7 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WORKERS' COMPENSATION
1. Minnesota Workers’ Compensation rules require that an employee give notice of a work injury to their employer within 14 days. The rules also allow notice up to 180 days from the date of injury, but allow the employer to claim prejudice. If you fail to give notice within that time your claim may likely be barred.
2. In a Gillette injury case, notice is required when the employee understood, or should have understood that the condition was related to the work activities.
3. Average Weekly Wage: Minnesota statutes clearly set forth the method of calculating the average weekly wage. However, insurers repeatedly miscalculate an employee’s AWW by excluding overtime or claiming variable wages. Always ask how you average weekly wage was calculated since the miscalculation is seldom in the employee’s favor.
4. Benefits Available: Wage loss (TTD), partial wage loss (TPD), permanent partial disability (PPD), permanent total disability (PTD), medical expenses, rehabilitation, mileage, job placement, retraining, out of pocket (OOP) expenses are just a few of the benefits available. Always keep track of your benefits. Far too often benefits are not paid, or only partially paid. Unless you pay attention, they will likely be lost.
5. Medical bills: Under Workers’ Comp law Insurers must pay the reasonable and necessary medical bills related to the work injury. Too often they do not. Before paying any bills, they will first obtain the employee’s medical records: all of them. By the time this is accomplished, the bills can be just days away from collection. Keep in touch with the medical provider and the insurer to push the process along. It’s your credit report.
6. “Independent” Medical Exams (IME): It is no secret that independent medical exams are anything but. If the employee doesn’t feel afraid before the IME, they will when they get the report. Too many employees believe that and IME is merely a second opinion. Unfortunately, it is usually the first step in the denial of future benefits or medical treatment.
7. QRCs/Case Managers: A QRC or case manager can be your best friend or worst nightmare. You have the right to choose your own. Do so. You won’t know one but your workers’ compensation attorney will.