The Minnesota workers’ compensation system has specific deadlines by which you must report your work-related injuries. Generally, you should report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. If you delay, the insurance company may automatically deny benefits. Fortunately Minnesota law allows up to 180 days (and sometimes more) to report an injury, depending on a few factors described below.
- Report within 14 days of injury
- Your report is on time. Your employer cannot deny benefits for a late report.
- Report 15 to 30 days after injury
- Your employer can deny your claim, but only if it shows that it was harmed by the late report.
- Report 31 to 180 days after injury
- Your employer cannot deny your claim if you show that you did not report the injury more quickly because of either (a) your mistake, inadvertence, ignorance of fact or law, or your inability to give notice; or (b) fraud, misrepresentation, or dishonesty by your employer.
- Report more than 180 days after injury
- If you were mentally or physically incapacitated and could not give notice of your injury, you can still receive benefits after 180 days have passed. You must give notice as soon as you are no longer incapacitated.
In addition, you have more time to pursue your case if the insurance company initially denies benefits. You have 3 years or more to pursue your claim with the Department of Labor and Industry after an initial benefits denial. You should consult a workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about these deadlines.
Workers with repetitive strain or repetitive motion injuries may not learn the extent of their injuries for months or years. Under the law, they must give notice of the injury within 180 days after it becomes reasonably apparent to them that the injury has resulted in a disability compensable by workers’ compensation. If they learn that the injury is “likely to cause” a compensable disability, they also must report it. (Anderson v. Frontier Communications, 819 N.W.2d 143 (Minn. 2012).)
The same is true if you have an initially minor injury from work that gradually gets more serious. As soon as you realize how serious it is and that it is likely covered by workers’ comp, you have 180 days to report it at the most.
Sometimes insurance companies try to deny benefits because the employer says it never received a report of the injury. Employers who have actual knowledge of injuries cannot claim lack of notice. For example, if your manager saw you get injured, your employer has actual knowledge through its agent the manager. Do not rely on non-managerial employees to report your injury – if you are not sure whether the employer knows about it, notify upper management or H.R.
Was your workers’ compensation claim denied for late notice to your employer? 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.