long as none of the following has occurred:

    • Statute of limitations has run. If a claim was denied and no benefits paid, then a claim would need to be made within 3 years if a First Report of injury was filed with the Minnesota Dept of Labor and Industry. 6 years if a First Report of Injury was not filed. If any benefits were paid in the past then there would NOT be a Statute of Limitations issue. 

    • Settled your workers compensation case through a Stipulation for Settlement. This would have been signed by you and approved by a compensation judge. Note - acceptance of permanent partial disability is NOT A SETTLEMENT. 

    • A Compensation Judge determined your injury resolved. 

    In limited situations above, a Stipulation for Settlement can be vacated or set aside allowing a claim to be made for past, present and future benefits. 

    Even if your employer or insurance company is no longer in business, you still may have a right to workers' compensation benefits. This also includes if your employer did not have workers' compensation insurance. 

    If you have questions about an old injury or an injury that occurred sometime ago, it is important to speak with an experienced work injury attorney. The date of injury dictates the law that gets applied. An inexperienced attorney may not be knowledgeable about the correct benefits available to you. 

    Our office has been in practice since 1989. Our office has experienced attorneys who can provide you sound legal advice regarding your potential benefits. 


Medical Treatment

  • Who gets to pick my doctor after a work injury?

    Following a work injury, the injured worker generally possesses the right to pick the treating doctor.  It has long been the law that Minnesota employees are given great latitude both in choosing and changing physicians.  This choice can be limited, if the employer participates in a certified managed care plan.  If that is the case, the employee will be required to pick a physician within the list provided by the plan – unless a documented history of treatment before the injury with that doctor can be demonstrated.  Absent a certified plan, however, the employee has the right to choose the doctor who treats the injury.

    Injured workers should understand, that accepting a doctor suggested by the employer can result in that doctor becoming the treating physician.  Minnesota law indicates that a doctor who treats an employee two times for an injury becomes the “primary healthcare provider”.  The law further allows an employee to change this primary healthcare provider one time within the first 60 days after treatment begins – without first obtaining permission from the employer or insurer.  After 60 days, however, a change of primary physician must be approved by the employer or the workers’ compensation insurer – or if need be, the workers’ compensation court system.

    The choice of the primary healthcare provider can have long-lasting consequences for an injured worker.  Care should be taken by an injured worker, then, to choose a physician who is both qualified and competent to treat the injury.  An injured worker need not simply accept the physician foisted on them by the employer or insurer.

  • Can I treat with my own doctor after a work injury?

    You can treat with your own doctor. Under Minnesota workers' compensation law an injured worker as a right to choose their own doctor. Only in limited situations such as managed care programs can a workers' compensation insurer direct you to treat with a doctor or clinic. Otherwise, you have a right to choose your doctor. 

    The choice of the primary healthcare provider can have long-lasting consequences for you.  Care should be taken by you to choose a physician who is both qualified and competent to treat the injury. 

  • What medical treatment is allowed for a Minnesota work injury?

    The employer and insurer are responsible for payment of “reasonable and necessary” medical treatment, which will aid in curing or relieving the effects of the work injury. Covered treatments include hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic services, injection therapy, chronic pain management and many other forms of medical care. The right to receive these benefits may be impacted by the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Treatment Parameters depending on various factors including whether the injury is admitted or denied.

  • Can I switch doctors while treating for a work injury?

    Following an admitted injury it is very common for the employer to send the injured employee to "their" doctor. Typically, this is at a facility which deals frequently with injured workers. For many injured workers, although the doctor may be treating them, it is still not their doctor. In fact, they had no choice or even say as to who is treating them. As result, under Minnesota workers' compensation law an injured worker may change doctors within the first 60 days of medical treatment without the need for court approval. However, after the first 60 days it must be approved by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

    As a general rule, the court has given great latitude in choosing and changing physicians. Reasons that have been allowed have included:

    • Loss of confidence in a doctor's ability to effectively treat the injured worker;

    • Lack of improvement in the employee's condition; and

    • A breakdown in communication with the physician.

    Please note that a compensation judge shall not approve a request to change primary providers, where:

    1. a significant reason underlying the request is an attempt to block reasonable treatment or to avoid acting on the provider's opinion concerning the employee's ability to return to work.

    2. the change is to develop litigation strategy rather than to pursue appropriate diagnosis and treatment;

    3. the provider lacks the expertise to treat the employee for the injury;

    4. the travel distance to obtain treatment is an unnecessary expense and the same care is available at a more reasonable location;

    5. at the time of the employee's request, no further treatment is needed; or

    6. or another reason, the request is not in the best interest of the employee and the employer.

    If you are having difficulty changing physicians, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney to evaluate your options. The longer you wait to change physicians, the more difficult it may become for you to change doctors.

  • Am I entitled to reimbursement for medical mileage to my doctor?

    When an injured worker has a compensable work related injury, the employer and insurer are responsible for paying for any reasonable travel expenses incurred when receiving medical treatment including mileage, co-pays, parking, and, if necessary, lodging and meals. This is also true if an employer has the injured worker submit to an independent medical examination.

    See more here. 

  • Work comp stopped paying my medical bills, what can I do?

    The employer and insurer are responsible for all reasonable, necessary and causally related medical treatment.  This would include visits to your doctor, physical therapy, injections, chiropractic treatment, surgery, etc.  Now, there are limits to certain treatment based on the Minnesota Treatment Parameters which limit the types and duration of treatment that an injured worker can receive for admitted work-related injuries.  Because there are a variety of reasons that an employer and insurer may deny treatment, they are required under the law to provide a basis for their denial of the treatment.

    Insurance companies and employers may deny medical treatment for a variety of reasons including:

    • The treatment is not related to the work injury.

    • The treatment is outside of the allowed treatment parameters.

    • The chiropractic treatment is beyond the 12 weeks of allowed care without an allowed departure.

    • The treatment is not reasonable and/or necessary.

    These are just some of the reasons that an adjuster or claims representative may deny treatment.  They are required under the law within 14 days to either admit, deny or request a  second opinion such as through an independent medical examination.  In the cases of surgery, they are obligated to have an independent medical examination within 45 days of the request for surgery.

    So what do I do if I am not getting the treatment I need approved?

    In most cases, it may be beneficial for you to sit down with a lawyer to discuss your legal options and whether or not a claim would need to be filed to get the treatment approved.  There are, however, things that you can do on your own without the assistance of a lawyer to help you get the necessary treatment, including:

    • Make sure that your provider has submitted the appropriate forms or bills to the insurance company.

    • Contact the insurance company to confirm that they have the appropriate information from the medical provider.

    • Determine whether or not an independent medical examination has been scheduled.  If an adjuster is dragging their feet in scheduling one, it may be in your best interest to contact the Department of Labor and Industry to assist in getting the examination scheduled so a determination can be made.  They can be reached on the Workers’ Compensation hotline.

    If any of the above is unsuccessful or if you have already been told that the treatment is denied, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in order to discuss your case.  The lawyer will need to gather all of the appropriate documents including bills and medical records and file either a Medical Request or Claim Petition on your behalf.  The attorney will also need to make sure that the appropriate medical support is gathered, including an opinion as to why the recommended treatment is reasonable, necessary and causally related to the work injury.

    These can be frustrating cases as often times the denials occur at a pivotal point when treatment is necessary to get you back on your feet and doing the things you used to do.  An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer should be able to help you and guide you to make good informed decisions.


Rights at Work

  • Can the employer tell me not to report a work injury?

    An employer cannot tell you to not report an injury. In fact telling your employer is your only legal obligation when it comes to reporting an injury. You have no obligation to fill out a First Report of Injury – that is the employer’s and insurer’s responsibility. 

    If your employer tells you not to report an injury and refuses to take action on your injury you have a few options:

    Contact the Minnesota Department of Labor Industry. They can provide you the necessary workers’ compensation information. You can then attempt to contact the insurer and provide them the necessary information so benefits can be paid. 

    Contact a workers’ compensation attorney. In most situations if your employer is refusing to cooperate it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney about your legal options. A Claim Petition may need to be filed in order to get you workers’ compensation benefits. 

    In some cases, if the employer is refusing you the right to bring a claim you may have additional claims beyond just workers’ compensation. In Minnesota any person in any manner intentionally obstructing an employee seeking workers’ compensation benefits is liable in a civil action for damages. An experienced work injury attorney can help you determine whether you may have additional claims. 

  • Can the employer fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?

    Your employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is understood Minnesota is an employment “at will” state, which means the employer can fire any employee for any reason as long as that reason is not illegal. However, it is illegal under the law to fire an employee for making a workers compensation claim. If they do the employer could be responsible for 3 times the amount of damages in civil court.

    If you feel you have been retaliated against for bringing a workers compensation case, speak with one of our attorneys today. We can discuss with you the best course of action to take in order to get you the benefits you deserve.

  • Can the employer force me back to work after my work injury?

    After you sustained an injury, it is important that you obtain proper medical treatment and you provide your body an opportunity to heal.  It is your doctor that will give you restrictions and limitations in an effort to allow you time to heal from your injury.  Unfortunately, employers and insurers may try to rush you back to work too early and, you have a right to dispute it.

    If you have been taken off work or placed on restrictions, you are not required to go back to work against your doctor’s recommendations.  The insurance company may obtain an independent medical evaluation in an attempt to try to argue that you can go back to work either in a limited or full-duty capacity.  The employer and insurer will then attempt to discontinue your wage loss benefits if you fail to return to work as they have requested.  Under these circumstances, you have their ability to fight the discontinuance of benefits by requesting a conference.  A workers’ compensation lawyer can assist you in representing you at a conference to stop the insurance company from discontinuing your wage loss benefits.

    It is important to discuss with an attorney at any time that you have been offered employment as it can have a drastic effect on your wage loss benefits if you refuse employment.  It is important to make sure that your doctor or physician believes that work offered by the employer and insurer is not truly within your restrictions or limitations.  If the work is within your restrictions and limitations and your doctor believes that it is work that you can do, then it is possible that the work could be suitable gainful employment.  In that case, if you did refuse the work, the employer and insurer would be allowed to discontinue your benefits.  Consequently, it is very important that you have discussed these various scenarios with an attorney so you can make an informed decision.

  • Does the employer have to take me back to work after my injury?

    Often times it is in your employer’s best interest to keep your job  available. However, in some cases an employer may not be willing to hold your job. It is important to know what your options are and what you should be doing in order to protect your rights.

    In Minnesota most employees are  “at will.” That means, in the absence of an employment contract, an employer can discharge an employee at any time for any legal reason, with or without notice. However there are certain protections that an injured employee has, including your employer  cannot refuse to offer continued employment to you when employment is available within your physical limitations. If an employer fails to offer you employment without good cause  they may be responsible to pay you one year’s worth of wages in addition to work comp benefits.

    Additionally, the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (the “FMLA”) provides eligible employees with the right to take unpaid leave in connection with a work related injury. The FMLA applies to any employer employing 50 or more employees within 75 miles of a work site for 20 or more weeks in the current or prior calendar year.

    To be eligible for FMLA leave, you must have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months (the months need not be consecutive) and must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period preceding the leave. If you are eligible you may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period in conjunction with the work related injury.

    During the FMLA  leave an employer is required to continue your group health coverage during the period of FMLA leave as if  you had continued to work, although you must continue to pay your share of the group health plan premiums in order to retain coverage during the leave.

    At the end of the leave, you must be restored to your prior position or to a position with equivalent benefits.

  • My doctor gave me restrictions and the employer cannot accommodate those restrictions and bring me back to work. What are my options?

     Under Minnesota law there is no absolute right for an employer to provide light-duty work. However, the law prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against an injured worker who has suffered an injury or filed for workers compensation benefits.

    Employers are required to make reasonable efforts to find acceptable positions for injured workers. This does not mean that the employer has to change their business practices. The question is whether the employer can make the necessary modifications without impacting the core duties of the employees job, the expense of those modifications and the difficulties that maybe caused by having to reassign job duties to other workers.

    If the employer is unable to make a reasonable accommodation, you may be entitled to wage loss benefits. The type of benefits that may be available to you depends on where you are at in your case. Moreover, you may be entitled to rehabilitation services to help assist you in finding alternative employment.

    If you find yourself in this type of situation it is important to contact a lawyer to go over your various options. You will want to discuss what type of benefits are available to you including wage loss, rehabilitation, retraining and medical.

  • Can I take a different job after my work injury?

    After a  work injury you are not required to stay with the same employer in order to receive workers’ compensation.  As such you can take a different job after a work injury but it is important to understand the risks associated with taking a different job if any depending on your situation. 

    Situations you will want to be cautious about before taking another job is any of the following:

    1. The job you are accepting pays less;

    2. The job you are accepting has less potential for advancement; 

    3. The employer has work available for you with your restrictions. 

    In cases of job offers or taking different employment it is important to discuss your situation with an attorney. An experienced workers compensation attorney can discuss with you the pros and cons of accepting a different job. 

  • What is FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) and how will it affect my workers' compensation benefits?

    To be eligible for FMLA leave, you must have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months (the months need not be consecutive) and must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period preceding the leave. If you are eligible you may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period in conjunction with the work related injury.

    During the FMLA  leave an employer is required to continue your group health coverage during the period of FMLA leave as if  you had continued to work, although you must continue to pay your share of the group health plan premiums in order to retain coverage during the leave.

    At the end of the leave, you must be restored to your prior position or to a position with equivalent benefits.

    Taking FMLA will not affect your entitlement to workers' compensation benefits. Some employers may require that you take leave even if you are on workers' compensation. 


Settling Your Workers' Compensation Case

  • Should I settle my workers' compensation case?

    After a work-related injury, there may come a time when either the insurance or yourself wants to be done with your workers' compensation case. In this situation, a settlement could be reached whereby certain benefits are settled or closed out in exchange for a cash settlement or payment of certain benefits. The decision to settle can never be an easy decision to make. Many different factors need to be weighed into your decision. It is imperative that all of your options have been discussed so that an informed decision can be made.  When asking, "Should I settle my workers' compensation case", you should consider the following.

    Click here for more information on settling your workers compensation case

  • What types of workers compensation settlements are there?

    When it comes time to negotiate a settlement for your case, a settlement can be reached in a variety of ways. Deciding on settling can be difficult or it can even be an easy choice depending on your case. You should always consult with an attorney before trying to negotiate a settlement on your own or even settling your case.   Each individual case is different than the next and needs to be evaluated on the facts and merits. Therefore, a settlement may not be the same as a relative, friend or acquaintance. Some of the types of workers compensation settlements you may encounter are “to-date” or a “Full, Final and Complete” settlement.

    Click here for more on types of workers' compensation settlements

  • Can I vacate or reopen my workers' compensation case after settling?

    Most settlements in workers' compensation cases are final. However, there may be situations where circumstances have changed since the settlement. Fortunately, the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law does allow for an injured employee to re-open, set aside, or vacate a prior agreement under limited circumstances. The primary purpose of allowing a vacation of an award is to assure compensation proportionate to the degree and duration of disability. In order to vacate a Stipulation a Petition to Vacate to Set Aside an Award be filed with the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals.

    Click here for more on reopening your workers compensation case. 

The insurance company knows your rights, do you?  Talk to a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer at Mottaz & Sisk today by calling (855) 354-2667.  Become empowered and know your rights. It is a free consultation and there is no obligation to retain our services.  You can discuss your case with a lawyer and obtain the advice you need to maximize your recovery.