Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Here For You
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that employers in Mankato, Minnesota are legally required to carry on behalf of their employees. When an employee is injured on the job, their employer’s workers’ compensation policy is there to provide the employee with medical coverage and compensate them for their lost wages. Minnesota employers are legally required to provide coverage for all medical procedures that are “reasonable and necessary” to allow the employee to recover from their injury.
Although this all sounds very straightforward and simple, it can often be difficult for an employee to obtain the benefits that they are entitled to under the law. The employer’s attorneys and the insurance adjustors handle workers’ compensation claims. The underlying goal of these professionals is to pay the employee as little as possible and thereby retain enough money for their company to turn a profit.
It is for this reason that we ask you to contact the Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office Chtd. for immediate assistance. Our Mankato workers’ compensation attorneys are prepared to help you recover due compensation for your injuries.
How the Workers’ Compensation System Works
Injured employees must follow specific protocol in order to recover payment under the workers’ compensation system. In general, the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim looks likes this:
You are injured on the job.
In Minnesota this injury can mean several different things. Sometimes it is obvious, such as when an employee is injured by a piece of machinery at a job site. Other times it is less obvious, such as a repetitive movement injury. These occur where an employee suffers muscle strain or tension from constantly doing the same motion at work.
You must notify your employer directly thereafter.
It is critical, under Minnesota law, that you notify your employer of your injury as soon as it is possible. Not doing so could cost you your right to recover anything at all. In return, your employer will file a First Report of Injury form with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Workers’ Compensation Division. Your employer must provide you with a copy of the completed form.
You must seek medical attention.
Be sure to inform your healthcare provider that your injury occurred at work. Your doctor will provide you with a Report of Work Ability form, which you will provide to your employer. The form will tell your employer what physical limitations you have as a result of your injuries. It is in your best interest to tell your doctor the details of your injury and all symptoms you have related to your injury.
Your insurer will file an NOPLD form.
Your insurance adjustor will file a Notice of Insurer’s Primary Liability Determination form. This form is filed with the state and explains whether the insurance company is accepting or denying your claim.
Your benefits are conferred or denied.
If your claim is denied, you have an option to contact your insurance adjustor. This is likely not in your best interest as the insurer has already made a determination; having an attorney negotiate on your behalf is your best option. If your claim is accepted you will be paid one or a combination of the following benefits: monetary benefits for lost wages, medical benefits to cover treatment, or rehabilitation benefits for your recovery.
Workers Compensation FAQ’s
I. General Questions
What should I do if I get hurt on the job?
Tell your employer as soon as possible provided it is medically feasible to do so. If you cannot tell your supervisor or boss immediately because you need to seek emergency medical treatment first, then make sure you tell him or her at your next earliest opportunity. Your employer should then fill out a document which is called a First Report of Injury or “FROI” to file with the state. It’s very important to file the FROI as soon as possible as it can make it more difficult to receive compensation if you don’t file this document.
What kinds of injuries are covered under Minnesota’s Workers’ Compensation laws.
Any “work-related” injury you sustain as a result your employment is covered. This can include so-called repetitive use injuries like back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome as well as the obvious being cut at work, falling down, getting a hand caught in a machine, even walking to and from your car can be covered under MN Work Comp laws.
What kind of benefits am I entitled to under work comp?
You are entitled to receive payment of your medical bills that stem from your injury as well as wage loss benefits that result from missing work (or making less pay) as a result of your injury. You may also receive compensation for loss of use of any of your body parts as well as rehabilitation benefits to help you get back to work if possible. This can get very tricky to determine all of the compensation that you are entitled to.
What if my employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance?
By law, every employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for its employees. There are some very specific exceptions, like small family farms, that apply in some cases. If you have questions, consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Can I get compensation from my employer from chronic pain, RSD or CRPS?
Possibly, if the injury you receive is based upon your years at work and you are subject to chronic pain you may be entitled to compensation. These case can be difficult, but if you are living with chronic, daily pain you know how tough it can be to even get out of bed. You should absolutely consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to explore your rights and benefits.
II. Medical Benefits
Do I get to choose my own doctor?
In general, you may choose to treat with any doctor you would like. There are some instances involving union agreements and managed care plans where the employer/insurer may be able to limit your choice of doctors, but this not based on Minnesota Workers’ Compensation laws. There are some instances you can even go to your own chiropractor as well.
Will work comp insurance pay for any medical procedure I want?
In general, the Minnesota Law requires payment of any medical treatment that is “reasonable and necessary” to cure or relieve the employee from the effects of the work injury. An example is if you get cut at work, the employer will pay for transportation the emergency room as well as the ER visit and stitches to stop the bleeding. This would be an example of what is reasonably necessary to help the employee.
What is an independent medical examination (IME)?
An independent medical examination (IME) is an evaluation performed by a doctor chosen by the employer or insurer to provide, in most cases, an opinion adverse to your treating doctors. The short version is that this doctor is going against you. They aren’t your friends, this is not a doctor who wants to make you feel better or treat you. The Employer has a right to request an IME with a doctor it selects, at reasonable times and places. Under most circumstances, the examination must be within 150 miles of the employee’s residence. The insurer must pay for the exam and must reimburse the employee for reasonable mileage and other costs of attending the examination.
Can I refuse to talk to the Independent Medical Examination doctor (IME)?
Generally not. In Minnesota if you are seeking benefits from an injury at work then you are placing your health at issue then the employer does have the right to see if you are in fact, truly injured. IME’s are serious business and the Doctor is not your friend and is getting paid by your employer. It is best to talk to an attorney about the IME and get the tips and advice you need to successfully complete the examination.
III. Attorney Fees
How do I pay for my attorney?
All work comp attorneys in Minnesota get paid out of the benefits they obtain for the injured employee. They all get paid under the same contingent formula. If they obtain an amount of money, they get 25% of the first $1000 and 20% of the next $60,000, with a cap on fees of $13,000. If they obtain a non-monetary benefit, like a medical procedure that has been denied, then that same 25/20 formula applies to the value of the benefit.
What if the value of the benefit in dispute is small? Will an attorney still agree to take my case?
In cases where the contingent attorney fee is too small to reasonably compensate the attorney for the time and effort he or she expends in obtaining the benefit, the attorney can petition the insurer to pay the costs.
How do I pick the right work comp lawyer?
Since workers’ compensation lawyers all charge the same amount of money you should shop around, find an experienced work comp lawyer who you feel comfortable with. You need an attorney who has been doing this for a number years and who specializes in workers’ compensation.
Can any lawyer do work comp cases?
The legal answer is yes, any licensed Minnesota attorney can represent you in a work comp injury, however the better question is do you want just any lawyer to help you? Unlike the medical field where there are very specific specialties such as radiology, anesthesiology, and surgery, the legal field is a bit different. Lawyers tend to specialize, but there are very few organizations that certify a lawyer and currently there is no approved “work comp specialist” in Minnesota. This is why you need to ask your lawyer exactly how much of their practice is dedicated to work comp.
Is the phone book the best place to find a workers’ compensation lawyer?
Maybe, but probably not. Remember the phone book is just an ad, and a very brief ad at that. A better place is to really do your research and look at the blogs and websites to see if you connect with the lawyer.
IV. Additional Questions
What is DOLI?
DOLI stands for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, they are located in St. Paul and generally handle the work comp claims process. They do not represent clients, like a lawyer, but instead they focus on the logistic details of the work comp process.
Can my employer spy on me or take videos?
Yes they can and they frequently do. If you are claiming a permanent or even a temporary serious injury, your employer can videotape you without your knowledge. While you should never make false claims, if you are going to work outside and just “deal with the pain” remember that the video will show you doing work and you may not get to explain how much pain you are in. It is important to think like the employer and remember their goal is to pay you as little money as possible for your work injury.
Can my employer look at my facebook page too?
Yes, you need to always remember once you make a claim that you are injured your entire life becomes an issue. If you have facebook pictures of going and hiking a mountain or rollerblading it will not look good to the Judge if you claim you have serious back pain.
How do workers compensation claims settle?
An injured worker can resolve their claim in a few ways including mediation, informal mediation, discussion between the adjuster and attorneys or trial. Most cases do settle short of trial usually during mediation. It is hard to be specific for because each case is very different, but one thing is clear before you sign any settlement documents be sure to talk to a workers compensation attorney to review the documents.
Do I need a work comp lawyer for every injury?
Not always, if there is no denied claim, if you are getting every dime you are entitled to possibly not. But most people do not understand that the adjuster and even the QRC is working for the employer and their goal, their only goal, is to pay you as little as possible. They do not work for you, the do not have any ethical obligation to give you all the money you are entitled to.
How long do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim?
The “statute of limitations” is a bit vague for workers comp claims, but generally you need to remember that it is critical a “first report of injury” as soon your are injured or realize you are injured. This can be a month or so later, but once you file that then you have some time to work on your claim and talk to an attorney
What is a Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor (QRC)?
a QRC or qualified rehabilitation counselor a licensed professional’s who are supposed to assist injured workers in either finding a new job or finding a new position in their current employment that can work with their skills and injury. There are good and bad QRC’s some that lean towards an injured worker and some that lean towards the employer, it is important to go towards a pro-worker QRC. A good work comp attorney can tell you who the good and bad QRC’s are.
You’re going to pay the same percentage regardless of who your attorney is; you might as well hire the best!
Minnesota Workplace Accident Attorneys | (507) 625-5000 | We Solve Problems
If you have been injured at work in Minnesota, we can look over your case and give you a good idea about how much you are entitled to and what the process will look like for you. Either call our workers’ compensation law firm office or e-mail us to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced Mankato lawyer from Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office.