Suffering an injury at work can be emotionally, physically, and financially stressful. Workers’ compensation is a crucial safety net that supports employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses.
If you’ve been injured at work, you may be wondering, can I receive workers’ compensation benefits if the injury was partially my fault?
The answer is yes. In Minnesota, injured workers are generally entitled to benefits regardless of who is at fault for the injury.
However, there are situations where an employee’s actions may impact their eligibility for benefits. Navigating the workers’ compensation system is complicated, but an experienced attorney can help. Here, we’ll explore the no-fault workers’ compensation system and who is eligible for benefits. Contact us now.
What Is No-Fault Workers’ Compensation?
Minnesota follows a no-fault workers’ compensation system, meaning employees are generally entitled to benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses, regardless of whether the injury was their fault.
Because it is a no-fault system, the employee doesn’t need to prove negligence on the part of their employer to establish liability, and the employer cannot use the employee’s negligence as a defense to the claim.
Unless specifically exempted, all employers must have workers’ compensation insurance or become self-insured.
Are There Exceptions to the Requirement That Employers Must Pay Workers’ Compensation?
There are exceptions where an employer may be able to avoid paying benefits. These exceptions include when:
- The employee’s injury is intentionally self-inflicted;
- The intoxication of the employee is the proximate cause of the injury;
- The employee doesn’t notify the employer of the injury within the timeframe required by state law; or
- The injury is not work-related.
If you fall under one of these exceptions, your employer will likely attempt to deny paying workers’ compensation benefits.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation benefits eligibility generally extends to most employees, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers. To qualify for benefits, you must:
1. Sustain a personal injury or illness;
2. The personal injury or illness must arise out of the employment; and
3. The personal injury or illness must occur during the employment. Some exceptions, such as certain agricultural workers or independent contractors who are not classified as employees, may apply.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
To begin a claim, you must report your injury to your employer within 30 days. If you fail to report within this timeframe, you could lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
Once you report your injury, your employer will complete a First Report of Injury form. Be sure to give your employer accurate and thorough information on how you were injured, where the injury occurred, and the injuries you sustained.
After you have provided all the necessary information, your employer’s insurance company will decide on your claim.
If the insurer denies your claim, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately to protect your rights.
What Benefits Can I Receive?
In Minnesota, workers’ compensation benefits may include wage replacement, medical expenses, and vocational rehabilitation.
There are several types of wage-loss or monetary benefits available to employees, including:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD). An insurer will pay TTD benefits if you cannot work due to a work injury or you cannot return to work because your employer cannot accommodate the work
- restrictions from your doctor. The TTD rate is two-thirds of your gross weekly wage at the time of the injury, subject to maximum and minimums.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD). TPD benefits are a partial wage loss compensation paid if you are back at work but earning less than you did before the date of injury. The rate of TPD benefits is two-thirds of the difference between the pre-injury wage and your current earning ability.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD). Insurers pay PTD benefits when your workplace injury prevents you from securing more than sporadic employment, resulting in insubstantial income. The rate payable for PTD is two-thirds of your gross weekly wage at the time of the injury.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD). PPD benefits compensate you for the loss of permanent use of a specific body part. These benefits are paid according to a compensation schedule established by the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).
- Dependency Rights. Dependency rights may be due to the surviving dependents of an employee who dies because of a work-related accident or illness.
Employees are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical treatment that will aid in curing or relieving the effects of the work injury. This may include hospital, surgical, psychological, chiropractic, and podiatric treatment.
Vocational rehabilitation benefits assist employees in returning to work if they cannot perform their previous job duties due to injury. Services may include on-the-job training, formal retraining, or direct job placement.
A Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) can help you modify job duties to fit your abilities, train for a new job, or find work with a different employer.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
In Minnesota, workers’ compensation benefits are typically available to employees injured on the job, regardless of fault. However, there are exceptions and nuances to consider.
Understanding your rights and responsibilities in the workers’ compensation system is essential to ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve after a work-related injury or illness.
Arechigo & Stokka is a boutique law firm that has handled hundreds of cases. Attorney Joshua R. Stokka has over two decades of experience helping clients with workers’ compensation cases and prides himself on personally handling every aspect of the case. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Are employers liable for injuries to employees even if the employees are at fault?
A: Yes. Workers’ compensation is a strict liability system that compensates employees for on-the-job injuries and illnesses regardless of fault.
Q: What provides compensation regardless of who was at fault?
A: Workers’ compensation insurance, which is required for almost all employers in Minnesota, will provide compensation regardless of who was at fault.
Q: How much will hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer cost?
A: The initial consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer will be free. After that, attorney fees are paid on a contingency basis based on whether you receive additional benefits or a settlement.
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.