If you are an injured worker, you may find yourself unable to continue working or performing the same job after your injury. This can result in you losing income. Fortunately, workman’s compensation can pay you a portion of your lost wages.
Wage loss or wage replacement benefits are payments made to you if you lose all or part of your income because of a workplace injury.
The Minnesota workman’s comp laws use a lot of legal jargon, such as “temporary total disability” or “permanent total disability” to explain whether you are eligible for wage loss benefits. Despite the complicated terminology, injured employees who are eligible for wage benefits generally fall into one of three simple situations.
1. You have lost all of your income because your work injury keeps you from working.
Many injured employees experience a period immediately after a work injury when they cannot work but may return after a few days or weeks. This is called Temporary Total Disability. You are temporarily unable to work.
For some employees, their work injury is so severe it keeps them from ever working again. This is called Permanent Total Disability. You are permanently unable to work.
In both circumstances, workman’s compensation may pay you a portion of what your income should have been had you been working.
2. You lose income because your work injury stops you from working a full shift.
If you are an injured employee, your doctor may give you work restrictions that cap how many hours you can work a day, your employer doesn’t have enough work for your restriction-type, or you may simply be unable to tolerate your normal hours because of your work injury.
This is called Temporary Partial Disability. You are temporarily only able to do part of your job or earn part of your wages.
Generally, an employer does not have to pay the injured employee for the hours he or she did not work, so the injured employee can take a huge wage loss. And unfortunately, while your income has decreased, your monthly bills and living expenses probably did not. The good news is that workers’ compensation’s wage loss benefits kick in and help make up for those lost wages.
3. You are not getting paid as much after your work injury.
Wage loss can also occur when you work your regular hours but cannot continue to do your old job either permanently or temporarily. Our clients who find themselves in this situation often have to take a new job that pays less. Here, wage loss benefits may be available to make up for the income difference of your old and new position. This is also referred to as Temporary Partial Disability.
Plan of Action: What Are Your Next Steps?
If you fit into one of the categories above, you may be eligible for wage replacement workers’ compensation benefits. Your next step is to take some time to learn more about the workers’ compensation. You may want to check out our “Basics” blog series for a general understanding of workman’s comp or you simply may want to speak with a Minnesota work comp attorney to get more information about your specific case.
Minnesota Work Comp Attorneys
If this information has brought concerns to your attention, we encourage you to speak with an workman’s compensation attorney as soon as possible. Our Minneapolis attorneys have extensive experience in handling workman’s compensation claims and are available to discuss your case. To speak with an attorney on the workers’ compensation team at Heimerl & Lammers, contact us at 612.294.2200.