Disability benefits for injured workers

People who suffer from work-related illnesses and injuries that require time away from work should understand workers’ compensation benefits.

Employees in Minnesota should be able to count on the safety of their work environments. Even when care is taken to provide a safe workplace, accidents can still happen or illnesses can still develop.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that employers in Minnesota are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This coverage is intended to provide critical benefits to injured or ill workers. If an employer does not have such insurance and an employee is not self-insured, a person with a work-related illness or injury can file an employer liability claim for the illness or injury.

How many job-related injuries and illnesses occur?

On-the-job illnesses and injuries may be more common than many people think. For 2014 alone, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that out of every 100 full-time employees in private industry in Minnesota, 3.6 incurred some form of non-fatal injury or illness that was work related.

These illnesses and injuries spanned virtually every type of occupation and industry. Injury and illness rates for different industries include the following:

• In construction, 4.9 out of every 100 people were noted as injured or ill.

• In health care and social assistance, 5.3 out of every 100 people were noted as injured or ill.

• In transportation and warehousing, 5.5 out of every 100 people were noted as injured or ill.

• In manufacturing, 4.4 out of every 100 people were noted as injured or ill.

In retail, the rate was four people per 100 full time workers who sustained workplace illnesses or injuries that year. The numbers for state or local government workers are in addition to these.

How much can a person receive for a temporary disability?

Of the different types of disabilities identified by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, one is a temporary total disability. This is when a person is completely unable to work due to the job-related injury or illness but the disability is not expected to be permanent.

The amount of money that can be received from workers' compensation for a TTD award is subject to minimum and maximums per state law. Effective October 1, 2013, the weekly minimum award will be the lesser of one of two amounts: $130 or two-thirds of the worker's average weekly wage. The weekly maximum award will be 102 percent of the average weekly wage throughout Minnesota.

Temporary total disability benefits can be received for as long as 130 weeks. If a person is eligible for retraining during this time, some adjustment to the workers' compensation may be required. An employee cannot claim temporary total and permanent partial disability benefits at the same time.

Seeking appropriate compensation

Obtaining the right level of compensation for a work-related illness or injury is not always easy. Leveraging the experience of a workers' compensation lawyer is recommended at these times.