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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.

Changes to retention limits

For many companies, their employee insurance policies function in a similar fashion to regular insurance policies in that they have what is known as a retention limit. This retention limit functions essentially like a deductible for a standard insurance policy. If an employee is injured and eligible for workers' compensation, the company must pay a set amount of the resulting costs before the insurance company will begin to cover company expenses.

Under the new law that went into effect on January 1 of this year, the low retention limit for a company's policy will be changed. Additionally, the will now be a "jumbo" retention limit. This jumbo limit will in effect be the highest possible level of retention.

Changes to payment process for attorneys

Unlike the other changes, this alteration went into effect on August 1, 2016. After August 1, the new law eliminated bond requirements for people who appeal Minnesota Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals decisions. However, the law did extend the deadline for health care providers and insurers to submit medical records and reports with bills to January 1.

The new law also clarified the process attorneys go through to claim payments. These payments generally come in the form of legal fees from workers' compensation claim cases. The law also clarifies the liability for employers whose employees are treated in small hospitals (hospitals "with 100 or fewer licensed beds").

These new changes may not have a very drastic effect on the claims process for injured employees, but it is possible that they will. They serve as a reminder that, when dealing with a workers' compensation claim, it is important to obtain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable legal professional who is up-to-date with the current laws and is familiar enough with them to act in your best interest.

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