If your relative gets injured at work and speaks another language, he may not be sure if he can receive workers’ compensation benefits. You can help by telling him about his rights, assisting him while he navigates the workers’ compensation system, and helping him get a lawyer.
Workers’ Comp Benefits Are Available to Most Minnesota Employees, No Matter the Language They Speak
People who speak another language but have limited or no English face a unique set of hurdles when trying to get workers’ compensation benefits. The process involves a fair amount of paperwork, most of which is not available in any language other than English. (The Department of Labor does offer a few documents translated into Spanish here.) In addition, injured workers may need to speak to management at their company or to the workers’ compensation insurance company. There is no guarantee that any of these people speak or write their language.
Fortunately, the law guarantees most Minnesota employees protection under the workers’ compensation laws, no matter which language they speak. As long as your relative is working for an employer for wages and he is not an independent contractor (a specific legal question), then he can receive benefits. These benefits may include wage loss benefits, medical benefits, and vocational benefits to help him return to work.
People Who Do Not Speak or Read English May Need Assistance Navigating the System
Your relative may need assistance navigating the workers’ compensation system to get the benefits he deserves. For example, he may need a translator to help him communicate how his injury occurred to management at his workplace. He may need someone to fill out or read forms for him. Or he may need a lawyer to fight a denial of benefits.
Tell your relative that assistance is available for him as he recovers from his injury. Make sure the employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company know that he does not speak English. Some insurance companies offer documents in other languages for employees. Look over his paperwork to see if his benefits have been denied, and if so recommend that he find a lawyer. With a lawyer on his side, your relative may have more success dealing with the insurance company and getting benefits.
While speaking another language might be a hurdle in getting workers’ compensation, it is a hurdle that injured workers can overcome. Just like all other Minnesota employees, non-English speakers can receive benefits for workplace injuries.
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.