If you are injured in your workplace in Minnesota, you are most likely covered by workers’ compensation. Typically, this means you cannot sue for the injury you suffered.
However, you can sometimes sue if a party other than your employer or someone working for them caused the injury.
Third-party lawsuits for injured workers in Minnesota may result in higher recovery than workers’ compensation alone.
At Arechigo & Stokka, we have a long history of fighting to get our clients their workers’ compensation benefits.
If a third party injured you, we can help you decide whether to file a third-party lawsuit for workers’ compensation coverage alongside or instead of a workers’ compensation claim.
When you’re injured on the job in Minnesota, you should seek any necessary medical treatment and report the injury to your employer as soon as practicable.
Ensure you inform your doctor your injury is work-related, so they can complete a Report of Work Ability form.
Your employer must file a First Report of Injury (FROI) form with their insurer within ten days of any injury-related missed work time. The insurer will either accept or deny the claim.
When the insurer accepts the claim, the worker can receive:
- Medical benefits,
- Rehabilitation benefits, and
- Wage-loss and monetary benefits.
The employer must provide “reasonable and necessary” psychological, chiropractic, podiatric, surgical, and hospital treatment.
You can also request rehabilitation if you need help preparing to return to work and your employer cannot offer work suitable to your work restrictions.
If you can work, you subtract your current wages from that two-thirds number.
Third-Party Workers’ Compensation Claims
Third-party lawsuits for injured workers in Minnesota fall under a unique statutory scheme that may allow you to sue a third party while also pursuing a workers’ compensation claim.
If you do not sue the third party, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer may choose to sue the third party based on your claim.
Pursuing Only One Remedy
If the third party works with your employer in a “common enterprise” or to accomplish the employer’s same purposes, you can typically only sue the third party or file for workers’ compensation, not both.
Pursuing Both Remedies
If the third party does not work with your employer, you can pursue workers’ compensation benefits and simultaneously sue the third party. In that case, you are entitled to recover damages for your injury.
How long a third-party lawsuit takes to reach trial or a settlement depends on many factors, especially the strength of your evidence. Parties may settle in a few months, or you may go to court and prove your case after a year or more.
You can recover from the third party unless you were more than 50% at fault for your injuries. If you were 50% or less at fault, your recovery can be reduced by any percentage of fault allocated to you.
When you collect an award in court, the third party pays you for all your damages, even if your employer was partially at fault. The third party can file a claim against the employer for contribution in some cases.
Damages awards and third-party lawsuit settlement amounts are both reduced before you collect. After subtracting attorney fees and any burial expenses, you are entitled to at least one-third of the remaining amount.
If your employer or their workers’ compensation carrier has paid you benefits, then they receive reimbursement from the remaining benefits based on a formula outlined in the subrogation statute. Any remaining balance is paid to you.
A St. Paul, Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at Arechigo & Stokka Can Help
If you were injured at work and the injury is partially the fault of a third party, your options can be confusing.
Our attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka have decades of experience and have handled hundreds of cases.
We can help you figure out the best way to recover compensation for your injuries, whether that means filing a workers’ compensation claim, suing a third party, or both. Contact us today.
Josh has been representing injured workers for over 10 years. Josh was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, and attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology. Mr. Stokka alson received his law degree from the Hamline University School of Law. During law school, Josh clerked at a Minnesota law firm specializing in personal injury and workers’ compensation. Prior to practicing in the area of workers’ compensation, Josh clerked for a judge in the 7th Judicial District in Minnesota. This valuable experience gave him insight into how judges think, do their jobs behind the scene, and how to frame a case in order to obtain a favorable result. Now, he focuses 100% of his practice on defending injured workers in Minnesota.