Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation In Minnesota
Based on more than 20 years of experience, we offer answers to the following common questions regarding workers’ compensation in Minnesota.
The most fundamental question for many injured workers is, “Do I have a workers’ compensation claim?” In case of doubt, do not hesitate to contact Atkinson Gerber Law Office, to request a free consultation that will help you evaluate your situation. Some other common questions and answers that we often hear are detailed below:
How can I maximize my workers’ comp benefits?
After a work-related injury, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. What you might not realize is that there are steps you can take to make sure you are receiving the maximum amount of compensation available under the law. We offer the following pointers to help you make the most of your benefits following a workplace injury:
- Seek medical treatment with the best physician available. Don’t opt for a doctor recommended by your employer’s insurer.
- Stay in frequent contact with your health care providers. If your injury worsens or changes in any way, make sure to contact your doctor.
- Stay in regular contact with your qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC).
- Make sure you have appropriate work restrictions for tasks you can physically perform at your job. If you are unable to perform work under your work restrictions, discuss this with your doctor right away.
- Keep your employer updated on your work restrictions.
- Always tell the truth.
For best results getting your expenses and losses covered as fully as you can, follow directions and advice from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
What are the disability classifications known as TTD, TPD and PTD?
If you are seriously injured in Minnesota and you cannot return to work, there are several types of disability benefits you may be entitled to receive.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD): Injured workers who can no longer perform their job duties and whose employers cannot provide them with alternate work as indicated by work restrictions qualify for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. The employer’s insurer must pay two-thirds of the worker’s lost wages up to a maximum of $850/week for 130 weeks, or until 90 days post maximum medical improvement. To learn more about “maximum medical improvement,” contact our lawyers.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): If your injury allows you to work in some capacity, but you are earning less money than before the injury due to, for example, a job change or a reduction in hours, you can receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. Your employer must pay two-thirds of the difference between what you were earning before the injury and what you are making now for 225 weeks.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD): If you are unable to work permanently or for an indefinite period of time due to a work injury, you can receive permanent total disability (PTD) wage loss benefits up to the age of 67. There are complex requirements that must be met to qualify for PTD, so it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney.
When you call 651-333-3636 to arrange a free initial consultation with Atkinson Law Office, P.A., our attorneys will evaluate your unique circumstances, explain these benefits in easy-to-understand terms, protect your rights and help you obtain maximum compensation.
Should I get a lawyer even if the insurance company is paying all of my benefits?
Workers’ compensation rules and laws in Minnesota are very complicated, and because the laws are constantly changing due to the legislative changes, seeking attorney advice of an experienced, aggressive attorney is always a good idea. Again, it costs nothing to hire a lawyer for a workers’ compensation claim. Our lawyers will be paid only a percentage of the benefits they help you obtain. If you are already receiving benefits, the lawyer will not begin receiving a percentage of the benefits you are receiving. The lawyer will only receive a percentage of the benefits he or she helps you obtain.
In fact, as one might be able to tell from the questions and answers so far, the manner in which an injured employee gets benefits, the nature of the benefits, and how an employee commences a claim to get benefits can be very complicated. Thus, it is always a good idea to seek out legal advice from a competent attorney.
How do attorneys get paid and can I afford an attorney?
There is no fee to hire Atkinson Law Office, P.A., to represent you. In Minnesota, attorneys are paid 25% of the first $4,000 of benefits recovered and 20% thereafter, subject to a maximum fee of $13,000 (although occasionally there are exceptions to the maximum fee limitations). In addition, provisions in the law require either some of those fees to be paid in part or entirely by the insurance company without any effect on your benefits. In Minnesota, attorney fees must be approved by a workers’ compensation judge.
Do I have to treat with a company doctor?
In most cases, an injured worker is free to choose his or her own doctor. Usually after an injured worker has treated with a physician two to three times, that physician is considered to be the employee’s treating physician and a motion must be filed to change the treating physician. However, you are entitled to a second opinion and/or change of physician.
Please note that the insurer may request an independent medical examination (IME) to be performed by an adverse physician. The goal of this doctor is not to provide you with treatment. The IME is hired by the insurance company to determine the causation, extent of injury, restrictions, date you reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and the extent of your permanent disability. This usually results in extreme ramifications for your benefits.
Contact Minneapolis workers’ compensation attorney Thomas Atkinson from Atkinson Law Office, P.A., to ensure you get the doctor of your choice rather than an advocate working on behalf of the insurance company. Mr. Atkinson can help you respond appropriately and preserve your rights if you are asked to submit to an IME.
What should I do if I think I sustained a work injury in Minnesota?
Immediately report the incident to your employer and seek medical attention. It is very important that you provide a history of the work injury to every medical professional who treats you for your injury. Don’t assume they are aware of the nature of your injury! If it’s not an emergency situation, ask to complete a first report of injury. If you required emergency room treatment or hospitalization, as soon as possible request that the employer file a first report of injury.
Be sure your doctor or chiropractor provides you with written work restrictions. Provide a copy of these restrictions to your employer. It is very important that you follow your doctor’s recommendations. If the employer refuses to provide you with a first report of injury, contact workers’ compensation attorney Thomas Atkinson, who will provide you with the paperwork necessary to report and file a first report of injury with the state of Minnesota.
What is a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) and how can one help me return to work or find new employment?
A qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) provides rehabilitation services if you need help returning to work due to your injury. The insurance company will try to choose a QRC for you, but you have the right to choose your own QRC. If you do not, the insurer will refer you to one with a long relationship with the insurance company. There are specific time limits to request a different QRC, so it is very important for you to contact attorney Thomas Atkinson to arrange to work with an experienced and aggressive QRC who will work hard on your behalf.
What workers’ compensation benefits am I entitled to?
Injured employees are entitled to be paid total wage loss (which is paid at two-thirds of the wage at the time of the injury) or partial wage loss (which is paid at two-thirds of the wage differential between your wage at the time of the injury and your current wage). There are limitations on how long a person is entitled to either total or partial wage loss depending upon your date of injury.
There are also benefits for permanent partial disability, although the type and manner in which those benefits are paid can vary.
If you sustain a work-related injury, you are entitled to medical benefits regardless of whether you have health insurance through your employer or your spouse’s employer. There are also vocational rehabilitation benefits, including potential retraining. There are many additional benefits that a person may be entitled to, depending upon the circumstances and the applicable law. Contact Minnesota workers’ comp lawyer Thomas Atkinson to ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to receive.
If I’m released by my doctor to work either light duty or modified duty, do I still receive benefits?
If your employer does not have a job available within your work restrictions, your benefits should continue even though you are released for light duty. The insurance company may file a Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits (NOID); do not ignore this document. Immediately contact attorney Thomas Atkinson who will request an immediate administrative conference on your behalf.
I live in Minnesota but I got hurt in Wisconsin (or, I live in Wisconsin and got hurt in Minnesota). What law applies?
If you are injured in Minnesota, regardless of the state or country you call home, you are entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits. Likewise, if you were hired by a Minnesota employer and work outside of Minnesota, there is a very good chance you are also eligible for Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits. Finally, traveling employees passing through the state or Minnesota employees traveling outside the state are entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits.
How long do I have before I can file my claim?
In Minnesota, the general rule is that you have 30 days to inform your employer that you were injured, although there may be exceptions that allow up to 180 days. (Most people inform their employers if they were injured immediately, or shortly thereafter, and in many circumstances, the employer knows that the person was injured right away.)
In Minnesota, you generally have three years before you can commence a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Once benefits have been paid (in any form whether it be wage loss, medical or otherwise), there is no more statute of limitation problems in Minnesota. In other words, once the insurance company has paid a single benefit, a claim can be commenced at any time thereafter, sometimes years or even decades later. Attorney Thomas Atkinson has decades of experience navigating the complexities of Minnesota workers’ compensation.
Bring Your Questions And Contact Our Twin Cities Area Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
To schedule a free initial consultation, contact Atkinson Law Office, P.A., at 651-333-3636 or by email. We advise clients throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area and beyond. Our firm can be reached 24/7 with our after-hours answering service, and we are available to schedule consultations to meet at your convenience. We are happy to make home, hospital and off-site consultations by appointment.