While accidents on the job are unfortunate, they do happen, leaving you in need of protection. From construction sites to the service industry, there is a risk of getting injured. There are various work-related injuries that negatively impact the health and wellness of workers. Thankfully, Minnesota workers’ compensation is a mandatory insurance program that nearly all employers have to provide.
You may be asking yourself, “How does workers’ compensation work in Minnesota?” In this article, you will learn more about the workers’ compensation program, how to file an insurance claim, and what to do if it’s denied. As always, make sure to consult a workplace injury attorney for more information.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a mandatory insurance program that every company must have to protect the financial toll of workers injured on the job. While some injuries are acute, meaning they appear from a specific incident, others can develop over time. Let’s take a closer at the two major types of work-related injuries:
- Acute Injuries: Slips, falls, equipment accidents
- Chronic Injuries: Carpal tunnel, tendonitis, muscle strains
A great comparison to explain the two is slipping and breaking a wrist vs. the development of carpal tunnel from years of typing. One happens abruptly, while the other is the direct result of repetitive use. Since both occur from working, they might be protected under workers’ compensation in Minnesota.
Outside of acute or chronic injuries, workers’ compensation even treats occupational diseases, like those that occur from exposure to asbestosis.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Minnesota law requires employers to provide essential workers’ compensation insurance. Unfortunately, work-related injuries can leave employees severely injured for a short or long time. Under Minnesota law, companies need to cover those disabilities accrued on the job. See the different types of disabilities covered below:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
This program goes beyond only covering severe work-related disabilities. There are several benefits available through workers’ compensation to help protect various medical and necessary extra expenses directly related to a work injury. In fact, they offer additional services to provide financial relief to individuals and families affected by work-related injuries. Other significant benefits include:
- Lost wages
- Home-adjustment aid
- Medical benefits
- Dependent and survivor’s benefits
- Vocational rehab
- Compensation for loss of life and limb
Learn more about what types of benefits are available to you and your fellow Minnesotans.
Applying for Workers’ Compensation in Minnesota
Applying for workers’ compensation requires several official steps, from filing certain forms to being assigned a case adjuster to deliberate your insurance claim. While this process may seem a bit tedious, it’s essential to follow it to a “t” to ensure your claim is justly analyzed. Let’s take a closer look at some initial steps to follow if you think you’ve been injured on the job.
Remember, always seek emergency medical treatment right away if needed.
1. Assess the Situation
Once you experience an injury at your job, it’s essential to notify your employer and seek medical attention right away. Even if it may seem like a minor injury, it could have lingering problems if not treated promptly. This is why the best practice is to inform a superior ASAP to document the incident for legal purposes later. Reporting your injury as soon as possible is crucial so that they can file a report to their insurance company. Remember, they are required to report injuries, and you are well within your rights to ask them to do so.
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation, you’ll need to report your injury within specific legal timeframes. This is why it’s crucial to have a written report to back up your injury. According to the State of Minnesota’s workers’ compensation program, you need to report your injury or occupational disease to your employer within 14 days of injury. Occupational diseases are harder to report because they appear over time. The day you become aware of an occupational disease marks the start date of your workplace injury.
2. Fill Out Legal Forms and Start a Claim
Your employer will then need to fill out a legal report called a First Report of Injury (FROI) form. It needs to be submitted to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company to continue to the next step.
Your company is also legally required to provide you with the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation System Employee Information Sheet. This form will provide essential resources, workers’ rights information, and numbers to call for assistance.
3. Connect With an Insurance Adjuster
Within ten days of receiving the report, the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry (MDLI) will reach out to you to process your case. You will then be assigned a claim number and an insurance adjuster who will gather the necessary information to deny or grant your claim. At this point, it’s crucial to have as much documentation as possible surrounding your work-related incident to help strengthen your insurance claim.
Information an insurance adjuster will ask for is as follows:
- Summary of work incident
- Number of missed days at work
- A medical report (if applicable)
- Average weekly wage
- Compensation rate
- Date of benefits initiated
- Any other pertinent information
After gathering all necessary information related to your case, the insurance adjuster will then either deny or accept your claim.
4. Don’t Forget Your Appeal Rights
If your insurance claim is denied, you are still able to file a formal appeal. The MDLI recognizes your appeal petition within three years of your initial claim denial. Once you make your appeal, you will be assigned a compensation judge through the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings. Consulting a workers’ compensation attorney is an excellent way to prepare for the appeal.
Not only do attorneys help steer you in the right direction, but they also inform you of what pertinent information to gather and answer any questions you may have. Having an advocate during this process will make a world of difference.
Exclusions to Minnesota Workers’ Compensation
While workers’ compensation is available to most workers throughout the state, some jobs are unfortunately not covered. Certain exemptions to workers’ compensation include:
- Independent contractors
- State and federal employees
- Temp employees
- Certain farming, interstate trucking, and railroad workers
- Additional specific exemptions
While some jobs are exempt from workers’ compensation, all employees need to understand their rights. If you have more questions, consult a workers’ compensation attorney for legal advice.
Understanding How Workers’ Compensation Works in Minnesota
Even with the best preventative measures, work-related accidents still happen. Luckily, the State of Minnesota’s process is relatively straightforward, and the benefits cover a range of disabilities, medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Regardless of the degree of severity, you have the right to apply for Minnesota workers’ compensation through your employer. If, for some reason, your claim is denied or you are told you’re not eligible, it’s vital to seek out legal advice.
At any point after receiving your workplace injury, you’re encouraged to reach out to a trusted workers’ compensation attorney. At Mottaz & Sisk, we understand how tedious the claim process can be, which is why our attorneys specialize in helping clients navigate their cases. Since 1989 we’ve proudly fought for Minnesotan workers’ compensation benefits. Contact our team today to set up your free case evaluation.