An Overview Of The Workers’ Comp Process
Workers’ compensation is a program that has existed in Minnesota since 1913. The idea was simple: Give injured workers an easy way to receive medical care and a portion of their lost wages without having to sue their employers. In exchange for providing benefits, employers would be protected against injury lawsuits brought by their workers. Unfortunately, our workers’ compensation system often favors employers and insurers over the rights of employees. Those who get injured at work often find it necessary (or at least very helpful) to seek representation and guidance from an experienced attorney.
The Atkinson Gerber Law Office represents people in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and statewide in workers’ compensation claims. Our firm was founded with the goal of providing competent legal services for injured and disabled people throughout Minnesota. We believe that every person deserves to be represented by a skilled attorney, regardless of the circumstances of their situation.
What Is The Workers’ Compensation Claims Process In Minnesota?
The first steps for any injured worker should be to seek emergency medical attention, if needed, and to contact our law firm. Our skilled Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyers will then guide you through the rest of the process and work to obtain the maximum compensation available for your injury. We invite you to review the following information to learn more about the various stages of the workers’ compensation claims process in Minnesota:
- Report your workplace injury – You must report the accident to your company if you want to seek workers’ compensation benefits. Notifying the company as soon as possible is the best practice. You should understand that you do not have to worry about being fired or harassed for filing a claim. Your rights are protected under the law.
- File your workers’ comp claim – The exact process for filing a claim in Minnesota will differ depending on the nature of your accident and the types of injuries you suffered. We can walk you through the claims process that is appropriate for your situation.
- Get medical treatment – Within 60 days of your injury, you should be examined by a physician of your choice. If your employer tells you to choose a certain doctor, you have the right to refuse. You want a doctor who is neutral, not one in the pay of the insurance company.
- Work with a qualified rehabilitation counselor (QRC) – If you are under work restrictions due to your injury, the state of Minnesota is obligated to offer the services of a QRC. Vocational rehabilitation may help you get back to work. You are also obligated to work with a QRC or risk losing your workers’ compensation benefits.
- Obtain your workers’ compensation benefits – You may be eligible for a variety of benefits, including money to cover your lost wages and medical expenses as well as vocational rehabilitation services.
Our firm is led by partners Tom Atkinson, Kerry Atkinson and Dana Gerber. The attorneys have prior experience representing large-scale insurance companies, providing them with the ability to anticipate the actions of insurance companies and other attorneys, and better representation of injured workers in Minnesota.
How Do I Know If I Have A Claim?
If you have been injured at work and the doctor confirms that you have a workplace injury, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits such as wage loss and medical benefits. When you come to our law firm, we will ask detailed questions regarding the:
- Nature of the accident
- Extent of the injury
- Missed work
- Paid medical benefits and wages
At Atkinson Gerber Law Office, we understand what our clients are facing. We take time to listen to what you have to say, answer your questions and will work to make certain that your case gets resolved as quickly as possible. We will help you complete all the necessary forms, explain the differences in the types of paperwork that you must complete and explain every step of the process.
Attorney Tom Atkinson has personally gone through the process of filing a workers’ comp claim after suffering an on-the-job injury. Knowing firsthand the challenges that you are facing allows him to provide the most effective representation for your work injury claim.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Am I Entitled To?
Injured employees are entitled to be paid total wage loss (which is paid at two-thirds of the wage at the time of the injury) or partial wage loss (which is paid at two-thirds of the wage differential between your wage at the time of the injury and your current wage). There are limitations on how long a person is entitled to either total or partial wage loss depending upon the date of injury.
There are also benefits for permanent partial disability, although the type and manner in which those benefits are paid can vary.
If you sustain a work-related injury, you are entitled to medical benefits regardless of whether you have health insurance through your employer or your spouse’s employer. There are also vocational rehabilitation benefits, including potential retraining. There are many additional benefits that a person may be entitled to, depending upon the circumstances and the applicable law. Contact Minnesota workers’ comp lawyer Thomas Atkinson from Atkinson Gerber Law Office to ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to receive.
How Can I Maximize My Workers’ Comp Benefits?
After a work-related injury, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. What you might not realize is that there are steps you can take to make sure you are receiving the maximum amount of compensation available under the law. We offer the following pointers to help you make the most of your benefits following a workplace injury:
- Seek medical treatment with the best physician available. Don’t opt for a doctor recommended by your employer’s insurer.
- Stay in frequent contact with your health care providers. If your injury worsens or changes in any way, make sure to contact your doctor.
- Stay in regular contact with your qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC).
- Make sure you have appropriate work restrictions for tasks you can physically perform at your job. If you are unable to perform work under your work restrictions, discuss this with your doctor right away.
- Keep your employer updated on your work restrictions.
- Always tell the truth.
For best results getting your expenses and losses covered as fully as you can, follow directions and advice from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
How Long Do I Have Before I Can File My Claim?
In Minnesota, the general rule is that you have 30 days to inform your employer that you were injured, although there may be exceptions that allow up to 180 days. (Most people inform their employers if they were injured immediately, or shortly thereafter, and in many circumstances, the employer knows that the person was injured right away.)
In Minnesota, you generally have three years before you can commence a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Once benefits have been paid (in any form whether it be wage loss, medical or otherwise), there is no more statute of limitation problems in Minnesota. In other words, once the insurance company has paid a single benefit, a claim can be commenced at any time thereafter, sometimes years or even decades later. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience in navigating the complexities of the Minnesota workers’ compensation process.
I live in Minnesota, but I got hurt in Wisconsin (or, I live in Wisconsin and got hurt in Minnesota). What law applies?
If you are injured in Minnesota, regardless of the state or country you call home, you are entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits. Likewise, if you were hired by a Minnesota employer and work outside of Minnesota, there is a very good chance you are also eligible for Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits. Finally, traveling employees passing through the state or Minnesota employees traveling outside the state are entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits.
Should I get a lawyer even if the insurance company is paying all of my benefits?
Workers’ compensation rules and laws in Minnesota are very complicated, and because the laws are constantly changing due to legislative changes, seeking the advice of an experienced, aggressive attorney is always a good idea. Again, it costs nothing to hire a lawyer for a workers’ compensation claim. Our lawyers will be paid only a percentage of the benefits they help you obtain. If you are already receiving benefits, the lawyer will not begin receiving a percentage of the benefits you are receiving. The lawyer will only receive a percentage of the benefits they help you obtain.
The workers’ compensation process depends on the specific facts of your case. We are here to help you through the complex process, call today or schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. This is the best way to learn more about the system and make the best choice for you.
How do attorneys get paid and can I afford an attorney?
There is no fee to hire Atkinson Law Office, P.A., to represent you. In Minnesota, attorneys are paid 25% of the first $4,000 of benefits recovered and 20% thereafter, subject to a maximum fee of $13,000 (although occasionally there are exceptions to the maximum fee limitations). Phone calls and initial consultations are always free. The attorney’s fee in Minnesota workers’ compensation depends on the facts of the case and the matter of the dispute and must be approved by a judge. Contact our office for more information.
Contact Our Twin Cities Workman’s Comp Lawyers For A Free Consultation
Please contact our Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation at 800-583-7016. We can be reached 24/7 with our after-hours answering service and are available to schedule consultations at your convenience. If your injury prevents you from visiting our staff in the office, we are happy to make home, hospital and off-site consultations by appointment.