One of the first things we have to determine when an employee comes into our office is whether the claimed injury is work related.  As such, we need to look at what a compensable “personal injury” would be under the law.

Minnesota Statute § 176.011 defines a personal injury as follows:

“Personal injury” means injury arising out of and in the course of employment and includes personal injury caused by occupational disease; but does not cover an employee except while engaged in, on, or about the premises where the employee’s services require the employee’s presence as a part of that service at the time of the injury and during the hours of that service. Where the employer regularly furnished transportation to employees to and from the place of employment, those employees are subject to this chapter while being so transported.

As you can see, the statute does very little to provide a clear definition of what injuries would be compensable.  Despite the lack of a definition that outlines each injury, the court has recognized a variety of compensable, work-related injuries, including:

  • Specific or direct trauma injuries;
  • Occupational diseases or exposure (i.e., Asbestosis, black lung disease, etc.);
  • Aggravation or acceleration of a pre-existing condition;
  • Repetitive or cumulative trauma injury, also known as a “Gillette injury”;
  • A physical injury resulting from mental stress (i.e., heart attack).

The above list does not encompass every type of injury.  An attorney would be best suited to advise you on the law and whether the injury would be compensable. Although you believe you have a work related injury, the employer and insurer may argue to the contrary.  If you believe you have a work-related injury, it may be in your best interest to seek legal advice.