From slowly developing pain due to repetitive physical movements to catastrophic injuries, U.S. workers often risk their own health while on the job. The National Safety Council reports that an American employee experiences a workplace injury every seven seconds.
Minnesota law requires that all employers either provide workers’ compensation coverage or become self-insured to protect employees in case of a job-related illness, injury or resulting disability. Insurance benefits that an injured worker may be eligible for include medical care, compensation for lost wages and vocational rehabilitation.
Receiving medical care
In Minnesota, workers’ compensation coverage entitles an injured employee to all necessary and reasonable medical treatments needed for recovery. This may include hospital care and surgical procedures as well as prescriptions, medical supplies or prosthetic devices. Covered care may also include chiropractic or psychological treatments.
The employee may additionally be able to recover the costs of traveling to and from a medical provider, requesting medical reports and copying injury-related documents. If a worker becomes permanently disabled, workers’ comp may also offer reasonable payment for care services provided by a family member.
Recovering lost wages
If a workplace injury or illness results in more than three calendar days of lost wages, an employee may become eligible for weekly payments. If the worker cannot return to his or her job for at least 10 calendar days, he or she may also receive payment for the first three days of disability.
Payments for lost wages are income-based. Injured employees generally receive weekly compensation at a rate of two-thirds of their gross weekly wage. However, the state also sets minimum and maximum limits on compensation rates.
Seeking vocational rehabilitation
Employees who are unable to return to their former position due to a work-related injury may also be able to receive retraining and job-seeking assistance through a qualified rehabilitation consultant. In addition to helping to determine what type of work the employee’s disability allows, a QRC may provide a wide range of career services, including counseling, job placement, vocational testing and teaching effective job-seeking skills.