Employees who are injured on the job can get their medical bills paid and receive wage replacement as well as other benefits by making a work comp claim.
In Minnesota, nearly all employers are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workmen’s compensation insurance works a lot like other insurance that you may be more familiar with (e.g. car insurance, homeowners insurance, etc.). Employers must pay a premium in order to receive coverage.
For some employers, it is just too tempting to save money in the short term by not carrying coverage. Money saved…or so your employer may think. Other employers may simply have allowed their coverage to lapse or they are ignorant of the law.
Regardless of why or how an employer ends up without workers’ compensation insurance, the impact on you as the injured employee can be significant. Who will pay your medical bills? What about all of those days you missed from work?
The good news is that Minnesota’s work comp system anticipated this problem and it created the Special Compensation Fund.
The Special Compensation Fund’s Role in Minnesota Workman’s Comp
The Special Compensation Fund investigates employers who may not have workers’ compensation insurance. Failure to carry coverage can result in fines to the employer. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can seek work comp coverage from the Special Compensation Fund. In return, the Special Compensation Fund will attempt to get reimbursed from your employer.
Therefore, all is not lost for an injured employee who finds out his or her employer does not have workers’ compensation.
The Practical Steps
First, use Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry’s workers’ compensation insurance verification tool. When employers refuse to provide worker’s compensation information, this is a great tool to determine whether or not they are carrying coverage. However, the Department of Labor warns not to assume your employer does not have coverage if they are not on the list.
Second, if your employer is operating without workers’ compensation insurance, report them to the Department of Labor & Industry. The Special Compensation Fund will then begin an investigation.
Third, if your employer is confirmed to be uninsured, you can claim workers’ compensation benefits from the Special Compensation Fund. This includes wage loss benefits, such as temporary total disability or temporary partial disability, and other benefits like medical coverage.
Keep in mind that the Special Compensation Fund has limited means and funds. Therefore, like a workman’s compensation insurance company, it has the motive to minimize the wages and medical benefits it pays out. Often, it is beneficial for an employee of an uninsured employer to seek out the help of a workers’ compensation attorney. This helps to ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to after a workplace injury.
As always, our team of Minneapolis workers’ compensation lawyers, including Benjamin Heimerl, Mike Lammers, and Amy Robertson, are available to discuss your case during a free consultation. We are here to help fight for your rights.