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.