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Minnesota Workers' Compensation Law Blog

You have a hand in preventing workplace injuries

Most people in Minnesota are familiar with the feeling of coming in from shoveling snow to find their hands numb with cold. For a few moments, you may feel helpless as your fingers begin to tingle. Until the feeling returns, there is little you can do for yourself. You may be feeling that same exasperation now after your hand injury at work.

Hand injuries are among the most frustrating because most people are completely dependent on the use of their hands. To lose a hand, even temporarily, such as when it is in a sling or cast, may mean days or weeks of struggling through basic tasks like feeding and dressing yourself. Most concerning of all is that you can't work, which means no money is coming in.

Repetitive stress injuries and your right to compensation

Not all work injuries are the result of an accident in the workplace. You can suffer serious, often debilitating, injuries simply by doing your job on a daily basis. Repetitive stress injuries are common for many Minnesota workers, but they are often overlooked and dismissed as minor and insignificant.

Any type of work injury is serious, and if you are suffering from a repetitive stress injury as the result of your job, you have the right to workers' compensation benefits. It can be difficult to secure rightful support for these types of unseen injuries, but you do not have to walk through the process without assistance.

Does a mental condition preclude you from working?

Many Minnesota residents struggle with mental conditions or issues, yet many of them are able to deal with these matters in a way that allows them to have productive, successful careers. It is difficult to manage these conditions perfectly, and, as a result, people may sometimes find that they are unable to work for a period of time. If you are in this situation, you have options; you could be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

New changes to workers' comp laws for 2017

Many people make changes for the New Year and so does the state government. Even though a large portion of the population may not consider it to be breaking news, the changes that will go into effect this year will change the legal process for some individuals who work with current workers' compensation programs.

In addition to a shift away from caucuses to presidential primaries, the state of Minnesota also altered two aspects of the workers' compensation regulations with the start of the New Year.

Former Minnesota Vikings player suing NFL for workers comp

Head injuries are at the forefront of issues in sports today. Following a billion dollar class action lawsuit filed against the NFL, former players continue to seek compensation for on-field injuries suffered during their careers. Linebacker Henri Crockett, who played for the Minnesota Vikings for two seasons from 2002 to 2003, is among a group of 38 former players who filed a workers' compensation lawsuit against the NFL.

The group wants to force the NFL to recognize chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as an occupational disease and compensate players suffering from it as such. For now, CTE cannot be diagnosed until after death, but some early and late stage symptoms can manifest in former athletes. Early stage symptoms are described as "punch drunk" including chronic dizziness and headaches. As the disease progresses, symptoms can worsen to dementia, Alzheimer's disease and depression.

You may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance.

If you become injured as a result of work-related circumstances, you will want to utilize every resource available to you to ensure that you are able to continue supporting yourself and your family while you are recovering. Workers' compensation is often allows people to accomplish this, but Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may be another viable option for you.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

SSDI is an assistance program run by the Social Security Administration that provides benefits to disabled workers before they reach retirement age. The benefits given by SSDI are given in the form of monthly payments, but before you can collect any benefits you must meet government requirements.

Temp workers have a higher risk for work-related injuries

The traditional permanent job may seem like a confusing subject for many people in Minnesota. Temp work is increasingly becoming more of a norm than ever before. Recent research shows that the growth rate in temporary work has exceeded the rise in traditional employment over the past decade. Different government agencies use a variety of factors for considering whether a worker should be classified as a temp worker, making it difficult to track how many workers have temp jobs. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently estimated that 17 million Americans are temp employees.

Tighter Regulation And Improved Training Could Improve Safety

What is quite troubling, however, is that the temp industry is often far more dangerous for workers than traditional jobs, according to NIOSH. While many temp jobs are available in an office setting, roughly 37 percent of temporary employees are placed in manufacturing jobs. Regulations and oversight of temp work create some hazards due to ambiguities in accountability between the staffing agency and the company where the work is performed.

Why is providing healthcare so dangerous?

Study after study shows that nurses and other medical professionals who provide direct care to patients are more likely to suffer injury on the job than workers in any other industry. You may be surprised to learn that the rate of nurses who suffer injuries on the job exceeds the rate of injuries construction workers experience. It would seem that medical facility administrators would be well-versed in workplace safety for health professionals.

More than one-quarter million healthcare workers suffer injuries each year

The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration say that in 2011 alone, more than 250,000 workers contracted occupational illnesses or suffered workplace injuries in hospitals. Nearly 7 percent of full-time healthcare workers experience injuries or illnesses in the workplace. The rate of illness and injury is slightly higher among residential care and nursing home employees than workers in hospitals.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Most people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome (CPS), a form of repetitive strain injury. The medical condition develops over time. Many workers may not recognize the early symptoms, while other workers do not realize that the symptoms may be connected to their work, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The agency says it is difficult to track how many workers suffer from CPS due to under reporting. People who never file claims may be missing out on important benefits to cover the costs of treatment and lost wages related to CPS.

Carpal tunnel is often associated with typing and the use of the mouse on a computer. It is important to note however, that any job that involves repetitive motions of the hands can lead to CPS, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In fact workers on assembly lines have a greater chance of developing CPS than office workers and data-entry personnel.

Does A Diagnosis Of Depression Qualify For Workers' Compensation Benefits?

For many people, being injured at work can lead to feeling depressed. Work injuries can be stressful and are almost always accompanied by physical pain or trauma which can be depressing in and of itself. On top of that stress and physical pain, work injuries often cause limitations in everyday activities, which can exacerbate feelings of depression.

Depression can come with many symptoms, but the most common symptoms include fatigue and decreased energy, overwhelming or persistent feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and irritability, or a loss of interest in normal activities.