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Workers' Compensation Resources

Workers' Compensation FAQs

I was hurt at work. What should I do?
First, report your injury to your supervisor and ask him or her to fill out a First Report of Injury. Next, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your employer may ask you to see one of their doctors for an initial examination, but you have the right to see your own doctor if you wish.

Tell your doctor you were hurt at work, explain your symptoms, and ask him or her to provide you with work restrictions, if appropriate. Provide those work restrictions to your employer. Follow your doctor's recommendations for treatment. Contact a lawyer to learn how to protect your rights during the process. Back to Top

I was hurt at work, but I’ve worked there for years and have a good relationship with my employer. We’re like family. Do I really need to hire a lawyer?
As a general rule of thumb, even if your employer and their insurance company initially accept your workers' compensation claim, it's not a matter of "if" they will deny your claim, but "when."  You may be like family to your employer, but your employer is a business and as such must look out for the interests of their organization first, which means they will try to minimize their losses.

The Minnesota Workers' Compensation system is very complex, including strict time limits, specific procedures, and complicated rules. Businesses, employers and insurers are naturally looking to protect the financial interests of their organizations and, realistically, are not primarily concerned with protecting your best interests. Even if your employer is truly family, your employer’s knowledge of the workers’ compensation rules may simply be limited to what they need to know to protect their interests and as such, they may not know all that you need to do to protect your rights to the benefits which you may be entitled to now and in the future. Most employers expect that you will obtain a lawyer to advise you – it is what makes the process fair for both sides. Back to Top

What types of injuries are covered by Minnesota Workers' Compensation?
Covered injuries include any type of injury, illness, or condition that occurs at work or because of your work activities, an aggravation or re-injury of a pre-existing injury or condition, or conditions or injuries that develop gradually, such as low back conditions, repetitive motion injuries, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Workers’ comp also covers illnesses that are contracted in the workplace, or conditions that develop as a result of exposure to chemicals or toxins. Back to Top

What benefits are available to me under the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Act?

  • Wage loss benefits, including temporary total disability benefits, temporary partial disability benefits, or permanent total disability benefits
  • Permanent partial disability benefits
  • Reasonable and necessary medical treatment and expenses
  • Vocational rehabilitation, retraining, and/or the assistance of a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant Back to Top

What is a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) and am I entitled to one?
A qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) provides professional rehabilitation services if you need help returning to work due to your work injury. You have the right to choose your own QRC. If you do not, your employer and their insurance company may refer you to one. It is important that you choose your own QRC to make sure your QRC is looking after your best interests. At Meuser & Associate we can put you in contact with QRC’s that we know and trust. There are specific time limits with regards to requesting the assistance of a QRC of your own choosing. If you have just been contacted by a QRC assigned to you, contact your attorney right away to preserve your right to select the QRC of your choice. Back to Top

The insurance company is not paying my provider for my medical treatment or won't approve treatment. What should I do?
Insurance companies frequently deny payment for chiropractic treatment or physical therapy, or refuse to authorize MRI’s, CT-scans, or a consultation with a specialist. If the insurance company is denying payment for treatment related to your injury, or refuses to authorize the treatment you need, we can help. We will file a claim on your behalf to get the bills paid or to get the treatment authorized. Back to Top

My doctor gave me restrictions, and my employer says they don't have work within those restrictions. I was laid off or fired. What do I do?
If your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions, you may be entitled to wage loss benefits and/or the assistance of a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC). Call us today to make sure you get the benefits you entitled to until you can get back to work. Back to Top

It is important to know that if your employer tells you that you've been laid off due to economic reasons or if you were fired for reasons other than your work injury, you may still be entitled to wage loss benefits, so long as you have physical restrictions that limit your ability to secure employment at an earning level comparable to the amount you were earning at the time of your injury. Call us today and we can help you recover the benefits you deserve. Back to Top

I found a new job, but I'm earning less money. Am I entitled to the difference?
You may be entitled to Temporary Partial Disability benefits, or two-thirds of the difference between what you were making at the time of your injury, and what you are earning now. Back to Top

How much do I get for my knee surgery, herniated disc, broken ankle, carpal tunnel surgery, etc.?
Minnesota Workers' Compensation law has set up a schedule of percentages for just about any kind of injury imaginable. That percentage is then multiplied by a dollar value to determine your entitlement for Permanent Partial Disability benefits.

Even if the workers’ comp insurance company paid you Permanent Partial Disability benefits, you may be entitled to more. Often insurance companies inaccurately calculate your entitlement to Permanent Partial Disability benefits. Back to Top

I don't like my doctor or the doctor that my employer sent me to. Can I switch doctors?
The Minnesota Workers' Compensation system has specific rules that must be followed when changing doctors, otherwise the insurance company may not pay for the new doctor. We can help you change doctors. Back to Top

How much does it cost to hire a workers' compensation lawyer?
It costs you nothing out of pocket. Meuser & Associate handles workers' compensation cases on a contingency fee basis only. This means that you pay nothing if we do not recover benefits on your behalf. In Minnesota, the fees received by workers’ compensation attorneys are set by Minnesota law. If we recover monetary benefits on your behalf, we receive 25% of the first $4,000 and 20% thereafter, up to a maximum of $13,000. If your case involves a medical or rehabilitation dispute only, the workers' compensation insurance company is responsible for paying our attorney fees. Back to Top

What can I do to help my attorney protect my rights?

  • Regularly visit your physician to discuss your treatment options and job restrictions.
  • Save copies of all letters, forms, and checks from the insurance company, and medical bills.
  • Keep track of your mileage for vocational rehabilitation and medical visits.
  • Keep track of any expenses you pay for out of pocket, such as prescriptions, parking, or bus fare. Back to Top

I got a letter from the workers' compensation insurance company scheduling me for an IME. Do I have to go?
It depends. An independent medical examination is an exam conducted by a doctor hired by the insurance company. The doctor issues an opinion regarding the cause of your injury, the extent of your injury, work restrictions, the date you reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), and the extent of your permanent partial disability. The doctor's opinion can have a serious impact on your entitlement to benefits.

Under certain circumstances, you may have to attend the examination. In those circumstances, if you do not attend the independent medical examination, you may be responsible for paying for the appointment, or you may be assessed a cancellation fee. Back to Top

I received a Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits from the insurance company. What should I do?
If you receive a Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits (NOID) that means the insurance company is attempting to cut off your benefits. You have a very limited amount of time to challenge the insurance company's attempt to discontinue your benefits. Just because the insurance company says they are discontinuing your benefits does not mean that you have to simply accept it. We will explore all possible objections to their discontinuance. Back to Top

My doctor released me to work with light duty restrictions, but my employer does not have any work within those restrictions. Do I have to look for a new job?
It depends. If your restrictions are expected to decrease in the near term, you do not have to look for a new job. However, if your restrictions are permanent and your employer is unable to accommodate your restrictions, you will have to begin looking for a new job. In order to receive ongoing wage loss benefits, you must conduct a job search once you are released to work with restrictions and your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions. Do not sign a Job Placement Plan or start looking for a job until you speak with one of our attorneys. The manner in which you conduct and document your job search will dictate your entitlement to benefits. Back to Top

I'm not happy with my current lawyer. Can I change lawyers?
Yes, you have the absolute right to terminate your lawyer at any time for any reason. We can take over representation of your claim without delay or additional expense. There are no additional attorney fees even if you change lawyers. Back to Top

I have a workers' compensation injury. Am I entitled to any other benefits?
You may be entitled to a variety of other benefits, including, but not limited to, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), Social Security Income (SSI), Unemployment Compensation, Short and/or Long-Term Disability Benefits, Retirement Benefits, and/or Disability Benefits. If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision while in the scope and duty of employment, you may also be entitled to benefits under a civil liability claim as well as compensation for expenses under No Fault insurance. Back to Top

My application for In the Line of Duty Benefits was denied by the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA). What should I do?
We can help you with your application for PERA disability benefits, or to appeal an adverse determination. Our office has helped numerous police officers, firefighters, and paramedics obtain these benefits. If your application has been denied, contact us as soon as possible! You have a limited time to appeal the PERA determination. Back to Top

How long do I have to report my injury?
As a general rule, you should report your injury to your employer within 30 days, but you may have up to 180 days to report the injury in some circumstances. However, there are numerous exceptions to this rule. Even if you did not report your injury within these time frames, there is still a substantial likelihood that we can make a claim on your behalf. Back to Top

How long do I have to make a claim for workers' compensation benefits?
Generally, you must make an initial claim for benefits within three years of your injury. However, there are many exceptions to this general rule. Even if your injury happened 5, 10, 15, or 20 years ago, you may be entitled to benefits. Back to Top

The workers' compensation insurance company says my chiropractic treatment or physical therapy is outside of the passive treatment parameters. What do I do?
While the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation rules do set up general guidelines for chiropractic treatment and physical therapy, there are many exceptions to those rules. Insurance companies often send letters seeking to discourage workers’ from continuing treatment, intentionally misrepresenting the law. If the workers' compensation insurer is denying your chiropractic treatment or physical therapy, call us today for a free consultation. We will file a claim on your behalf to make the workers' compensation insurer pay for your medical bills. Back to Top

Can I get fired for filing a workers’ comp claim?
No. Minnesota law prohibits an employer from firing an employee in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. Unfortunately, that does not always stop an employer or a supervisor from harassing you, trying to force you to quit, or fabricating a reason to fire you. Call us today if you are having problems at work after you've filed a workers’ comp claim. Back to Top

I was hurt at work, and I missed time off of work. Does my employer have to take me back?
Not necessarily. If your employer refuses to take you back after you've been released to work for light duty, or if your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions, you may be entitled to wage loss benefits and the assistance of a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC). If your employer won't take you back after a work injury, call Meuser & Associate for a free consultation. We'll make sure that you get the benefits you are entitled to while you get back on your feet. Back to Top

I was injured on the job, and now my supervisor is making my life miserable. Can I quit?
Do not quit your job until you speak with us! If you quit your job, it may have a very serious impact on your entitlement to benefits. If you already quit your job, give us a call. We most likely can make a claim for benefits on your behalf. Back to Top

How long does the workers’ comp insurance company have to pay my benefits?
Generally, the insurer must make payment within 14 days after receiving notice of time lost due to a work injury. If you are receiving temporary partial disability benefits, the insurer has 10 days from the day you send in your check stubs to make payment. If the insurance company has been ordered to make payments by the workers' compensation division, a workers’ comp judge, or the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals, payment must be made within 14 days.

Not surprisingly, insurance companies are often late with their payments. If you are out of work, or working at a wage loss, late payments can put you in a difficult financial situation. In some instances, there may be penalties available against the employer or insurer if they are continuously late. Call us today if you are having problems getting your workers' compensation benefits on time. Back to Top

How do I know if the insurance company is paying me the right amount?
Your wage loss benefits are calculated under a specific formula set up by the Minnesota Legislature. To determine the amount you are entitled to, first, your average weekly wage (AWW) is calculated, usually by averaging your gross earnings over the 26 weeks prior to your date of injury. If you are off work completely due to your work injury, you are entitled to total temporary disability benefits, which is two-thirds of your average weekly wage. If you are working at a reduced wage, you are entitled to temporary partial disability, which is two-thirds of the difference between what you were earning at the time of your injury and what you are currently earning. Remember, wage loss benefits are non-taxable.

Keep in mind that the insurance company often uses a calculation method to keep their costs as low as possible, meaning that they may be under-calculating your average weekly wage. Call us today if you think the insurance company is underpaying your benefits. Back to Top

I was in a car accident while I was at work. Who pays my bills?
This is a very common scenario. If you are involved in an auto accident while on the job, you may have claims against both workers' comp and the automobile insurance company of the person at fault. If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision while you are at work, driving to or from a work function, driving between job sites, transporting people or cargo as part of your job duties, or running errands for work, call us to make sure you protect and have opportunity to claim all the benefits to which you are entitled as a result of your injury. Back to Top

I was hurt at work, but my employer says it was a personal injury, not a workers' compensation claim. Who pays my bills?
If there is a third party who is at fault for your injuries, other than your employer or co-workers, you may have a personal injury liability claim in addition to a workers' compensation claim. This type of situation occurs frequently in slip and fall accidents off your employer's premises, car accidents, exposure to chemicals, and accidents on construction job sites. Call us today for a free consultation. We'll make sure we pursue every avenue to make sure you are justly compensated for your injuries. Back to Top

I have a condition that I believe is due to my work activities, but my employer says it's not work-related. What can I do?
There are many types of conditions that people don't instantly associate with workers' compensation. Some types of injuries, like degenerative back conditions, arthritis of the joints, ligament tears, repetitive motion injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, take months or years to develop. These types of injuries are compensable under the workers' compensation system. Other types of conditions, such as heart attacks, chronic pain syndrome, lung conditions from exposure to toxins, hepatitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, frostbite, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression are often compensable under the workers' compensation system.

Employers and workers' compensation insurers also frequently try to deny claims if an injured worker has prior injuries or pre-existing conditions. So long as your work-injury is a "substantial contributing factor" to your current condition, it is covered under work comp, even if other health problems are also contributing to your disability.

If your employer or the workers' compensation insurance company says that your condition is not work related, but you believe that it may be, call us today for a free consultation. Back to Top

I was hurt at work, but my employer says they don't have workers' comp insurance. What do I do?
Call us today! We will file the appropriate paperwork to record your injury. The vast majority of employers are required to carry workers' comp insurance, but unfortunately, some don't. Even if your employer did not have insurance, you are still covered for workers' compensation benefits through the Special Compensation Fund. Back to Top

My workers' compensation claim is being denied, but I need medical treatment, what do I do?
Unfortunately, many health care providers will not treat you unless you have some kind of insurance. Call us today to discuss your options while your claim is pending. Back to Top

I was hurt at work. My employer doesn't want to report my injury, but they say they'll pay my medical bills. What should I do?
Small businesses are often concerned that if they have a workers' comp claim, their insurance premiums will go up. That is usually not the case. What does usually happen is that the employer gets that first medical bill, and decides that they are not going to pay it. The next step is usually firing or laying off the injured worker. A claim can still be made for workers' compensation benefits if your employer did not report the injury, but it is better to insist that your employer fill out a First Report of Injury. Reporting your injury can usually help avoid future delays in your benefits. If your employer refuses to file a First Report of Injury, call us today and we will file the necessary paperwork. Back to Top

Are independent contractors entitled to workers' compensation benefits?
No. This situation arises quite frequently in the IT field and in the construction industry. Independent contractors with no employees are not covered by workers' compensation insurance unless the company or individual contracting with the independent contractor chooses to purchase insurance for that person or the independent contractor elects to purchase coverage for him or herself.

However, even if your employer says you're an "independent contractor," it does not mean that you are one under Minnesota Workers’ Compensation law. In order to be considered an "independent contractor," rather than an employee, several specific criteria must be met. Generally, to determine whether you're an independent contractor or not, a judge would consider the following factors: 1) the right to control the means and manner of performance; 2) the mode of payment; 3) the furnishing of tools and materials; 4) control over the premises where the work was done; 5) the right of discharge; and 6) the degree of control one party has the right to exert over another. Many people who work in the construction field are hired as "independent contractors," however, frequently these individuals are actually employees despite what they are labeled as by their employer. If you are hurt on the job and are not sure whether you're an independent contractor or an employee, call us today for a free consultation. Back to Top

My claim is small...should I still get an attorney?
Even if you think your claim is small or that your injury isn't serious, you may be surprised by the types of benefits you may be entitled to. Too often, what starts as a relatively minor injury turns out to be something much more serious down the road. It is important that you take your injury seriously and get the medical attention you need.

Meuser & Associate handles cases ranging from temporary strains and sprains to catastrophic injuries. No matter the size of your claim or the type of injury, we're happy to meet with you for a free consultation. Back to Top

What is retraining and how can I get it?
If you cannot return to your former job due to your work injury, or if you cannot return to a similar job in the same field, or if you are not likely to be able to return to your former level of earning, you may be eligible for retraining benefits. Retraining is a formal course of study or schooling designed to help you return to suitable gainful employment. Employers and workers' compensation insurers are required to give equal consideration to both rehabilitation benefits and retraining benefits. The reality is, however, that the insurance company will rarely voluntarily pay for retraining. If you cannot go back to your former job field because of a work injury, call us today to find out if you are entitled to retraining benefits. Back to Top

The workers' comp insurance company is giving me a hard time. Can I do anything about it?
In some circumstances, we can make a claim for penalties against the insurance company if they are not following the rules. Penalties may be available if the insurance company is late paying your benefits, if the employer was late in filing the First Report of Injury, if the insurance company files a late denial of primary liability, if the insurance company's denial is frivolous, if the insurer fails to respond to written communications, if the insurance company fails to pay or denies medical bills within a certain time period, or if the insurer tells you not to hire an attorney.

If you're tired of dealing with the insurance company, give us a call. We can handle the issues so you don't have to. Back to Top


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