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Minnesota Workers Compensation Claims Process

From paperwork to medical examinations, it can be hard to know what steps you should take to get the full amount of Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefits you need. At Fields Law Firm, we focus on helping injured workers throughout Minnesota. Our Minnesota Workers Compensation attorneys can explain what you need to do to get wage-loss benefits and medical treatment, so you can get back to work.

Whether you need help filing for benefits for the first time or your workers compensation insurance claim was denied, we’re here to guide you through the process. Contact the Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Fields Law Firm anytime, the call is free and you are not obligated to become a client. Call 1-888-343-5375 or complete a free contact request form.

Minnesota Workers Compensation Claim Process

When you file for workers’ compensation insurance benefits in Minnesota, expect the following six steps:

  1. Your claim is filed.
    Our team will help you complete your workers’ compensation paperwork and gather the medical records you need to file a strong claim.
  2. Your deposition is scheduled.
    Similar to a recorded statement or interview, your deposition is a chance for your insurer to ask you questions about your claim. If you decide to get help from a workers’ compensation attorney, he or she will be present at the deposition with you.
  3. Your insurer schedules an independent medical examination.
    An independent medical exam (IME) is a doctor’s appointment with a physician chosen by the insurance company and employer. In cases where the IME concludes that your injuries are less severe than they actually are, our legal team can help protect your rights to make sure you have the best possible chance of getting your benefits.
  4. Your case is settled.
    After your deposition and IME are complete, your attorney will try to settle your case for a lump sum payment with your insurer. If we are unable to reach an agreement with the insurance company, we will schedule a hearing in front of a judge.
  5. You attend a workers’ compensation hearing in court.
    Our Minnesota Workers Compensation attorneys will present evidence and witness testimony in front of a judge that may help prove the severity of your injuries. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will issue a decision in the case ordering some or all of your benefits to be paid or dismissing your claim.
  6. You appeal your case.
    You can appeal the results of your hearing within 30 days of the workers’ compensation judge’s decision. Our workers’ compensation team will work hard to prepare a strong appeal on your behalf.

How does the Workers Compensation claims process work?

Filing a First Report of Injury:
It is a common misconception among employees that a workers’ compensation insurance claim starts with the insurance company right away when they get injured. There is a lot more to it than just getting hurt at work and telling your supervisor, manager or boss. You should, of course, tell your supervisor, manager or boss, but you should also follow up with them to make sure that they fill out a first report of injury or get their work comp insurance information. A work comp claim doesn’t begin with the workers’ compensation insurance company until the insurance company receives notice of a claim.

If your employer is unwilling to notify the workers’ compensation insurance company, then you, as the injured worker, are able to do so. However, it is wise to get an attorney involved to communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. Otherwise, you run the risk of disclosing too much information to the insurance company right away, when you think you’re just telling them how you got hurt. An attorney can discuss the claim with the insurance company and get them the information that they need to proceed with the claim.

If your employer has already provided the insurance company with a first report of injury and the insurance company tries to contact you to get a statement on the incident, it is also wise to get an attorney at that point rather than making the statement on your own, for the same reasons listed above.

There may be certain phrases or nuances that you would use to describe the incident that can actually hurt your claim. Recent case-law relies heavily on how an incident occurred in order to determine whether or not you may be entitled to benefits under the workers’ compensation laws.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company Accepts or Denies Your Claim:
Once your case is opened, and the insurance company has conducted a preliminary investigation, consisting of requesting and reviewing medical records and statements from the Employer and possible witnesses, they will determine whether they are going to accept or deny your claim. A form will be filled out by the insurance company called a Notice of Primary Liability Determination, in which the insurance company states whether they are accepting or denying the claim.

There are three boxes on this form. The first box says accepted and benefits will be paid, the second says accepted but wage loss will not be paid and has a box to provide an explanation, and the third box indicates your workers comp claim is denied and includes a box to provide an explanation.

If your claim is accepted, that means that the insurance company has admitted liability to some extent for your injury and they will pay the claim to a certain extent. If box three is checked, and you believe that your injury is work-related and is being wrongfully denied, then you have to hire an attorney to file a claim petition with the State of Minnesota Department of Labor and Injury on your behalf.

Workers Compensation Claim Petitions:
Those with admitted injuries oftentimes believe that that means that all of their bills, lost time and expenses will be paid for. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Insurance companies will frequently admit claims initially, and then when they have a reason to discontinue benefits or deny payment of treatment, they will do so.

In those cases, the injured worker will need to get an attorney to petition this denial. If box two of the Notice of Primary Liability Determination is checked, that means that they will not be paying wage loss. If you have actual missed time from work of more than three days, then your attorney will have to file a claim petition.

Workers Compensation Administrative Conference:
If the insurance company has been paying you wage loss benefits, and then suddenly you receive a Notice of Intention to Discontinue letter, and you disagree with their reason for cutting you off, then your attorney will need to call and request a conference on the discontinuance of your benefits. If the insurance company accepted liability, but won’t approve medical or rehabilitation services, then your attorney will have to file for an administrative conference with the Department of Labor and Industry.

Once your attorney has had to request assistance from the State of Minnesota on your case, your claim is then considered to be in litigation. If you have an administrative conference, your claim will get set on the calendar within a matter of weeks if it is about wage loss benefits, or possibly a few months if it is over a medical or rehabilitation issue. If the Employee prevails at the conference and there is no appeal, then the Employer and Insurer are expected to provide the previously denied benefits. If the Employer and Insurer appeal and ask for a formal hearing, then the claim proceeds.

Workers Compensation Deposition:
Once the claim is in litigation, we enter into the discovery phase of the claim. A deposition may be scheduled. A deposition is similar to giving a statement to the insurance company, except that there is a court reporter present, your attorney and the attorney for the Employer and its insurance company. Your attorney can explain in detail what your specific deposition will be about, but usually the Employer and Insurer’s attorney will ask questions about how the injury happened and if you’ve had any similar injuries in the past.

Independent Medical Exam:
The attorney for the Employer and Insurer will also usually seek to set up an Independent Medical Examination with a doctor of their choosing, who has the right to examine you under the State of Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws. The reason why the Employer and Insurer will ask for this is to get an opinion from their own doctor about whether the treatment or requested benefits are actually reasonable, necessary and related to your workers’ compensation claim.

Workers Compensation Settlement Conference:
After discovery has been completed, the matter proceeds to a settlement conference or discussion of possible settlement of the case. Your attorney will explain to you what a reasonable workers’ compensation settlement amount would be to ask for as an initial demand, and then explain the subsequent offers and counter offers from there, as well as what amount of money is reasonable to accept. If the parties are able to settle, then a stipulation for settlement is drafted within the weeks following the settlement, outstanding medical bills are dealt with, and then the parties sign, the judge issues an award letter, and then payment is received.

Workers Compensation Hearing:
If the matter is not able to be settled, then the claim proceeds to a Workers’ Comp hearing. If you go to a hearing, the injured worker is required to be at court and personally appear before the judge. It is possible to proceed to hearing without an attorney, but that is not recommended, as the injured worker/employee will be required to testify as to their injury and why they should be entitled to the benefits they are claiming.

With an attorney present, the attorney can “direct” the employee, or ask the employee a list of questions to explain their position to the judge in the most efficient way possible. Your attorney can also make opening and/or closing arguments to the court on your behalf, and question the witnesses for the Employer/Insurer. Once a hearing is done, the judge has two months to issue a written decision on the case. If neither party appeals, the claim is done. The benefits will have to be paid within two weeks, unless benefits were denied or one of the party’s files an appeal.

Workers Compensation Court of Appeals:
If either party decides to file an appeal, then the claim goes to the Work Comp Court of Appeals. The parties will have to submit written briefs and may have to make oral argument in front of the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals has 90 days to make a decision once the case has been assigned. Then, when the written decision is received, the parties can again choose to appeal or not appeal to the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota. However, most claims do not make it this far.

We can help you throughout any step of the workers comp claims process, regardless of the size of your case. Every workers compensation insurance claim is unique, and we want to help you get all of the benefits you need to pay your medical bills, support your family, and get back to work.

SETTLEMENTS AND RECOVERIES IN ALL CASES DEPEND ON SPECIFIC FACTUAL AND LEGAL CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE UNIQUE TO EACH CLIENT’S CASE. PAST CASE RESULTS ARE NOT A GUARANTEE OR PREDICTION OF SIMILAR RESULTS IN FUTURE CASES WHICH THE FIELDS LAW FIRM AND ITS LAWYERS MAY UNDERTAKE.

READ OUR CLIENT REVIEWS

John Kelley
John Kelley
21:38 16 Oct 18
I was having issues with an insurance company and I hired fields law firm. The people there are amazing and always quick to answer questions even a couple times on the weekend. I worked with Blake amazing person and very informative on my case. I would highly recommend this firm to any of my friends.read more
Michael Frazier
Michael Frazier
23:58 10 Oct 18
I had the pleasure to work with Michael and Annie on my LTD case. When my claim was denied by the insurance carrier, Michael didn't hesitate to take them on with an appeal. He worked diligently on the appeal and ultimately won this for me. Mind you, this wasn't a huge case but he treated me like it was and as if I was the only case he was representing. He kept me abreast of vital information, it was clear that he knew his stuff and wasn't afraid to take on the big insurance company. Michael was much more than I ever expected given that our relationship was entirely remote, handled by telephone and email only. Not only is he a strong lawyer, he treated me with compassion and respect. I am beyond pleased with him and the Fields Law team. Michael cares about his clients and he gets the job done for them because he knows how impactful an injury can be to both a person's well-being and their financial security. I highly recommend Michael and Fields Law whether you are local to their Minnesota offices or out of state like myself.read more
Melanie Eason
Melanie Eason
20:12 29 Aug 18
Fields Law Firm is great. Patrick Kramer, my lawyer, is fantastic. He and his legal assistant Samantha K. have handled my case for several years. They have kept me informed every step of the way. They are both easy to contact. I have both of their phone numbers and email addresses and they respond promptly to any messages I leave. Without their help I would not have been able to get the disability company to fulfill their promises. It is a relief to leave all the dealings with the disability insurance company in their hands.read more
Jeannie Kerr
Jeannie Kerr
23:37 15 Sep 18
My experience with Merrick Williams of Fields Law Firm has been truly above and beyond satisfactory. His knowledge and professionalism have guided me through a very difficult time. He and his assistant Angela were readily available to answer any questions and address my concerns. I highly recommend him as an attorney and will use his services again if necessary in the future.read more
ebon jordan
ebon jordan
19:51 27 Sep 18
Field Law Firm was great my lawyer Zach Schmoll was more than I could ask for. He always kept me in the loop and explain everything perfectly, got back to me whenever I called less than 24 hrs and was a extremely nice guy. This guy is young and knows what he is doing so please don’t let the age fool you. I had a wonderful experience with Field Law and will refer anyone with legal matters to them.read more
Edward Johnson
Edward Johnson
23:11 31 Oct 18
I highly recommend Fields law Firm if you need some no nonsense attorneys to represent you. I was treated courteously and efficiently each and every time by Mike and his associates. They settled my Long Term Disability case in a timely fashion. and was pleased with the results. Thanks again Mike and Fields Law Firm. You are the best!read more
Jeffrey
Jeffrey
19:19 09 Nov 18
Fields Law Firm is simply the very best when it comes to representing you & fighting for your rights! They are a "10 Star" Law Firm hands down! Michael Kemmmitt & Sarah Christensen were simply outstanding to work with. They took over my long term disability case after I was being denied my benefits & gave me the moral support & law experience that I needed to win my case. They were supportive throughout my case & they will fight tooth & nail to assure your rights are not being denied. It is so rare to find a law firm that treats you like YOU are the most important person to them. I HIGHLY recommend Fields Law Firm. They are truly advocates for justice.read more
Ben Chadwick
Ben Chadwick
23:20 12 Nov 18
Michael and Samantha were always giving me updates in a very timely manner. They were very good at getting back with me if I had questions, and they didn't have the answer at the time of our discussion. They were very thorough in their handling of my case, and we received a positvie ruling due to their efficiency and expertise. Thank you very much Michael and Samantha, I appreciate all that you did to help me with my case. I would definitely refer people to you, as well as use you in the future. Benjamin Chadwick.read more
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