Being injured at work is never a pleasant experience. It can lead to missed opportunities to contribute to the company. For most workers and business owners, an injury prevents them from earning the right wages.
Luckily, workers and business owners can benefit from workers’ compensation in the event of an injury. The benefit can cover beneficiaries in medical expenses and wage losses due to work restrictions.
Workers’ compensation entities injured parties to receive benefits. However, not all injuries are the same. Some are the results of accidents. Others are not.
If your injury was not the result of an accident, you may be wondering if you can turn to workers’ compensation for benefits. The answer to this question is “yes” — but with a few caveats.
Read on to learn more about receiving workman comp benefits for non-accident-related work injuries in Minnesota.
Clarifying Work-Related Injuries
Minnesota’s labor statutes establish workers’ compensation to be a remedy for workers and business owners being injured at work. With this in mind, it might be helpful to clarify what constitutes an injury — in particular, a work-related one.
In Minnesota, a work-related injury is an injury a worker sustains while performing work-related tasks. Work-related tasks include any action pursuant to the fulfillment of a worker’s contractual obligations in the workplace.
For example, a work-related activity for a delivery truck driver is to drive and deliver parcels to recipients in the state. An activity not related to work for a delivery truck driver is driving to grab lunch or go to a rest stop to use the bathroom.
Also, a work-related injury needs to be sustained in an employee or business owner’s place of operations. In common day parlance, this is essentially the office or place of business. If an employee or business owner sustains an injury at home or elsewhere, the injury is not work-related.
Lastly, a work-related injury needs to be sustained within a person’s regular shift. Indeed, Minnesota employers allow employees to work overtime. Overtime work will still count as part of an employee’s regular shift, provided that there are records that prove overtime work was required or permitted.
In short, a work-related injury:
- Is an injury sustained performing a work-related task
- Must occur within one’s regular working hours
- Needs to have taken place within the regular place of business or operations
Not All Work-Related Injuries Are Sustained While Performing a Work-Related Task
Injuries while performing a work-related task occur accidentally at work. However, Minnesota also defines work-related injuries to be the result of aggravation. In other words, a pre-existing injury that was aggravated because of work-related activities will also lead to a work-related injury.
Here is an example. Imagine that you had an existing lower back injury. One day, one of your employees called in sick, unable to report for work. This employee of yours was a person in charge of lifting boxes.
Being the owner of a small company with only one employee, you were left with no alternative other than to lift boxes yourself. As you picked up a box from the floor, you noticed an audible pop in your lower back.
You aggravated your pre-existing lower back injury. In this scenario, your aggravated injury is still work-related. While it was not caused by work-related activities, these were the causes for the aggravation of your injury. Your injury, in this scenario, is not the result of an accident.
By Minnesota labor laws, injuries aggravated at work are also work-related injuries. For this reason, workers who have had injuries worsened by work-related activities can benefit from workers’ compensation.
When Can You Not Benefit from Workers Compensation?
Work-related injuries entitle you or your employees to worker’s compensation. As mentioned in the earlier section, your work-related injury does not need to have been the result of an accident at work.
There are a handful of scenarios, however, that can disqualify you or an employee from receiving workers’ compensation. Here are some of them:
If you or an employee meet an accident at work, you will usually be entitled to workers’ compensation. However, if medical results show the presence of alcohol or any banned substance, it may be grounds for your insurance provider to deny your claim.
Insurance providers will often look for ways to save money on coverage. In the interest of saving money, insurance providers will invoke reasons to deny claims. One of the most legal reasons for a claim denial is alcohol or substance intoxication.
Commute to and from Work
As mentioned earlier, a work-related injury needs to occur within the workplace or company premises. If it occurs outside the premises, the injury will not be considered work-related and will not warrant coverage.
Recreational Activities or Functions
Some workplaces in Minnesota offer recreational facilities for employees. If an employee’s injury report shows that an injury was the result of recreational activities, the injury will not be work-related.
As a result, an employee or business owner cannot benefit from workers’ compensation. The only times when an injury during a recreational activity or function will be covered are:
- An employee was required to participate in the function.
- The non-work-related function was held within business hours.
- The employer benefited from the employee’s attendance.
Fights or Horseplaying
Injuries that result from fighting or horseplaying will automatically be denied coverage by insurance providers. The reason for the denial is that these two activities are not work-related. So, any injury that may arise does not warrant or merit coverage from the insurance provider.
Get Workman Injury Compensation in Minneapolis with an Experienced Attorney
Yes, you can still receive workers’ compensation if your injury was not because of an accident at work. To maximize your chances of being covered, you will need an experienced lawyer specializing in workman injury compensation in Minneapolis.
We at Osterbauer Law are a call away if you need legal counsel or representation for your claims case. Get in touch with us now to receive workers’ compensation benefits that will save you time and money in Minneapolis and other parts of Minnesota.