Are you wondering, “How long does my Minnesota workers’ compensation stay open?”
Sometimes, employers or insurers will tell you your case is closed to get you to abandon your claim for wage-loss benefits or to submit your medical bills and costs through your major medical health insurance company. They do this to save money on your claim, but don’t fall for this deception!
As long as you have benefits available and you have not signed a settlement agreement giving up your right to future benefits, your claim can be reopened even if your worker’s comp insurance company adjuster tells you that it has been closed.
If your claim has been accepted by your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer or you begin to receive benefits pursuant to an Order from the court, your workers’ compensation claim file will remain open as long as you have benefits available.
The availability of workers’ comp benefits depends on many factors. There are four types of work comp benefits under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act, including medical benefits, wage loss benefits, rehabilitation services, and permanency.
The primary factor when considering “How long does my Minnesota Workers’ Compensation case stay open?” is the benefits you’re receiving.
Each benefit has a different time limit, and your potential benefits may vary depending on the date of your work injury:
Medical benefits are available as long as the medical treatment or care you receive is reasonable and necessary to cure or alleviate the effects of your work injury. It doesn’t matter if one year has passed or ten years have passed. It also doesn’t matter if you change employers or move out of Minnesota. You’re covered as long as the medical care is reasonable and necessary to cure or alleviate the effects of your work injury!
Different time limits exist on the different types of wage-loss benefits available under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
For work injuries that occurred on 10/1/2008 or later, injured workers can receive up to 130 weeks of Temporary Total Disability. You can take these weeks consecutively or intermittently. TTD benefits will continue as long as you are completely unable to work due to your work injury or until you reach 90 days post-Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is not the point at which you recover; instead, it’s when your recovery plateaus.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
Injured workers can receive up to 225 or 275 weeks of Temporary Partial Disability benefits (depending on the date of injury). Again, these weeks do not need to be taken consecutively and can be taken intermittently. However, an injured worker can only receive TPD for up to 450 weeks following the first report of injury.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
Injured workers can receive Permanent Total Disability through retirement age or until age 72 (depending on the date of injury). Generally, PTD is a wage-loss benefit for injured workers who will never be able to return to work due to their work injury.
Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Depending on how long the employee is expected to be off work, the employee may be eligible for rehabilitation services through a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) to assist in finding a new job that meets their limitations to work activities. These rehabilitation services may be ended when the employee’s rehabilitation plan is complete or 30+ days after the employee returns to work.
Permanency is a rating dictated by Minnesota worker’s compensation law statute that results in one-time compensation for the loss of use or function related to a workplace accident or work injury.
Although Permanent Partial Disability benefits are a one-time payment, injured workers may be entitled to additional permanency over the course of their lifetime if their work-related disability worsens.
There is no time limit on when you can receive permanency.
Impact of Settlement
If you settle your comp claim, then you may have given up your right to bring a claim for certain workers’ compensation benefits in the future. Every settlement agreement is different. If you have questions about whether certain workers’ compensation benefits are still available, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to review your settlement agreement and determine what future claims, if any, are left open by its terms.
Sometimes, a settlement agreement will close out “indemnity” benefits in a workers comp claim (including wage-loss benefits, rehabilitation services, and permanency) but will leave certain medical benefits open, meaning that you can still bring claims for these benefits.
Don’t take the insurance company’s word for it! A workers’ compensation attorney will help determine which benefits are still available.
The Importance of a Minnesota Attorney in Navigating Your Worker’s Compensation Benefits Case
Dealing with a workplace accident and the ensuing recovery process can be overwhelming, particularly when understanding work comp law and negotiating with the insurance company.
A lawyer can provide invaluable support and help you answer “How long does my Minnesota workers’ compensation case stay open?” while navigating your work comp case by guiding them through the complex legal process and advocating on your behalf.
From the free consultation to the initial filing of the claim to negotiating with insurance companies and representing the client in workers’ compensation court, a skilled attorney ensures that your rights are protected at every stage.
They can help gather essential documentation and medical evidence, facilitate access to rehabilitation services, and even reopen the case if the client’s situation changes.
Throughout the process, the lawyer offers expert advice and a wealth of experience, helping you secure the appropriate benefits you deserve for your injury.
By having a trusted legal advocate by their side, individuals facing a work comp case can confidently focus on their recovery, knowing that their best interests are being represented.
Expertise in Navigating the Legal Process
Workers’ compensation laws can be intricate, and understanding the system’s nuances is crucial for a timely resolution. An attorney can guide you through the process, ensuring you comply with all the necessary deadlines and requirements. They can also help you gather the required documentation and medical evidence to support your work comp claim.
Reaching a fair settlement can sometimes be a complex and time-consuming process involving negotiations with insurance companies, employers, and other parties. A skilled attorney can advocate for your best interests during these negotiations, working diligently to secure the maximum compensation you deserve. Their expertise can help expedite receiving workers comp benefits and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
Representing Clients in Litigation and Appeals
In cases where disputes arise or benefits are denied, your attorney can represent you in litigation or the appeals process. They can present a compelling case, backed by solid evidence, to ensure you receive the benefits you’re entitled to. With their support, you can confidently navigate the legal system and have a better chance of a successful resolution.
Assisting with Case Reopening When Necessary
In certain situations, reopening a workers’ compensation case may become necessary. This could be due to new or worsening injuries, changes in disability status, or if mistakes or fraud are discovered in your worker’s compensation claim. Your attorney can evaluate your situation and advise you on whether reopening the case is a viable option. If so, they can guide you through the process and help you secure additional benefits.
The answer to the question, “How long does my Minnesota workers’ compensation case stay open?” varies based on the type of benefit claimed. If a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster tells you your claim is closed, don’t assume they are telling you the whole story.
The workers’ compensation system is complicated, so it is essential to consult with an attorney who knows this area of Minnesota law to ensure your rights are protected. The attorneys at Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. can help you navigate these complexities to ensure that you are getting maximum benefit for your claim.
If you’ve had a workplace injury, contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about the benefits you may be eligible for.