While any workplace injury or illness can have serious consequences, it may be somewhat comforting to know that Minnesota does provide workers’ compensation benefits for qualifying employees.

However, even when you know your basic rights, you may not comprehend the full extent of the benefits you could be entitled to receive according to Minnesota workers’ compensation claims concerning lost wages.

There are various categories available by law, including lost wages that you miss out on when you’re unable to work.

When you don’t understand the nature of your workers’ compensation benefits, you risk leaving money on the table.

Under the circumstances, it’s wise to retain an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to assist with filing your claim.

Our team at Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka has extensive knowledge of how the system functions, especially with respect to your lost wages.

We’re prepared to pursue all available monetary benefits, to ensure you have the financial support you need to recover and get back to work.

Please contact our St. Paul office to set up a no-cost consultation with a Minnesota workers’ compensation and lost wages attorney today.

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Types of Wage Loss Benefits

Assuming an insurance company accepts a claim, you may be entitled to wage loss benefits. If your doctor says that you are completely incapable of working or puts you on restrictions, and your employer has no work available within those restrictions, you’d be entitled to a benefit called temporary total disability benefits.

What that means is that you get two-thirds of your average weekly wage as long as you continue to be on those restrictions. If at some point your doctor says you can go back to work part-time, and your employer allows that to happen, you would get two-thirds of the difference between the old average weekly wage and what you’re making part-time.

If you suffer from a very severe injury, you may be entitled to something called permanent total disability benefits. What this means is if you can prove very definitive certain factors, depending on the circumstances of your case, you would get two-thirds of your average weekly wage up until the age of retirement.

It’s important to contact a lawyer about this because there’s not an insurance company that would voluntarily pay that type of benefit. Another type of benefit that you may be entitled to be called permanent partial disability benefits.

State law has put a percentage on certain body parts. For example, if you were to lose a finger at work, state law says that it is worth a percentage.

And what you do is you multiply that percentage times a lump sum, and then you’d get a check for whatever that amount is. It’s very dependent on what state law is and what your doctor says.

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Summary of Minnesota’s Workers’ Compensation System

Before the establishment of laws to protect employees in the workplace, a worker who suffered from a job-related injury or illness was forced to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for losses.

The litigation process is costly and time-consuming and requires proof of employer fault. These burdens put employees in a difficult financial situation.

Like other US states, Minnesota implemented a workers’ compensation system that provides monetary benefits to employees suffering from a work-related medical condition.

One of the requirements of the law is that all employers in the state must carry workers’ compensation insurance for the benefit of full- or part-time employees.

A qualifying worker with a work-related injury or illness can receive benefits by notifying the employer and insurance company.

The Minnesota workers’ compensation system offers multiple advantages:

  • By meeting the eligibility requirements described below, you may start receiving benefits shortly after your claim is approved. There’s no need to go through the expensive, drawn-out litigation process.
  • You don’t need to prove that your employer was at fault in causing the accident or allowing the workplace conditions that resulted in your injury or illness.

However, there are two important caveats that you should understand about the workers’ compensation laws.

  1. The system pays out a range of monetary benefits, but you cannot recover compensation for your non-economic damages. You’re not eligible for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and related losses.
  2. In most cases, workers’ compensation is your sole remedy. You cannot file a civil lawsuit to recover monetary damages. There are some exceptions to this default rule, so you may be able to sue in court if:
    1. Your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance as required by law;
    2. Your injuries were caused by intentional acts; or,
    3. A third party is responsible for your medical condition. Examples might be where you were in a motor vehicle accident while working, you were hurt by defective equipment, or an unrelated entity on the job site caused your ailment.

Benefits for Your Lost Wages

One of the key benefits of Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system is wage replacement for the income you lose while you’re recovering and away from work.

Once you miss three days due to an illness or injury, you’re eligible to receive:

  1. Temporary Partial Disability: In some cases, your medical condition allows you to go back to work, but on a limited basis. If you cannot work as many hours or earn the same income as you did before your ailment, you may qualify for temporary partial disability.
  2. Temporary Total Disability: When you cannot work at all, or your employer cannot accommodate you in performing job-related tasks, you could be eligible for disability payments on a temporary basis. The amount is two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a certain amount designated by law.
  3. Permanent Partial Disability: If you suffer from an injury or illness that will permanently reduce your income potential, you could receive this type of benefits. Permanent partial disability covers the difference between what you earned before and after the issue that caused your medical condition.
  4. Permanent Total Disability: In a situation where you can never work again because of a workplace or job conditions, you could qualify for permanent total disability payments. There is a legal presumption in Minnesota that you’re permanently, totally disabled if you:
    1. Can not use both arms, eyes, feet, hands, or legs;
    2. Suffer from permanent, complete paralysis; or,
    3. Have a mental disability.

Additional Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Eligible Employees

Besides your lost wages, you may be eligible for other types of payments under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system.

Your benefits could include medical costs, which cover all amounts related to the treatment of your injury or illness, currently and in the future.

This benefit covers a wide range of medical care, including:

  • Surgery;
  • Hospital costs;
  • Treatment by specialists;
  • Out-patient procedures;
  • Lab exams and screenings;
  • Physical therapy;
  • Assistive technology, such as crutches, wheelchairs, specialized furniture, and other devices that enable you to carry out daily activities;
  • Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter; and,
  • Any other amounts you incur to treat your work-related medical condition.

In addition, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation benefits, which pay training, education, and other costs related to making you employable for another position.

Note that the workers’ compensation system also pays out death benefits to the surviving family members of an employee who dies because of an on-the-job injury or illness.

Speak to a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Free

Lost wages are available to qualifying employees under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system, but you put your rights in jeopardy if you try to go it alone when filing a claim.

Unless you have a legal background, you may not get the full range of workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to by law.

To learn more about seeking lost wages, please contact Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka.

You can call 651-222-6603 or complete an online form to schedule a free consultation at our St. Paul office.