All too often, workers get hurt while on the job and suffer from “invisible injuries” – physical or mental conditions that bosses and coworkers cannot see. Having an invisible injury can be challenging because people may not think that you need medical treatment. They may refuse to honor your medical restrictions, assigning you to tasks that you cannot complete.
Invisible work-related injuries could include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from witnessing an accident
- Internal injuries after a serious fall on a job site
- Carpal tunnel syndrome due to typing and mouse use
- Severe back pain
- Occupational diseases such as mesothelioma or lung irritation
How Do You Get Started with Workers’ Compensation for an Invisible Injury?
You must report your injury to your employer to begin the workers’ compensation process in Minnesota. Tell your manager, safety supervisor, or Human Resources that you have a work-related injury. Ask them to make a report to the company’s insurer.
Your employer should fill out a form describing your injury and send it to its workers’ compensation insurance company within 10 days of your report. The insurer will review the form and decide whether to grant or deny benefits. In the meantime, get any medical treatment that you need to begin healing.
What If the Insurer Denies Benefits?
If the insurer denies benefits because it does not think you are injured or does not think your injury was work-related, you need to speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer right away. He or she can advise you of your options going forward. You may be able to fight the denial and receive payment of medical expenses and lost wages.
Stigma and Retaliation
Since your manager and coworkers cannot see your injury, they may not believe that you are hurt. Get doctor’s notes to back up your diagnosis and reinforce any medical restrictions you have. Insist on following your restrictions, and say no if you cannot perform a task. Your employer cannot threaten to fire you or fire you because you report an injury and seek benefits.
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.