Workplace injuries can be disastrous if they cause the employee to miss work or impedes their ability to perform the job’s duties. Injured workers often lose out on hours and have trouble paying everyday bills or covering out-of-pocket costs for their treatments. Getting fair compensation may be vital to you and your family’s livelihood.
Unfortunately, the outcome of your workplace injury claim is not guaranteed. There are a number of variables that will influence the eventual resolution of your situation.
Your Injury Happened on the Clock
It may be difficult to receive workers’ compensation if you cannot prove your injury happened while you were on the clock. That’s one of the reasons attorneys often recommend reporting the injury to your employer as quickly as possible. Establishing a paper trail will make it hard for insurance companies to contest when and where the accident occurred.
For example, if you wait a day or two until your symptoms are unbearable, there may be questions about where your injury actually occurred. For all the insurance company knows, your injury may have happened when you were playing with your kids at home or jogging after your shift.
It can also help to note who was with you when the injury occurred. If a supervisor or coworker saw you fall and hurt your back during your shift, it may bolster your version of events.
Your Injury Is Directly Related to Your Job’s Duties
You will likely fare better if you prove your injury is directly related to your job’s duties. Claim denials or disputes can arise in scenarios where it’s unclear what you were doing at the time of your injury. For example, getting into a car accident on your way home from work is not a workplace injury. You may have only been in your car at that time because of your job, but driving home after your shift is not one of your job duties and you are not doing it in furtherance of your employer’s business.
The same can be said if you are injured while performing a task that wasn’t in your job description. If you’re a customer service representative in a call center, standing on your desk to fix a flickering fluorescent tube light above your cubicle is likely not in your job description. If you try to fix the light instead of calling maintenance, and you fall off your desk, your claim may be disputed.
You may want to note details of your accident so you can accurately describe the circumstances of your injury when you file your claim. Remembering specific details will likely add legitimacy to your lawsuit.
- Note what you were doing before your injury
- Describe what you were doing when you were injured
- List actions you took after the injury
- Note the date and approximate time of the injury
- Describe the setting of the injury
- Write down the names of colleagues/others who witnessed your injury
- Describe any medical treatments you received for the injury
Don’t lose all hope if your claim is initially denied. It may be in your best interest to consult with a workers’ comp lawyer who has experience handling disputed claims or workplace injury narratives.
Your Negligent Behavior Caused Your Injury
If you thoroughly describe your injury when you file your claim, your statement should establish a clear timeline of the events surrounding your injury. An accurate and consistent story should demonstrate that you behaved appropriately and were not hurt because you violated company rules/policies.
Workers injured when violating the rules, like those who were intoxicated at the time of their injury or were horsing around while on the clock, run the risk of having their injury claims denied.
How do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Minnesota?
Start by reporting your injury to your employer and having your injuries examined by a doctor approved by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You may want to save copies of medical bills, prescription receipts and other expenses since it serves as proof, and you may be reimbursed for any expenses you pay out of pocket.
After you file your claim, the insurance company will either approve or deny it. If your claim is denied, your next step is to file an appeal. You may also want to file an appeal if the settlement seems low.
How Is a Settlement Determined?
A workers’ compensation settlement is determined by several factors.
- Lost wages: wages lost from missed work
- Medical bills: expenses you incurred due to your workplace injury
- Permanent damage: the effect your injury has on your future earning potential
- Retraining/occupational therapy: if your injury resulted in a disability or prevents you from performing the same job duties, workers’ comp may cover retraining or occupational therapy
- Pain and suffering: pain and emotional distress from your injury
- Death benefits: if a workplace injury results in a worker’s death, workers’ comp may pay certain funeral expenses for families
Tips for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
- Delaying a visit to the doctor could call into question the validity of your claim. Your employer’s insurance company may question the severity of your injury if it did not warrant prompt medical attention.
- You may want to be cautious about what you say and to whom you speak. If your story changes as you remember more details, inconsistencies may be used against you.
- Honesty is the best policy. Exaggerating the severity of an injury could cause it to be seen as insincere.
How Can a Twin Cities Workers’ Comp Lawyer Help?
A workers’ compensation attorney will fight to win a fair settlement. You deserve to concentrate on your recovery instead of worrying about how you will pay the bills. Contact our referral counselors at (612) 752-6699 for help finding an attorney in Minnesota.