When it comes to understanding workers’ compensation in the state of Minnesota, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. It may seem as if everyone has an opinion or information about what a worker can or should do following an on-the-job injury. However, if workers believe everything people tell them, they may end up doing something wrong or missing an opportunity to receive compensation for their injuries.
It is essential to know that federal and state laws protect workers on the job.
Workers have rights
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set forth regulations under federal law that ensure workers have the right to a safe workplace. These rights establish things such as the following:
- Safe working conditions
- Freedom from retaliation from reporting an injury
- Proper protection from hazardous materials
- Safe equipment for performing work tasks
Minnesota state law makes workers’ compensation insurance mandatory for employers.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers injuries and illnesses
A worker may believe that if he or she caused the accident, then workers’ compensation is not an option. However, unless the employee was impaired by alcohol or drugs, or acted recklessly or on purpose to cause the injury, he or she is likely eligible for compensation.
The injury does not have to be the result of a one-time incident, either. An employee may develop an illness such as cancer from exposure to toxic substances; workers’ compensation covers work-related illnesses. Repetitive strain injuries that occur over months or years are also eligible for compensation.
Workers’ compensation does not just cover the cost of medical treatment. A worker may also receive a portion of his or her missed wages while out of work recovering from the injury or illness.
Getting informed is the first necessary step towards a successful claim. Time is essential in these claims and an employee should not wait before pursuing a case. Workers’ compensation attorneys can provide on-the-job injury consultations, which can be a critical first component to evaluating a potential compensation case. All injured employees should first seek to find the facts before making any decisions about how to pursue a claim.