Legal Guide

From Injury to Recovery: MN Workers' Comp


In Minnesota, workers compensation covers personal injuries that arise out of and in the course of employment. The purpose of workers compensation is to quickly provide medical treatment and compensation to injured workers. This is to promote a quick recovery and return to work.

It is important for an injured worker to understand the benefits available under the Workers Compensation Act. It is also important for injured workers to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Understanding Workers' Compensation in Minnesota

In the State of Minnesota, employers must have workers compensation insurance. Workers compensation insurance will provide several types of benefits to a worker that has been injured on the job. There are four basic categories of workers comp benefits:

1)     Wage loss benefits;

2)     Medical benefits;

3)     Rehabilitation benefits; and

4)     Permanent partial disability benefits.

It is important that the injured worker reports his or her injury to a manager as soon as possible. The manager should then provide that information to the company’s insurer. The insurer should then open a claim so that benefits start promptly.

Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim in Minnesota

Many companies have their own process for reporting a job injury. However, the Workers’ Compensation Act requires only that the employee inform the employer. Minnesota workers compensation law does not require that the injured worker follows the company's reporting process.

There is a requirement that the employee report the injury within 30 days. However, there are many exceptions that allow employees to report injuries within 180 days. If the employee cannot work, the insurance company must start paying wage loss benefits within 14 days.

The Role of Medical Treatment in Minnesota Workers' Comp Cases

One of the primary purposes of the Workers’ Compensation Act is to enable and encourage early medical intervention. Early medical intervention tends to dramatically shorten recovery times and improve medical outcomes. If employees are confident that they will get their medical bills paid, then they are more likely get medical treatment. The insurer must cover medical treatment without copays or a deductible.

Navigating the Dispute Process

The best time to contact a law office is before any dispute. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation insurers do sometimes deny claims (often referred to as a “primary denial”). The insurance company must give a written explanation for a primary denial. Here are several common reasons that insurance companies give for primary denials:

1) Lack of medical documentation;

2) Pointing to a pre-existing medical condition; or

3) Differences between witness statements and the employee's report.

Instead, the insurance company may admit the claim. It may later try to discontinue workers compensation benefits. The most common reason that insurance companies give to discontinue benefits is the injury has "resolved" (meaning completely healed). Insurance companies also may deny specific benefits.

An employee has the right to dispute the denial of a claim or specific benefits. An employee can dispute the denial of a claim with the Office of Administrative Hearings. Usually, and employee can dispute a denial of specific benefits with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

If not earlier, a denial of benefits would be a good time to speak to a Minnesota workers compensation lawyer. Law firms in Minnesota do not charge any fees upfront in workers compensation cases; they work on contingent fees.

Returning to Work After an Injury

Returning to work after an injury is often more challenging than it sounds. It can be very helpful for the employer to have a good understanding of the employee’s physical limitations. It can also be very helpful for the doctor to have a good understanding of the employer’s operations.

In Minnesota, the employee can enlist a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (“QRC”) to help bridge that knowledge gap. A QRC will often attend doctors appointments to learn about the employee’s medical needs. A QRC will also meet with the employer to learn about worksite needs. If possible, the QRC will then arrange for the employee to return to work in a modified duty position.

Sometimes, returning to work with the employer is just not feasible. The QRC will then serve as an advisor in the employee’s search for a new job. The QRC can help with resume building, mock interviews, identifying job leads, or even planning and organizing retraining programs.


It is important for injured workers to understand their rights and responsibilities. Therefore, it is a good idea to seek advice from a Minnesota workers compensation attorney early on.

Workers compensation benefits can play an important role in a speedy recovery from a work-related injury. A health disaster does not have to turn into a financial and career disaster.

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