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Minnesota Workers' Compensation Laws

While Minnesotans are known for being able to drive through the most treacherous road conditions without batting an eyelash, they're not immune to workplace injuries and illnesses once they actually get to work. Therefore, the state requires employers to purchase workers' compensation insurance, which covers work-related injuries and illnesses regardless of fault. If you've been injured or fallen ill while at work in the North Star State, you'll need to understand the process for pursuing workers' compensation in Minnesota.

The table below outlines key aspects of the workers' compensation laws in Minnesota, including important timelines and some types of benefits.

Important Deadlines
  • 14 days to inform employer of injury to receive maximum benefits; 30 days, unless employer shows they were disadvantaged by delay (Sec. 176.141 & 145)
  • 3 year time limit to determine or recover compensation (Sec. 176.151)
Some Types of Benefits
  • Medical care: all reasonable and necessary medical treatment or supplies required to treat the injury, including necessary travel expenses (Sec. 176.135)
  • Wage-loss: benefits for a percentage of income loss due to disability (temporary or permanent; partial or total) (Sec. 176.101)
  • Vocational rehabilitation: services and training if you can't return to your job or employer, or if you require modifications to your current job, or if your surviving spouse needs training to become self-supporting (Sec. 176.102)
  • Death benefits: for burial costs, spouse, and dependents of an employee who dies from a work-related injury or disease (Sec. 176.021)
Employer Obligations
  • All employers required to purchase workers' compensation insurance or obtain approval for self-insurance (with limited exceptions) (Sec. 176.021, 176.181, 176.011(Subd.9))
  • Employer has right to choose medical provider for employee in limited cases (Sec. 176.1351)

Who Is Covered by Workers' Compensation?

Minnesota has strict workers' compensation laws in that all employers must provide this insurance even if they have only one part-time employee. And most people who perform paid services for another are considered employees -- even minors and non-citizens -- though some types of workers are not automatically covered, such as independent contractors. Lastly, injuries that are caused, aggravated, or accelerated by employment activities are covered by workers' compensation insurance.

Sick or Injured? See a Doctor and Tell Your Employer

If you're sick or hurt, you should get medical attention and tell your supervisor within 14 days of the injury or illness. You risk losing your benefits altogether if you don't give notice to your employer within 180 days and give good reason for the delay. After you've missed three days of work, your employer then has 10 days to submit a first report of injury or illness to their insurance company who must either deny your claim or begin making payments.

What if There's a Problem with My Claim?

In exchange for workers' compensation, you generally give up your right to sue your employer. However, if your claim is denied or there is a dispute regarding benefits, you do have options, including the following:

  • Call the insurance claims adjuster and attempt to resolve the issue with them;
  • Discuss the problem with an Alternative Dispute Resolution specialist at the Department of Labor and Industry; or
  • Request a hearing by filing an Employee's Claim Petition form (many employees choose to have an attorney help with preparing documents, meeting deadlines, and arguing their case during these proceedings)

Injured and Overwhelmed? Receive a Free Claim Review from a Minnesota Attorney

In addition to the physical toll of workplace injuries and illnesses, they can cause huge financial headaches as well. Workers' compensation benefits can alleviate some of that stress, but you'll need to adhere to deadlines and other requirements in order to receive them. Let an attorney familiar with Minnesota's workers' compensation laws provide a free claim evaluation on the strength and potential of your claim.

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