Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Minnesota

 In Workers' Compensation

The Minnesota legislature developed the workers’ compensation system with the goal of ensuring certainty and security of wage loss and medical benefits to employees in the event of a work injury, illness or death. Minn. Stat. 176.001. As a result, employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits based on a no-fault system. This means that an employee does not need to defend against contributory negligence or prove that the employer was negligent in order to receive benefits. Minn. Stat. 176.001.

As a trade-off for this certainty and security, the workers’ compensation system limits the remedies available to employees, thereby prohibiting an employee to sue an employer for damages such as emotional distress and pain and suffering. The worker’s comp system in Minnesota instead provides four distinct categories of benefits to employees. Given that the benefits available to an injured employee depend greatly on the date of the injury, the following are the benefits available to a qualified employee injured in 2013.

Medical Benefits

An employee may receive medical treatment that is reasonable and necessary either at the time of the injury or anytime thereafter to cure or relieve the work-related injury or illness.  This may include medical, surgical, medicinal, and, in some occasions, psychological treatment.

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

If an employee suffers a complete loss or permanent impairment to any body part as a result of the work-related injury, the employee may seek permanent partial disability benefits. Based on the body part lost or permanently disabled, the treating physician provides the injured individual with an impairment rating. This rating is then used to calculate the benefit amounts based on a predetermined schedule.

Rehabilitation and Retraining Benefits

  • Rehabilitation: The Workers’ Compensation offers vocational rehabilitation so the employee can return to work at the employee’s former employer or at a similar position. The rehabilitation process involves a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) who determines whether an injured employee qualifies for rehabilitation benefits. The QRC will develop a rehabilitation plan and provide periodic rehabilitation progress notes that aim at restoring the injured employee to an economic status as close as possible to that if the employee had never suffered an injury.
  • Retraining: An injured employee may be eligible for retraining consisting of a formal course of study in a school setting.

Wage Loss Benefits

To determine the amount of wage loss benefits, an injured employee must first know their average weekly wage (AWW). If an employee does not have an AWW set by a salary, contract, or collective bargaining agreement but rather has a wage that is difficult to determine or is a part-time employee, the average weekly wage is based on the employee’s earnings during the 26 weeks before the injury. Wage loss benefits are then based on 2/3 of the AWW.

  • Temporary total disability benefits (TTD): If an injured employee is completely unable to hold or find employment directly caused or substantially contributed by a work injury, the employee may seek TTD benefits. An injured employee may seek up to 130 weeks of TTD benefits paid at 2/3 of their AWW.
  • Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD): If an injured employee is able to return to work, but suffers a loss to their earning capacity as a result of the injury, the individual may seek TPD benefits. An injured employee may seek up to 225 weeks of TPD benefits. The amount paid out each week is based on 2/3 the difference between the employee’s AWW on the date of injury and what the employee is actually able to earn after the injury. For example, if an employee made $15.00 per hour on the date of injury but afterwards could only get a job that paid $10.00 per hour as a result of the injury, the employee is entitled to 2/3 of $5.00.

Additional benefits include things such as dependent benefits and permanent total disability benefits.

Seek Help If You Are Unsure of What to Do to Get Work Comp Benefits

As workers’ compensation attorneys in Minnesota, we understand that the workers’ comp system can be confusing and daunting. What constitutes a work-related injury or occupational illness can vary greatly from injuring a knee while lifting a heavy object to a heart attack caused by on-the-job stress.

If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness and need legal assistance in the matter, call us for a free consultation. And remember, you must immediately report any and all injuries to your employer, as failing to report an injury can result in not being able to obtain benefits in the future.

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