After an employer and insurer denies responsibility for a part or the entirety of a work injury and refuses to pay benefits, an attorney may initiate a workers’ compensation claim in Minnesota by filing a claim petition with the Court. Sometimes it’s appropriate for an attorney to file a request for rehabilitation or medical request with the Department of Labor and Industry and other times it’s more effective and advantageous to file a claim petition. In other cases, the case is on the hearing track after a lost .239 or NOID conference and a party will file a request for a formal hearing.
A claim petition sets forth the basic information about the employee’s claim, such as:
• Employee’s name
• Insurer for the employer
• Social security number
• Date of birth
• Date(s) of injury
The claim petition also lists the nature of the injury and the employee’s estimated average weekly wage. The claim petition will outline the type of claims for benefits against the insurer and employer. These claims may include wage loss benefits, out of pocket medical expenses, rehabilitation benefits, and medical benefits. The claim petition itself is a general form and can be amended or changed later.
The claim petition also lists third-party payers. Third-party payors are entities that have paid monies to or on behalf of the employee that should have been paid by the work comp insurance carrier. Third-party payors may include clinics with outstanding bills, major medical insurance companies, and even unemployment, long-term or short-term disability. These parties’ claims are included and asserted against the employer and insurer as well.
The claim petition is filed with the Department of Labor and Industry and copies are formally served on the employee, the employer, the insurer, and any third-party payors. The party must also provide an affidavit of service, demonstrating that the parties were properly served with the claim petition. Along with the claim petition, the employer and insurer is served with a demand for discovery—or a request for the employer and insurer to provide pertinent information for the case. The employee also sends out Intervention Notices to the possible third-party payors. Those entities must formally assert their interest in the claim to the court in order to be paid back by the employer and insurer if the claim is successful.
Once the claim petition is filed, the employer and insurer is required to file an answer, or a response to the claim petition, with the Court within 20 days. The employer and insurer will generally deny everything set forth in the claim petition. The case is then scheduled for a settlement conference at the Office of Administrative Hearings. In the interim the parties will conduct discovery. The discovery process includes: depositions, independent medical examinations, and the exchange of wage records and medical records between the parties. The attorney for the employer and insurer will also send a demand for discovery to the employee as well.
After the settlement conference, if the matter is not able to be resolved, the judge will set the matter and move the case on for hearing when a hearing date will be set and scheduled with the court. Sometimes, due to the length of time it may take to obtain medical records or a formal supportive narrative opinion from a treating physician, the settlement conference or hearing date may be continued or pushed back. Some judges will also schedule a pre-trial conference. During the generally short telephone call between the parties and the judge, the parties will advise the judge of the issues before the hearing and whether the parties are ready to proceed to a formal hearing.
If you have sustained a workplace injury and the work comp insurance company is denying all or even a portion of your claim, it is imperative you contact a knowledgeable attorney right away. Don’t wait to get an attorney involved if you have a Minnesota workers’ compensation claim, the process can be complex and you want to be sure you receive the full benefits you are entitled. Contact Meuser Law Office, P.A. for a free no-obligation consultation and claim evaluation. At Meuser Law Office, P.A. we keep our clients informed of the process as well as what to expect each step of the way. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680.