In Minnesota, the workers’ compensation insurance company may use a job demands analysis to argue that you should not receive benefits. Sometimes, a JDA is inaccurate or is interpreted incorrectly to fit the insurance company’s perspective. But there are ways you can counter a JDA to show you should get benefits.
The simplest version of a job demands analysis may be a form sent by the insurance company to the employer. The insurance company representative will ask the employer to fill out the form showing which physical activities an injured worker performed on the job. Usually the form has checkboxes or a grid, where the employer indicates how often the worker needs to:
A JDA form may ask how often the worker has to perform high-risk employment activities, such as climbing ladders or using hazardous chemicals. Some injured workers may not be able to perform these tasks due to their restrictions.
Many injured workers have lifting restrictions, meaning their doctors tell them not to lift items that weigh more than a certain amount. The employer may claim that lifting over that amount is an important part of the job, when in reality it only happens occasionally. Often the person filling out the form (Human Resources or an office assistant) has never performed the worker’s job.
Sometimes a job demands analysis is more extensive than checking a few boxes. The workers’ compensation insurance company may hire an outside company to shadow a worker in the same job as the injured worker. The company then prepares a report showing its analysis of how often workers in this position perform certain tasks. It assesses similar factors to those described above, but the report will contain much more detail than just a checklist. For example, for a lifting task the report would say how much the item weighed, its dimensions, how high it was lifted and where to, and how often similar objects were lifted like this.
Insurance companies use JDAs to show that injured workers can return to work by claiming that the workers’ restrictions do not limit them from doing the job. But JDAs do not always provide a full picture of what workers do on a daily basis. Nor do they assess whether accommodations would help the worker do the job better. These are arguments that your lawyer can help you make if the insurer decides to deny benefits. Insurers disregard these problems and may push workers to return so that they do not have to pay as much money. Wage loss benefits get reduced or eliminated when workers return to work.
You may be able to use a JDA in conjunction with a functional capacity evaluation to show that you cannot do your job and need continued benefits. The differences between a JDA and an FCE will be discussed in another blog.
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.