Getting Surgery for a Workplace Injury in Minnesota
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Getting Surgery for a Workplace Injury in Minnesota

Sometimes, an employee has a workplace injury that requires surgery to treat it. If you are in this position, you probably have questions about how to get surgery, who will pay for the surgery, and what you can expect.

The Minnesota workers’ compensation system allows injured workers to seek treatment for their injuries, including surgery. When you report an injury to your employer, your employer should tell its workers’ compensation insurance company about the injury. The insurer then evaluates the claim and decides whether to provide or deny benefits to the worker. Benefits start getting paid after a brief waiting period and include both payments of medical expenses and wage replacement payments.

You and your doctors should make the initial decision about whether you need surgery. If you need emergency surgery right after you get injured, the doctors at the hospital where you went after the injury will most likely make that call. At that point, your employer either just heard about the injury or does not know about it yet. Your employer and the insurer cannot block you from getting emergency surgery. However, once you are recovering, you need to tell your doctors that you were injured at work so they send the medical bills to the right place. Find out the name of the insurer and give it to the doctor.

If your doctor decides that you need non-emergency surgery, it is ultimately your choice whether to undergo the surgery. Your employer and the insurer do not get to choose. They can, however, require you to get a second opinion about the need for surgery. If you want a second opinion, your employer must pay for the second doctor. (Minn. Statutes § 176.135, subd. 1a.)

If you do not get a second opinion before receiving non-emergency surgery, your employer or the insurer has to pay for it, but then can challenge the costs before the workers’ comp judge. The judge may determine that the surgery was not reasonably required, meaning that you have to pay for it. (Minn. Statutes § 176.135, subd. 1a.) To avoid this situation, get a second opinion about your need for surgery.

Minnesota law lists specific treatment parameters for certain types of workplace injuries, such as back problems. These treatment parameters provide information that doctors should use to evaluate your injuries and your need for surgery. For some injuries, the parameters may suggest a particular type of surgery. Ask your doctor whether that surgery is right for you.

Need help getting medical benefits because of your workplace injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.