Like employers, insurance companies face penalties if they violate the Minnesota workers’ compensation laws. The penalties encourage compliance with the often-tight deadlines for reviewing First Reports of Injury and paying out benefits.
Violations of the workers’ compensation laws for which there are penalties include:
- Failure to pay benefits to an injured employee or timely file a denial of benefits;
- Denying benefits without notice or giving a reason;
- Failure to file required reports;
- Failure to respond within 30 days to a request for information from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI)
- Failure to pay benefits when a workers’ compensation judge or the state commissioner orders it; and
- Late filing or payment of penalty assessments.
Insurance companies commonly have to pay penalties due to late filing of the First Report of Injury with the Department of Labor and Industry. The First Report of Injury is, like the name says, the first document the insurance company receives from an employer. It documents the injury – often from the employer’s perspective rather than the employee’s. The insurance company has to file this report with the DLI within 14 days from the date of “disability” or the date the employer learned of the disability, whichever comes first. If the employee’s disability lasts for a very short time, the insurer may not have to file it.
Further, insurance companies have to decide whether to accept or deny liability for a workplace injury claim within a very short time after an employee reports it. They can run into trouble when they fail to pay benefits in a timely fashion, including wage loss benefits for any time the employee missed work. Or an insurance company may issue a denial of benefits without a strong basis for doing so, because of the tight timeline.
If you are facing difficulties with a workers’ compensation insurance company, contacting a lawyer can help. The lawyer can advise you on whether the insurance company’s actions are legal, and help you move your case along. Having a lawyer may cause the insurance company to treat your claim more seriously.
Are you struggling to receive workers’ compensation benefits due to poor communication from the insurance company? 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.