Even with today’s advanced technology and safety practices, occupational hazards are still inevitable. Accidents happen, and because of the nature of your job, you may be at risk of slipping, falling, and damaging your ears after being exposed to loud noises. Fortunately, government mandates have been developed to protect employees in case something happens while they’re on the job.
Minnesota is one of the states where non-citizens can be compensated for workplace injuries. All employers, no matter how many employees they have, are mandated to provide coverage per laws surrounding workman injury compensation in Minnesota.
Workplace Injuries and Paid Time-Off
Now, when people think of workers’ compensation, most would immediately imagine someone who was disabled and, thus, can no longer offer their services to the company. While that scenario isn’t uncommon, some employees may have only sustained minor injuries and can still return to work.
As an example, let’s say you’re employed as a factory worker and have been lifting boxes for months. You then develop back and shoulder pain. To prevent your condition from getting worse, you may decide to miss work to attend physical therapy sessions.
You might be asking whether workers’ compensation might pay for the time you take off of work to go to your doctor’s appointments. Before we go to the answer, remember that, as with other legal-related troubles, it’s best to enlist the help of a workers compensation attorney in MN to help you understand the laws in your state. Our team of experts can support you as you claim the reimbursement that’s your due.
Now, let’s go back to your question. The answer is that you can get paid for time out of the workday if you use it to attend your doctor or therapy appointments. You should be reimbursed by the insurance company for the time-off you had to take for your medical sessions.
Compensation can come in the form of temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. This is a wage-loss benefit that should be paid to the employee given that they’re still employed by the company.
TPD provides 275 weeks of paid benefits within 450 weeks after the date of injury. Take note that all periods of TPD for that specific date are counted toward the limitations except for benefits compensated during an approved training plan. Since you can file for this wage-loss benefit any time within 450 weeks after the date of injury, albeit with a 275-week limitation, you can include the time off, you use for doctor and therapy appointments.
TPD is payable to workers who have gone back to work but are earning significantly less than their gross weekly wage pre-injury. You can get two-thirds of the difference between your current earnings and what you previously earned at the time of the accident. Another way that you can be paid for time off to attend doctor’s appointments is by tagging it as a medical expense. It can either be reimbursable or deductible from your taxes.
In some cases, an employee may earn wages inconsistently during the TPD due period. The insurer can then require wage verification before it they make the payments. Benefits should be paid within 10 days after the employee or employer sends the wage verification file. However, this isn’t necessary when the employee earnings are consistent.
The Next Steps
Communicate with Your Employer
Laws pertaining to workman injury compensation in Minnesota state that you can get paid for time off to attend doctor or therapy appointments. Beyond this, you should communicate with your employer to let them know about your return-to-work status, occupational restrictions, and medical treatment plan after each meeting with your doctor.
Ask for Accomodations
If your doctor says that you’re not allowed to lift heavy objects temporarily, ask your boss if they can accommodate those restrictions and still allow you to go back to work.
File the Necessary Paperwork
Be sure to file the necessary paperwork to make the claims process seamless. Take note that the insurer will be the one to approve or deny the workers’ compensation claim. If your request gets approved, you and the insurance company will go over the payment offers. You can either accept their terms or negotiate for a settlement. Regardless of the arrangement, the compensation should cover the cost of medical bills, medication, disability payments, and a portion of lost wages.
Deal with Claim Denial
On the other hand, the insurer might deny your claim. When this happens, you can request a reconsideration from the insurance provider or file a formal appeal through the Minnesota workers’ compensation board or commission. This would be the best time to hire a worker’s compensation attorney in MN to help you decide on the next steps to take.
Avoiding Workplace Injuries
Although no one can anticipate when an accident will happen, you should do all that you can to prevent injuries in the workplace. These are some tips to help you achieve just that:
Wear the Proper Dress Code
Wearing gloves, hard hats, and the right footwear is required by your company to prevent physical injuries. Don’t take shortcuts and think that you can forgo wearing them. Although it might seem uncomfortable at first, your safety and protection should be of utmost importance.
Keep your eyes and ears open while performing your duties to avoid committing mistakes. More importantly, staying alert can help you prevent injuries or injuring others.
Follow Safety Rules and Practices
Safety protocols are in place to protect everyone in the workplace. Follow them conscientiously to ensure you and your colleague’s well-being while on the job. Be an active participant in safety training as well to know the latest practices in your industry.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Sometimes, your employer might ask you to do a task that you’re not trained for. Don’t be afraid to decline and explain politely that you don’t have ample training for that particular role. For example, if you don’t have experience in operating heavy machinery and you’re asked to do so, you can definitely say no and avoid putting yourself and others at risk.
Workers’ compensation protects employees who sustained injuries while performing their duties. Sometimes, you might need to take time off from work to attend your doctor’s appointment or therapy sessions. Fortunately, you can get compensated for the time you took out of a workday for medical-related errands. The insurance company will be the one to repay you and other wage-loss benefits.