Tag Archives: work comp

Neck Pain at Work

How do Minnesota Workers’ Comp Attorney Fees Work?

It is always beneficial to hire a workers’ comp attorney if you are injured at work and plan to file a claim. But many are hesitant to do so because of the cost of hiring an attorney.

In general, workers compensation attorney’s fees are done on a contingent basis. In other words, you don’t have to pay an attorney any upfront costs. Under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act, your attorney is not entitled to any fees unless they successfully settle a dispute. Even when an attorney resolves a claim and wins benefits, there are still limitations on what an attorney can be awarded. The following are a few examples of these limitations:

  • For wage (indemnity) benefits, attorney fees are limited by statute. Fees are 25% of the first $4,000, and 20% of the next $60,000 obtained.
  • For medical benefits, attorney fees are paid solely by the insurance company. The injured worker does not lose any benefits (including money) if the attorney wins medical benefits in the dispute.
  • For rehabilitation benefits, attorney fees are also only paid by the insurance company. Similarly, the injured worker does not lose any benefits or money if the lawyer wins rehabilitation benefits.

Approaching a workers’ comp dispute can be overwhelming. An attorney can help guide you through the process. And rest assured you won’t need to worry about paying out of pocket when retaining a workers’ compensation attorney.

Repetitive Stress Injury

A Few Minnesota Work Comp FAQs

What is Worker’s Compensation?

Every state has different workers compensation laws. In Minnesota, work comp laws state that an employer must carry worker compensation insurance in order to compensate employees who have become ill or injured on the job.

What Type of Benefits are Included in Worker’s Compensation?

The main benefits under workers compensation laws include medical expenses, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation and death benefits.

Who is Eligible for Worker’s Compensation?

Any employee of the company (not contractor) is eligible for workers compensation. You will need to prove that you have sustained personal injury/illness, that you have sustained this injury ‘arising out of the employment’ and that you have sustained this injury ‘in the course of the employment.”

What are the main complications involved in Workers Compensation claims?

Unfortunately, worker’s compensation claims are not as straight forward as they should be. It can be hard to prove certain injuries occurred as a direct result of your employment and most workers compensation insurance companies will do everything in their power to prevent you from getting the proper compensation.

Many people who are deserving of workers compensation will be denied simply because of the confusing paperwork and legal terms involved while others might find that their workers compensation benefits are suddenly cut off. Another common complication is that you are not being paid in full for some of your out of pocket medical expenses including prescription medication or rehabilitation services. If you are experiencing complications and concerns surrounding your benefits it is important to contact a Minnesota workers compensation lawyer who can help you get the money you deserve.

What Should I Do If Injured on the Job?

If you are injured on the job, make sure you always follow these steps:

  1. Report your injury to a supervisor
  2. Fill out an injury report claim at work and request a copy
  3. Seek medical attention and be sure the doctor charts that the accident occurred at work
  4. Keep records of all your workers compensation documents, receipts, etc. Make copies.
  5. Let your employer know about your progress, your treatment and your work restrictions.
  6. Contact a Minnesota workers compensation attorney for additional help

What are the Different Wage Loss Benefit Options?

There are four main types of benefit plans under the workers compensation laws in Minnesota. They are as follows:

  • Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD)
  • Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD)
  • Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD)
  • Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD)

How Can a Minnesota Work Injury Lawyer Help Me?

Workers compensation laws come with a number of problems that can often be overwhelming to deal with, especially when faced with a serious work-related injury. With a Minnesota workers compensation attorney on your side, you can take a stand against any unfair treatment by both your employer and the workers compensation insurance provider.

If you are having any of the following problems, then a MN work injury attorney is your best bet:

  • Medical treatment and benefits are cut off
  • Workers comp claim is denied
  • Benefits are not paid in full
  • · Paperwork is too overwhelming to handle
  •  Employer retaliation or harassment
  • Concerns about work restrictions

Contact the Law Firm of Heimerl and Lammers for more information regarding your workers compensation rights.

Work Safety Tips

Are All MN Businesses Required to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Prior to its 1983 amendment, the Workers Compensation Act generally favored the injured employee.  An injured party’s common-law rights were retained unless the Act clearly modified those rights.  In 1983, the Act was amended to be applied on an “even-handed basis”, which ensured neither party received preferential treatment. This standard remains in effect today.  Employers should not mistake the more employer-friendly standard as an opportunity to skirt or circumvent the law.

The Workers Compensation Act in Minnesota

In Minnesota, the act requires all employers, except the state and municipalities, to carry workers’ compensation insurance, unless the employer qualifies for self-insurance (this is often referred to as mandatory coverage).

  • Employees are generally defined as persons performing services for another for hire, including minors and noncitizens.
  • An employer is generally defined as an individual or business that hires an individual to perform services.

The Act provides multiple exceptions to the mandatory coverage rule. However, these exceptions are only applicable in certain circumstances.

Exception for Businesses Without Employees

Some business entities have no employees and are not employers. Thus, these entities have no one to insure. Partners in a business or farm operation may be exempt if every employee is a partner or qualified relative.

Sole proprietorships are non-incorporated businesses owned by one person. If the sole proprietorship has no employees, the business does not need to comply with the act. That said, entrepreneurs are warned not to view sole proprietorships as a “free pass” from regulations.

A sole proprietorship is a business entity that fails to provide the owner with any liability protection. Entrepreneurs should avoid sole proprietorships at all costs. In addition, managers or members of limited liability companies and executive officers of closely held corporations may be excluded from the workers’ compensation requirement if certain requirements are met.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance may be purchased through an insurance agent or directly from an insurance company.  Minnesota has several thousand licensed insurance agents who sell workers’ compensation insurance, so you have plenty of options to choose from.  In Minnesota, work comp insurance is sold through open competition, which means insurance companies establish their rates and compete for business.  The workers’ compensation polices provide coverage mandated by state law. Thus, only price, quality of service, and customer service varies and employers could have significant savings by receiving multiple price quotes for the insurance.

Workers’ Compensation insurance provides compensation to employees who suffer a work-related injury or disease.  Compensation includes partial wage replacement and full payment of medical and vocational rehabilitation costs. In case of death, workers’ compensation benefits are paid to the employee’s dependents. Workers’ compensation insurance companies and self-insured employers pay these benefits and collect the premiums. The Minnesota workers’ compensation law was designed to standardize benefits, reduce litigation, and encourage early rehabilitation intervention, healthy employee and employer relationships, and return-to-work programs.

Workers Compensation Act Violations

If an employer fails to comply with the act the failure may result in any of the following:

  • Litigation
  • Civil fines and penalties
  • Criminal charges

An employer suspected of violating the statute will be investigated by the Special Compensation Fund unit.  Even if an employee was not injured, an employer found in violation of the act may be fined by the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry. An employer in violation of the act will be ordered to provide the necessary insurance coverage and refrain from employing any person, at any time, without issuing the proper insurance.  In addition, the employer may be penalized up to $1,000 per employee for each week the employee was not insured.

In addition, if an employer receives a commissioner’s order, the employer has ten days to comply or contest the order.  If an objection is not received by the commissioner by the deadline, the order will be considered final and the employer cannot appeal.  If, however, the employer contests the order, the dispute will be resolved by a workers’ compensation judge. The judge shall determine whether the fine and order is justified.  If the employer is found in breach of the act, the employer will be required to pay the order’s fines and may be penalized by additional fines if the uninsured people were employed while the case was in dispute.

In addition to costly fees and penalties, an employer found to have willfully and intentionally failed to comply with the act is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. In Minnesota, a gross misdemeanor is punishable with a fine up to $3,000.

Violation Remedies for Employees

If an employer has not purchased insurance coverage or failed to comply with self-insurance requirements and an employee suffers a compensable injury, the employee has multiple remedies. The injured employee may either pursue the employer in tort or request the Minnesota Special Compensation Fund pay the appropriate benefits.  After a request has been made, a judge will determine the employer’s liability and if the compensation fund is appropriate.  If the compensation benefit is awarded, the judge will order the employer to reimburse the Special Compensation Fund and will be penalized in the amount of 65 percent of the total cost of the benefits.

In Minnesota, a workers’ compensation claim is valid even if the employer goes out of business. Courts have routinely held that if an employer ceases to exist, the fault does not lie with the employee and it should not affect the employee or their dependents.

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4 Quick Tips for Filing a Minnesota Work Comp Claim

The Minnesota workers’ compensation system is quite complex, and requires a lot of paperwork from both the employer and employee. Here are a few quick tips to get you through the process:

  • Keep your employer informed about your condition at all times.
  • Keep receipts for anything you pay for out of your own pocket (i.e. prescriptions). Even better, make copies of your receipts just in case you lose them.
  • Make sure that your doctor is in contact with the insurance company and that all the necessary paperwork is being sent to the insurance carrier.
  • Document your mileage going to and from doctor appointments

Many Minnesota employers require employees to complete work comp sheets for every type of injury sustained on the job no matter how small. It may seem pointless to document very minor injuries, but minor injuries can lead to more severe injuries down the line. Because of this, it’s important to document any workplace injury right after it occurs.

If you have any questions about your workplace injury or work comp claim, don’t hesitate to contact a work comp lawyer to discuss your case.

Wage Loss Benefits

Retaliation For Filing For Workers’ Compensation

You’re a good employee and you work hard at your job. You go in everyday and tuck yourself under a customer’s car, drive to a client’s office or hospital, or climb the ladder to a customer’s roof. One day, a day that otherwise starts out like all the others, you injure yourself while you are at work.  This injury could be a minor slip and fall, or a more serious accident that requires surgery and possibly years of rehabilitation. You go to the doctor, you miss some work, and you may have some work restrictions. As is your right, you apply for workers’ compensation.

Sometime after you apply for work comp, your employer starts treating you differently. It might be as elusive as making you feel less valuable than other co-workers. Possibly your employer becomes critical of your work in ways that didn’t happen before your request for workers’ compensation, amounting to some form of performance improvement plan. Or maybe it is as bad as humiliating comments about your value as an employee (I have heard comments as shocking as “we should take you out back and shoot you” and “if you hadn’t applied for workers’ compensation none of this would have happened”). This humiliating treatment may lead to a demotion, termination, or some other form of adversity.

If you are being treated differently after you applied for workers compensation, you may be experiencing retaliation because of that claim, and the law protects you from that.  There are steps you can take to make sure this law works for you.  You can call an attorney who works with employees experiencing retaliation because of a workers compensation claim. You can also make a report to your employer laying out your concerns of retaliation. This report should protect you against further retaliation, or, at the very least, it may strengthen your legal claim if your employer turns a blind eye to your report.

Recovering from any injury can be stressful and daunting. Having work restrictions can be scary and may force you to address concerns about your future earning potential. Your doctor will probably tell you to focus on your recovery, and you should, but you might also have viable legal recourse that you should be aware of and could help protect you and your family.