Workers Compensation Notice of Injury

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WORKERS COMP – NOTICE OF INJURY In two of our recent Minnesota workers’ compensation cases, we successfully argued that although no written or verbal workers compensation notice of injury was given to the employer by the injured employee the employer still nonetheless had actual notice of the injury.  An employer has actual notice of an employee’s work injury if a supervisor or managerial employee witnessed the injury, or may otherwise be aware of the injury.  By showing the employer had actual notice of our injured clients’ work injury, we were able to obtain wage loss and medical benefits for our clients as well as significant settlements for each of them. The text of the workers’ compensation notice requirement statute reads: 176.141 NOTICE OF INJURY. Unless the employer has actual knowledge of the occurrence of the injury or unless the injured worker, or a dependent or someone in behalf of either, gives written notice thereof to the employer within 14 days after the occurrence of the injury, then no compensation shall be due until the notice is given or knowledge obtained. If the notice is given or the knowledge obtained within 30 days from the occurrence of the injury, no want, failure, or inaccuracy of a notice shall be a bar to obtaining compensation unless the employer shows prejudice by such want, defect, or inaccuracy, and then only to the extent of the prejudice. If the notice is given or the knowledge obtained within 180 days, and if the employee or other beneficiary shows that failure to give prior notice was due to the employee’s or beneficiary’s mistake, inadvertence, ignorance of fact or law, or inability, or to the fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit of the employer or agent, then compensation may be allowed, unless the employer shows prejudice by failure to receive the notice, in which case the amount of compensation shall be reduced by a sum which fairly represents the prejudice shown. Unless knowledge is obtained or written notice given within 180 days after the occurrence of the injury no compensation shall be allowed, except that an employee who is unable, because of mental or physical incapacity, to give notice to the employer within 180 days from the injury shall give the prescribed notice within 180 days from the time the incapacity ceases. THE STATUTE CREATES THREE DIFFERENT TIME PERIODS FOR WHEN WORKERS COMPENSATION NOTICE OF INJURY MUST BE GIVEN:  14 DAYS, 30 DAYS, AND 180 DAYS. Under the 14 day workers compensation notice requirement, if the employee delays providing notice for up to 14 days after an injury, the employer has no responsibility to pay compensation until notice is received. If the injured employee waits more than 14 days but provides workers compensation notice of injury within 30 days of the work injury, the late notice may impact the amount of compensation.  The statute does not specify what the penalty could be; it merely says “may affect the amount of compensation.” THERE IS A HARSHER PENALTY IF AN EMPLOYEE FAILS TO PROVIDE PROPER WORKERS COMPENSATION NOTICE WITHIN 180 DAYS. If notice of injury is given after 180 days, no compensation shall be allowed except in those situations where the employee is unable, due to mental or physical incapacity, to give notice, or where the employer has engaged in fraud, misrepresentation or deceit. In our recent cases, the employers argued that the workers compensation notice of injury was not given within the 180 days of the date of the work injury.  After engaging in lengthy discovery and depositions with the clients’ employers, Minnesota work comp attorney Josh Stokka was able to show that our clients’ employers had actual notice of our clients’ work injuries even if no written or verbal workers compensation notice of injury was given by the client. If you have been injured at work, it is important to give formal workers compensation notice of injury right away to avoid some of the above-mentioned penalties. However, sometimes employers will pressure employees into not filing a claim and try to claim they never received workers compensation notice of injury after the notice period runs.  In these types of situations, it is important to obtain evidence to present to a judge. HIRE LAKEVILLE’S BEST WORK COMP LAYWERS Contact our Lakeville work comp attorneys today if you or someone you know has suffered a recent work injury.  Our St. Paul work comp lawyers will review the facts of your case and determine the best course of action.

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The Four Types of Work Comp Wage Loss Benefits

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TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY (TTD) The first potential work comp wage loss benefit is Temporary Total Disability.  This is explained under Minnesota Statute section 176.101, subd. 1.  Basically, an employee is entitled to this benefit if their doctor has indicated that they are unable to work because of the work injury, or, although they are capable of working with some physical restrictions, their employer is not willing to accommodate those restrictions (if this is the case, the employee must conduct a diligent job search).   If one of these conditions exists, and the employee has not reached 90 days post MMI, the Employee will be entitled to 2/3 of his average weekly wage subject to a maximum cited in the statute above.  This is a basic summary of the benefit. There are many other defenses an insurer can make to deny an employee this benefit.  The maximum number of weeks an employee can receive this benefit is 130 (104 for injuries prior to Oct 2013). PARTIAL DISABILITY BENEFITS The second type of work comp wage loss benefit is called temporary partial disability benefits.  This benefit is formalized in subd 2 of the same statute.  An employee is entitled to this benefit if an employee is earning less than their average weekly wage, and has physical restrictions on his or her ability to work because of the work related injury.  The maximum number of weeks an employee can receive this benefit is 225.  Again, this is generally how this benefit works.  The case law regarding all these benefits is extensive. PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY (PPD) The third type of work comp wage loss benefit is permanent partial disability.  This is cited in subd. 3 of Minnesota Statute 176.101.  This benefit provides a percentage for a specific injury to a body part.  I have previously detailed how this benefit is calculated. PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY (PTD) Permanent total disability benefits (PTD) is the fourth type of work comp wage loss benefit.  Like TTD benefits, entitlement to PTD benefits is determined by the Minnesota workers’ compensation law in effect on the date of injury.  Prior to October 1, 1992 permanent total disability was defined as:  “The total and permanent loss of the sight of both eyes, the loss of both arms at the shoulder, the loss of both legs so close to the hips that no effective artificial members can be used, complete and permanent paralysis, total and permanent loss of mental faculties, or any other injury which totally incapacitates the employee from working in an occupation which brings the employee an income constitutes total disability.” In 1992 the law was amended to state:  “totally and permanently incapacitated means that the employee’s physical disability, in combination with the employee’s age, education, training and experience, causes the employee to be unable to secure anything more than sporadic employment resulting in an insubstantial income.” In 1995 the law was amended again to include certain thresholds for the medical/vocational test.  In order to be entitled to PPD work comp benefits for medical/vocational test, an injured employee must meet one of the following thresholds: Employee has at least a 17 permanent partial disability rating; or The employee has a permanent partial disability rating of the whole body of at least 15 percent and the employee is at least 50 years old at the time of injury; or The employee has a permanent partial disability rating of the whole body of at least 13 percent and the employee is at least 55 years old at the time of the injury, and has not completed grade 12 or obtained a GED certificate. FREE CONSULTATIONS This is generally how these work comp wage loss benefits operate.  However, as stated before, the case law in these areas is extensive.  If you believe that you are entitled to one of the benefits, and are not receiving it, contact our Minnesota work comp lawyer today for a free consultation at 651-222-6603.

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Workplace Assaults & Work Comp

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Co-workers don’t always get along.  Sometimes they fight.  Sometimes they get injured.   If they do get injured, the issue becomes whether the injury is covered by workers’ compensation insurance.  This issue can have major implications because workers’ compensation insurance covers wage loss, medical expenses, and compensates for permanent injuries. Minnesota Statute 176.011, subd. 16, provides: injury arising out of and in the course of employment…shall not include an injury caused by an act of a third person or fellow employee because of personal reasons and not directed against the employee as an employee, or because of the employment. Determining Whether Workplace Assaults Are Covered Under Minnesota Work Comp This basically boils down to whether the employee can show that the injury caused by the third person was intentional.   If the injury was caused by an intentional workplace assault, the next step is to determine if the workplace assault was motivated by the fact that the employee was an employee.   If the injury was caused as a result of a workplace assault that occurred for personal reasons, any loss will not be covered by Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance. Minnesota has developed a test for determining whether injuries suffered from a workplace assault are covered under work comp: Injuries are not covered under work comp if the assailant was motivated by personal animosity towards the victim arising from circumstances wholly unconnected to the employment. Injuries are covered under work comp if the workplace assault was motivated solely out of the activity of the victim as an employee. In the middle ground are cases where the workplace assault was directed against the victim neither “as an employee” nor for “reasons personal to him.”  These types of injuries are typically covered by Minnesota work comp. Consider Hiring A Work Comp Lawyer If You Suffered A Workplace Assault You may be entitled to a number of different types of work comp benefits if you suffered injuries in a workplace assault.   The video below explains why you should consider hiring an attorney for injuries sustained in a workplace assault.

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