An injury at work can have significant effects on your life, even after your initial recovery — years down the line, you might find yourself with your old injury flaring up or progressively worsening. If a significant amount of time has passed since the date of your original injury, you might be worrying over whether or not the insurance company is still liable for your medical expenses or other benefits.
If you ask the insurance company or your employer, they will likely tell you that your case is already closed, in order to avoid paying for the benefits you might be seeking. However, it’s important that you don’t take this answer at face value. Depending on the circumstances, your claim for workman injury compensation in Minneapolis may still be open or can be reopened.
Types of Benefits Available from Workmans Comp Insurance Minnesota
One of the first things you’ll want to consider is what type of benefits you are seeking. workmans comp insurance in Minnesota provides three main types: wage-loss benefits, medical benefits, and vocational rehabilitation benefits. Each of these have a different time limit.
Wage-loss benefits are further divided into several categories, each with their own time limit.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) applies when you are completely unable to work due to the injury, for a specific period of time. If your injury occurred on or after October 1, 2008, you can receive up to 130 weeks of TTD. You can take these weeks consecutively or intermittently. You are eligible for TTD as long as you are unable to work or until 90 days after you reach Maximum Medical Improvement.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) applies when you are currently earning wages, but less than what you were making during the injury. This could be due to working limited hours or earning less per hour. If your injury occurred on or after October 1, 1992, you can receive up to 275 weeks of TPD. These can also be taken consecutively or intermittently. You are only eligible for TPD up to 450 weeks after the date of injury.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
Permanent total disability (PTD) applies when you can never return to “gainful employment” due to your injury. You are eligible for PTD benefits until your age of retirement. If your injury occurred before September 30, 2018, the presumed age of retirement is 67. For injuries after October 1, 2018, the presumed age is 72.
As long as you can prove that the medical care you underwent was reasonable, necessary, and intended to cure or relieve the effects of the work injury, it should ideally be covered by your workers’ comp claim. However, the burden of proof is on you and there may be other factors that can invalidate your claim.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
If the injury prevents you from returning to work for a certain period of time, you may be eligible for rehabilitation benefits. A Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) may provide services including retraining, on-the-job training, work adjustment, job analysis, transferable skills analysis, and so on. These benefits last only until the QRC’s rehabilitation plan has been completed or 30 days after you are able to return to work.
Factors That Can Affect Whether or Not Your Workers Comp Claim Is Still Open
As mentioned, circumstances vary from case to case, so the only way you can truly determine how long your workers’ comp claim will stay open is by consulting with an attorney. Regardless, here is an overview of factors that typically play a role in determining the validity of your claim.
If You Accepted a Settlement
This is the biggest factor that can decide whether or not your claim is still open years after the injury. Most of the time, a successful claim will result in a settlement. The terms of this settlement will be outlined in a settlement agreement signed by both parties, and these terms decide whether or not your claim will remain open. Some agreements close out most future claims but leave medical expenses open. Others close out all future claims entirely. If you are unsure of what claims your settlement has left open, you can consult with a worker’s compensation attorney.
If Your Injury Caused Disability
As mentioned, if your injury caused disability, you may be eligible for TTD, TPD, or PTD. The time limits for each of these vary, but your claim can be considered open during the time and you are entitled to the benefits.
If You Have Had a New Injury
If your current situation is the result of a new injury or the aggravation of an old injury caused by your current work activities, you will need to file a new workers’ comp claim. If you believe it’s related to your old injury, you will have to prove several conditions, such as:
- The current problems involve the same injured body part.
- You have not had any new injuries that may have caused the current problems.
- You have been receiving regular medical care for the old injury and the records support that the problems are related.
If You Needed a Hearing to Resolve Your Case
Some cases may need the intervention of a judge to resolve any disputes. If this happened with your case, the decisions made by the judge can affect what benefits are available to you.
If the Laws Have Changed since Your Injury Occurred
Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws have undergone significant changes over the years, which may be confusing if they apply to your situation. Generally, the laws that were in effect when you got the injury apply (i.e. if you were injured in 1995, 1995 laws apply). This may affect the benefits you are eligible for in the present.
Get the Assistance of Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Minnesota
Verifying whether or not your claim for workman injury compensation Minneapolis is still open can be difficult, especially if the insurance company handling your claim is trying to minimize its responsibility. To protect your best interests, call us at Osterbauer Law Firm at 612-324-1878 or visit our website — we have over 76 years combined experience navigating worker’s compensation laws in Minnesota, and we can provide expert advice on any questions or concerns you may have. Call us for a free, no-obligation consultation today!