When you begin a workers’ compensation case, you hope for a quick resolution with all the benefits you need. It doesn’t always turn out that way, and you cannot predict how long your case will take at the beginning. Most cases, however, follow a predictable course.
- Initial Grant or Denial of Benefits
After you report your workplace injury to your employer, the employer has 10 days to send the injury report to its workers’ compensation insurance company. The insurance company has to grant or deny benefits by 14 days after you report the injury. You will not receive compensation (wage loss benefits) for the first 3 days after your injury that you are off work.
If the insurance company grants benefits, it will start paying wage loss benefits for any days after the first 3 days, and it will pay for reasonable medical costs due to the injury. If the insurance company denies benefits, then you will need to move to the next step in the process.
- Filing a Claim Petition
When the insurance company denies benefits to you, you often need to file a claim petition to have your case heard by a judge. Sometimes you can resolve the dispute informally with the insurance company, but more often it stands by a denial. Claim petitions can get resolved fairly quickly after a brief hearing, or it may take nearly a year to prepare the case.
In the cases that take longer, you will probably have an independent medical exam (IME), your deposition may be taken, and your lawyer may take depositions and exchange documents with the insurance company. This all takes a few months to complete. If you are working with a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC), then your rehabilitation plan may take several months to a year. At the end, hopefully you have returned to work or have a new job.
Fairly often, the insurance company raises the possibility of settlement before a case makes it all the way to a hearing. Settling the case may save the insurance company money in the long run. It also may wrap up the case more quickly. After an injured worker accepts a settlement, the judge has to approve it before the insurance company pays the settlement amount.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your 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.