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Understanding Minnesota's workers' compensation benefits

When people think of workers' compensation benefits, they then to think of two things. First, medical coverage for injuries sustained in the workplace. Second, wage replacement for those who get hurt and are unable to work as a result. While Minnesota does offer both of these kinds of benefits, there is more to workers' compensation than most people realize.

If you or someone you love has sustained serious injuries at work, you're probably concerned about what kind of benefits you can expect. Wage replacement won't cover the full amount of the injured person's weekly income, and sometimes claims end up denied by an employer. Read on to understand how you get protected by workers' compensation.

Medical expense and treatment coverage

There may be several steps involved in obtaining medical treatment. If your employer has a medical station, nurse's office or similar facility on site, you'll need to report there after an accident. The only exception to this rule is an extreme medical emergency. Typically, your employer's medical staff needs to review you injury and then advise you to seek outside medical treatment. Once that happens, chances are good that workers' compensation will cover the costs.

In cases where your employer does not have a medical provider, you may go directly to your own physician or a nearby hospital. Before leaving work, you should report the injury to your shift leader or manager. Doing so helps to protect your ability to file a workers' compensation coverage claim. You can then file a claim for medical benefits after receiving your initial examination and treatment.

In some cases, an employer could deny or contest a claim. You then have the right to appeal that decision, which can be a difficult but necessary process. Employers may claim the injury didn't happen at work or that the injuries don't prevent your return to work. Adequate medical documentation is critical to proving your need for benefits.

Wage replacement and disability pay

If the injured person is unable to work while during recovery, workers' compensation will pay 2/3s of their average weekly pay for up to 130 weeks under temporary total disability coverage. The amount payable is limited to 102 percent of the state's average weekly pay, which for 2017 is $1,041.

For those who become permanently disabled or get killed at work, ongoing benefits may be available. Each case is reviewed separately. In some cases, you could get offered a lump sum settlement in lieu of ongoing payments. In these situations, it is critical to carefully review the offer to ensure it will be enough to cover your lost wages and ongoing medical expenses. Different injuries require varying levels of treatment and thus, different levels of compensation.

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