If you never reported your workplace injury to your employer, you are not alone. Many workers do not report their injuries, disabilities, or medical conditions right away for a variety of reasons. You still may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in some cases.
Minnesota law permits workers 180 days and sometimes more to report an injury for workers’ compensation purposes. If it has been more than 30 days since the injury, you will need to show that you did not report it earlier because of one of the following:
- Your mistake or inadvertence
- Your ignorance of fact or law
- Your inability to give notice
- Your employer’s fraud, misrepresentation, or dishonesty.
If more than 180 days have passed, you can receive benefits if you were mentally or physically incapacitated, preventing you from giving notice of your injury to your employer.
Sometimes, workers do not report injuries because they were unaware they had workers’ comp claims. This may occur because (1) the injury was due to repetitive strain or motion, (2) the injury was initially minor but worsened over time, or (3) the worker did not think the injury was covered by workers’ comp or did not understand how to get workers’ comp benefits. In other words, the worker either did not know he was injured or did not know the injury qualified him for workers’ comp.
If you initially did not report your injury, a court may need to make a determination of whether you reported it in time. For gradual injuries due to repetitive strain, the court will examine when it became “reasonably apparent” to you that your injury resulted in, or is likely to result in, a disability for which you can receive benefits. For minor injuries, the court will examine when you should have realized how serious the injury was and when you realized it would fall under workers’ comp.
The courts in Minnesota recognize that workers do not always discover or report work injuries right away. Often a worker will visit the doctor because his back has been hurting or his wrists are sore, only to learn that he has back problems due to years of lifting or carpal tunnel syndrome due to years of using a computer mouse. The initial actions leading to the disability could have happened many years ago. Most people, however, would not have recognized that they had an injury, let alone a disability, until the doctor made a diagnosis.
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.