One of the key ideas behind workers’ compensation law is that the employer provides a benefit to an employee that covers any on-the-job injury.
This benefit is provided regardless of what that injury is and without having to determine who is at fault.
Despite this, there are real limits in Minnesota law behind the type of injury and how the injury occurred which affect the benefits you receive.
Below, the experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka will go over what happens if you are injured at work in Minnesota.
For example, benefits can be denied when an employee suffers an injury while engaging in illegal activity or if the injury is self-inflicted.
If the injury occurred while the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then it will not be covered.
An employee may also not be covered if they were engaging in restricted activity at the time of injury.
However, there are many injuries that workplace accidents insurance covers. They can happen on or off the employer’s property.
Have you been injured on the job?
Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits may help you pay your living expenses, and provide you with the medical care and vocational services that you need.
Understanding the Types of Workplace Injuries
An injury incurred on the job is not considered a valid injury for workers’ compensation purposes if it:
- Occurred due to committing a crime;
- Did not occur while on the clock;
- Was self-inflicted;
- Was caused by a pre-existing condition (unless worsened by current work); or
- Resulted from the use of alcohol or drugs.
An injury may also not be covered by workers’ compensation if it is determined that the injury occurred due to a violation of workplace policy.
Injuries covered under Minnesota workers’ compensation law include physical injuries such as broken bones, head injuries, spinal injuries, amputated limbs, paralysis, eye injuries, burn injuries, and repetitive motion injuries (carpal tunnel).
Illnesses also are covered if the illness suffered is caused by any hazardous workplace condition.
For example, exposure to a toxic substance, and exposure to substances that can cause cancer or respiratory illnesses usually trigger Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits.
Mental illnesses or traumatic emotional experiences at work are tricky.
Workers’ compensation claims in these areas have gained some recent momentum in Minnesota.
For example, a person who experiences an event at work that causes emotional trauma resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could possibly qualify for Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits.
These benefits are only given if it is deemed impossible for a person to return to work or a person can only work in a limited capacity because of the traumatic experience.
How Long Do I Have to See a Doctor After a Work Injury?
Before doing anything else, seek medical care for your injury and inform your employer of the injury.
If the injury is serious enough, call 911 right away.
Do not wait to seek medical care no matter how small the injury may appear.
This will help you return to work sooner and is important to ensure you receive your benefits.
Minnesota has limits on the amount of time after an injury that a workers’ compensation claim can be filed, so it is important to seek medical care as symptoms arise.
The default time limit in Minnesota to file a workers’ compensation claim is three years from the date that your employer reports the injury to the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industries.
The time limit, however, is capped at six years from the date of injury.
There are special time limits for other injuries that often take a long time to manifest themselves.
If you are incapacitated, the three-year time limit starts to run only when the incapacitation ceases.
If your injury is related to radiation or an occupational disease like tinnitus, loss of hearing, or carpal tunnel syndrome, the three-year time limit does not begin to run until your employer is notified of the injury.
So, if you work in an office for 15 years and carpal tunnel syndrome arises five years after leaving the job, you have three years after reporting it to your employer to seek medical help and file a workers’ compensation claim.
In any case, a doctor should be seen as soon as possible whenever an injury is apparent.
Should I Get a Workers’ Comp Lawyer If I Get Hurt at Work?
If any issues arise related to your claim, the Department of Labor and Industries recommends first calling the insurance claims adjuster.
Explaining the situation to the adjuster and trying to solve the problem yourself shows goodwill toward your employer and can help with the future settlement.
All details of the conversation should be written, dated, and include the name of the person you speak with.
If the problem is not resolved at that point, you should hire a lawyer.
The rest of the claims process can be complicated, and it is best to have someone with experience helping you through the process.
This can help you avoid costly mistakes and will help you receive your compensation faster.
In Minnesota, if a stipulation for settlement is not completed by a lawyer, a judge has to substantively review it, which can prolong the time between the settlement and receipt of benefits.
If you are represented by a lawyer, a partial settlement can be approved by a judge immediately, without review, and payment is due within 14 days.
However, if the settlement completely settles all your rights to medical claims, or if you are not represented by a lawyer, a judge must review it before approval.
The review process means it will take longer to receive payment.
Because of this, it is best to hire a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer to guide you through the process.
Helping You Get the Compensation You Deserve
When you experience any of the aforementioned types of injuries, it is important to notify your employer, your doctor, and your Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney.
That way, the workers’ compensation claim process can begin.
Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits help get you through your injury, recover, and return to work.
How to Find a Good Workplace Injury Lawyer
It is important that you hire a good injury lawyer to help with the settlement process.
To find a good workers’ compensation lawyer, look for reviews on websites such as avvo.com, and look for lawyers with proven experience in workers’ compensation law.
Outside of our own website with client testimonials, many positive reviews can be found on our Avvo review page.