Getting hurt on the job is something every employee does their best to avoid. Unfortunately, accidents still happen. Whether due to negligence on the part of a co-worker, issues with machinery maintenance or a failure to communicate, work injuries can leave you in need of medical care and out of work for some time.
Thankfully, Minnesota workers' compensation insurance protects you against medical expenses due to a workplace injury. It can also compensate you for lost wages if you cannot return to work for some time. In order to connect with those benefits, you must comply with the regulations and statutes that govern those benefits. One of the most important things you can do to protect your right to workers' compensation benefits is to take timely action after your injury.
Report the accident and your injury to your employer as soon as it happens
Unless you are in imminent danger or unconscious, the first thing you should do after a workplace injury is report it to your boss. Reporting the injury at work is a critical first step to securing workers' compensation benefits.
Your employer must have internal records of the incident to verify your claim of a work injury. While situations may sometimes preclude you from reporting an injury as soon as it happens, you should make a report as soon as you are able. Be certain to include all the important details about the incident, and make sure that your supervisor puts everything in writing.
Seek medical evaluation as soon as possible after an injury
Depending on the nature of your job, your employer may have a medical professional or small medical facility on site. If that is the case, your initial evaluation will likely take place at work. From there, your employer may release you to seek medical treatment with your primary care physician or at a nearby hospital.
If your employer does not have medical facilities on site, you will need to leave work to seek medical care and evaluation. Do not attempt to continue working or put off seeking care. Doing so could hurt your right to seek compensation for your injuries later.
When the doctor does evaluate you and makes recommendations, you must follow through with those treatment recommendations. Whether you require time off of work or a surgery, failing to follow through with the doctor's recommendations could prevent you from receiving workers' compensation benefits in the future.
File your claim for benefits as soon as you know you need them
One of the most important rules you need to know about Minnesota workers compensation is that you only have a limited period of time in which to file your claim for benefits. Typically, the state law requires that you inform your employer of your need for benefits within 14 days. After notifying your employer, you can proceed with the process of seeking benefits. They should report the incident to the state within 24 hours of your initial report.
If your benefits wind up denied for one reason or another, you should start the appeal process as soon as possible. The statute of limitations for such an appeal is three years from the date of your initial injury report. Missing this crucial deadline could mean never connecting with the compensation you deserve after a workplace injury.