What Types of Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Minnesota?

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Types of Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Minnesota

If you have suffered an injury while working in Minnesota, you may be wondering if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation provides insurance coverage for employees who get hurt on the job. This no-fault system pays for medical treatment and offers partial wage replacement if you miss time from work.

There are specific rules about what types of injuries are eligible under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system. Keep reading to learn more about what injuries are typically covered and how severe they need to be to qualify for benefits.

At Mottaz & Sisk Injury and Work Compensation Lawyers we have years of knowledge and industry experience. Call us at 763-421-8226 today for your free consultation.

Physical Injuries

The most obvious types of injuries covered by workers’ comp in Minnesota are physical injuries sustained while performing job duties. This includes wounds, contusions, broken bones, sprains, strains, and repetitive stress injuries.

For example, if you hurt your back moving heavy boxes or trip and break your wrist while walking between buildings for a work meeting, these would likely be compensable workers’ comp claims.

The injury does not necessarily have to happen from one specific accident either. Repetitive stress from typing all day in an office or cumulative trauma from heavy lifting over time can also lead to eligible workers’ comp injuries in MN.


How Severe Does a Physical Injury Need to Be?

The physical injury needs to be more than just a minor scratch or sore muscle to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. There is no specific legal threshold, but in general the injury should:

  • Require medical treatment beyond just first aid

  • Cause you to miss time from work beyond the day it occurred

  • Result in permanent physical damage or impairment

So cuts and bruises that just need bandages and rest may not meet the severity needed. However, injuries requiring stitches, casts, or ongoing physical therapy would likely meet the criteria.

Occupational Illnesses

Beyond physical injuries from accidents, workers’ compensation in Minnesota also covers occupational illnesses in many cases. These are diseases or conditions caused by workplace hazards and dangers.

Common work-related illnesses covered by workers’ comp include:

  • Lung disease from asbestos, coal dust, or other airborne hazards

  • Hearing loss from excessive noise

  • Skin diseases from repeated chemical exposure

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive computer work

  • Mental illness like anxiety or depression caused by workplace trauma or harassment

Like with physical injuries, the occupational illness needs to be primarily caused by work activities, rather than other factors, to receive workers’ comp benefits.

Mental Stress Injuries

Mental stress injuries resulting from work trauma are also eligible for workers’ compensation in some cases. For example, a worker who develops PTSD after witnessing a violent robbery at work could potentially file a workers’ comp claim.

However, Minnesota does have stricter rules around mental stress injuries compared to physical injuries. The mental injury must be clearly caused by an “out-of-the-ordinary” traumatic event or severe work-related stress. Just feeling generally overworked or unhappy at your job is typically not enough to qualify. It is important to consult a workers comp attorney in Minnesota before filing a claim. 

Injuries During Business Travel

Another situation covered under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system is injuries that happen while traveling for work. For instance, if you get in a car accident while commuting to a worksite or slip and fall in your hotel room during an out-of-town conference, these may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits.

Key factors are whether the travel was mandated by your employer and done for work purposes. Injuries during normal commutes to your regular workplace are not covered.

What Isn’t Covered?

While workers’ compensation has broad coverage, there are some circumstances that would likely disqualify an injury claim:

  • You were intoxicated or impaired due to alcohol or drugs at the time of injury

  • You were participating in recreational activities outside your normal job duties when injured

  • You intentionally injured yourself or it resulted from horseplay around

  • The injury happened while you were committing a crime

It also must be documented with medical records. You can’t simply say you hurt your back at work without doctor visits to substantiate the condition and treatment.


Even if your actions partially contributed to the injury, you can still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Minnesota. Fault does not matter since it is a no-fault system.

Does workers’ comp cover pre-existing conditions aggravated by work?

Maybe. If a workplace accident significantly worsens or accelerates a pre-existing condition, it may be compensable. However, you can’t get benefits solely because your normal health condition naturally progressed.

It depends. Heart attacks are not automatically assumed to be work-related. You would need to show unusual work stress or exertion clearly caused the heart attack for it to be covered.
Yes. Injuries caused by unsafe workplace conditions, defective machinery, lack of proper safety gear, etc. are eligible for workers’ compensation. However, you may have additional legal recourse beyond just workers’ comp in these situations.
You can request mediation services and if that fails, request a hearing with a workers’ compensation judge. It is advisable to consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney to handle a denied claim.

Choosing Your Workers Comp Lawyer

Overall, Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system covers most physical injuries, occupational illnesses, and mental stress injuries causally related to working conditions and job duties. While the injury must meet a severity threshold and not result from misconduct, workers’ comp protection is fairly broad. Connect with an experienced Minnesota workers’ comp attorney if you have suffered any type of workplace injury to evaluate your options.

Mottaz & Sisk Injury and Work Compensation Lawyers has 20+ experience dealing with worker’s compensation matters. Please call us at 763-421-8226 for a free consultation if you have experienced a work related injury.