MINNESOTA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYERS – AM I ENTITLED TO RETRAINING?
If you are an injured worker in the State of Minnesota, you may be entitled to retraining benefits under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act. Retraining benefits are wage loss and education program costs which are paid by a work comp insurer. Retraining helps an injured worker return to a similar wage that he or she was earning prior to the disabling injury. Retraining is above and beyond other types of wage loss or medical benefits to which an injured worker is entitled.
Retraining benefits are a subset of rehabilitation benefits under the Work Comp Act. Depending on an injured workers’ skills, interests, prior education, work restrictions, and prior wages, a retraining program may include a vocational or technical program, or a bachelors or other post-secondary education program.
A “Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant” (QRC) will help an employee return to “suitable gainful employment.” If the QRC is unable to assist an employee finding employment close to his or her pre-injury wage, he or she may recommend a retraining program. Typically, a QRC will perform an evaluation to determine if the employee is an appropriate retraining candidate. This process will include vocational testing, evaluation of an employee’s scholastic abilities, review of an employee’s physical abilities, as well as a labor market survey. A proposed retraining plan will include: the program, costs, and feasibility of the employee completing the program. A QRC’s role in retraining programs includes highlighting the advantages of choosing your own QRC, rather than relying on a QRC chosen for you by an adjuster. You have up to 60 days to choose your own QRC, after being assigned one by the work comp adjuster and once the QRC files the rehabilitation plan.
Formulating a retraining plan and getting a retraining plan is often a process. Insurers are not generally apt to willingly offer payment for additional schooling and wage loss benefits, and sometimes employees are not willing to go back to school either. Additionally, extensive general job search efforts must be demonstrated by the injured workers to show that a worker cannot find employment close to their pre-injury wage without additional education before a work comp judge will approve a retraining plan.
A retraining program must be approved by the insurer, or by a court order following a formal hearing. An employee must request a retraining program before 208 weeks of temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits are paid. While in a retraining program, wage loss benefits are also paid for up to 156 weeks at the same rate of temporary total disability (TTD) benefits or 2/3 of an injured workers’ average weekly wage. If an employee reaches the 130-week cap on TTD, or 275 weeks of TPD, he or she may still be a retraining candidate. These wage loss benefits are non-taxable.
In my experience, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and other first responders whose public service careers are curtailed by a significant injury make excellent retraining candidates. These workers are frequently high wage earners, have many years left of work before retirement, and need assistance to return to work in a field that will pay comparably to the date of injury employment. However, sometimes it makes sense to try to negotiate a lump sum settlement and use that money to seek out additional training or education instead of waiting for approval through the work comp process.
A Personal Injury Team With Personal Care.
If you have suffered a work injury and have questions about retraining, contact the Workers Compensation Lawyers at Schmidt and Salita Law Team for a free, no obligation consultation about your unique case and legal needs.
The exceptional track record of Schmidt Salita Law Team speaks for itself with over 70 years of experience in over 10,000 cases, producing over $100 million in recoveries for their clients. The Car Accident Lawyers at the Schmidt Salita Law Team are dedicated to providing legal services with personal attention and care to each case.
Contingent Fee Arrangements Available.
The Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Schmidt Salita Law Team understand that the victims of personal injury are often dealing with financial issues due to medical bills, car damage, and lost wages and earnings. Most do not have the financial resources to pay for a lawyer on an hourly basis – especially for a really good lawyer. The answer to this dilemma is the contingent fee contract where the lawyer doesn’t get paid by the hour. Instead, the lawyer gets paid on a “commission basis” like a real estate agent, as a percentage of the settlement produced. The Schmidt Salita Law Team offers contingent fee contracts in most cases.
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A Schmidt Salita Work Comp Lawyer will come to your home, or the hospital, for your initial visit. The Schmidt Salita Law Team strives to provide personal injury legal services with a personal touch to help the victims of personal injury through a very difficult time in their lives.