Most employers in Minnesota are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This is because workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, which means people who are injured while on the job usually have no legal recourse available to them other than filing a workers’ compensation claim. People are entitled to benefits if they are hurt in an on-the-job accident, develop a work-related repetitive stress condition like carpal tunnel syndrome or become sick after being exposed to a toxic substance in the workplace.
Workers’ compensation claims deadlines
Workers’ compensation programs have strict deadlines. In Minnesota workers should report a job-related injury to their employers within 14 days, but reports made within 30 days are unlikely to result in a denial of benefits unless the delay caused the employer harm. After a work-related injury is reported, employers are required to file a First Report of Injury form with their insurance provider and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry within 10 days. The insurance company is then given 14 days to investigate the claim and render a decision. This means a worker in Minnesota must be told whether their claim is approved or denied within 24 days of notifying their employer about a job-related injury.
Workers’ compensation investigations
When insurance companies investigate workers’ compensation claims, they focus on ascertaining the nature and severity of the injury or illness and determining whether or not it is work-related. When the facts are not clear and questions arise, insurance companies may ask injured workers to be examined by a doctor of their choosing. The doctor selected to conduct the independent medical evaluation must be located no more than 150 miles from the injured worker’s home, and the examination must be scheduled at a convenient time. Workers must also be compensated for expenses they incur.
Workers’ compensation denials
It may be wise for injured or sick workers to contact an attorney with experience in this area if their workers’ compensation claims are denied. An attorney could first seek to resolve the matter amicably by discussing the claim with the insurance company or an MDLI dispute resolution specialist. If these efforts are unsuccessful, an attorney could file an Employee’s Claim Petition form for an injured worker and advocate on their behalf before the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals.