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Workers' Compensation Claims

What is workers’ compensation?
What is your experience in workers’ compensation and personal injury work?
What benefits are provided in a workers’ compensation claim?
Do I need to work with a lawyer in order to pursue a workers’ compensation claim?
Can I receive workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits at the same time?
How does a third party and workers’ compensation case interrelate?
How is my workers’ compensation claim affected if I have a pre existing medical condition?
Do I have to tell my employer about my workers’ compensation claim?

Minnesota Statute §176 governs all Workers’ Compensation claims.  This statute allows payment of benefits for injuries arising out of and in the course and scope of employment.  These benefits are payable in a variety of different ways.  This is just an overview.  The work comp system is complicated and you should give the Schmidt-Salita Law Team a call to discuss your claims.

Wage Loss Benefits.

Wage loss benefits are payable as temporary total, temporary partial or permanent total disability benefits.  Temporary total disability benefits are paid when an injured employee is unable to work due to an on the job injury.  Generally, an employee entitled to temporary total disability benefits is unable to work at all due to restrictions from a Doctor.

Temporary total disability benefits are paid at a rate of two-thirds of the employee’s gross average weekly wage at the time of injury.  For example, an employee that earns $300.00 per week is entitled to $200.00 per week in temporary total disability benefits.  When an employee returns to work with restrictions or is limited, but is earning less money than before the injury, the employee is no longer entitled to temporary total disability benefits and is instead entitled to temporary partial disability benefits.

An employee is entitled to temporary partial disability benefits when the employee returns to work with restrictions, but because of the medical condition, is earning less money than before the work injury.  Temporary partial disability benefits are paid at a rate of two-thirds of the difference between the pre-injury wage and the post injury wage.  For example, where an employee earning a gross wage of $300.00 per week at the time of the injury, earns only $100.00 per week after the injury, the employee is entitled to temporary partial disability benefits of $133.33 per week.

When employee is released to return to work with restrictions, the employee should notify the employer. In order for the Workers’ Compensation insurer to pay temporary partial disability benefits, the employee must submit copies of his or her pay stubs to the insurer immediately upon receipt.  Upon receipt of the injured employee’s pay stubs, the Workers’ Compensation insurer will issue a check for temporary partial disability benefits.

Medical Benefits.

An injured employee is entitled to payment of all reasonable and necessary medical bills causally related to the work injury.

The treatment must be causally related to the injury.  The medical benefits include payment of prescriptions, reasonable mileage and parking expenses.  As a result, an injured employee should carefully document prescription payments, round trip mileage and parking expenses for all medical appointments.

An injured employee is entitled to treat with the medical Doctor of his or her own choosing.  That choice may be limited if the employer participates in a managed-care plan.  The employer must inform an injured employee if it participates in a managed care plan.

Permanent Partial Disability.

An employee is entitled to permanent partial disability benefits if the work injury results in permanent loss of use or functional impairment.  In other words, permanent partial disability is payable where an employee is permanently disabled as result of the work injury.  The treating physician, according to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Permanent Partial Disability Schedule, rates permanent partial disability.  Generally, Physicians rate permanent partial disability one-year after the injury.

Rehabilitation.

An employee that is unable to return to pre-injury employment is entitled to rehabilitation assistance.  A qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) is assigned to assist the employee with job search and implement a retraining program where appropriate.  An employee has the right to choose his or her qualified rehabilitation consultant.  However, the right to choose a qualified rehabilitation consultant is limited by certain time restrictions.  As a result, the employee should note that assignment of a qualified rehabilitation consultant is a significant event as it must be somebody that the employee can work with and not get pushed back to work when not physically able.  Our firm works with QRCs that understand this.

Attorney Dean Salita is one of a select handful of lawyers who practice in the areas of Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury. He is a frequently lecturer and advisor to other attorneys as to the interplay between the two systems. It is vitally important to maximize benefits when there are Work Comp and Third Party cases together.

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