If the employee does not give notice within 14, 30 or 180 days (six months) after the injury, then the workers' compensation may be delayed until notice is given. Failure to give notice within 180 days of an injury may be a total and complete bar to any workers' compensation benefits.
Explain your injury and symptoms to your doctor or chiropractor
You should seek medical attention as soon as possible after your injury. You should return to see each of your doctors as often as necessary and should always tell them about all of your complaints. You should not minimize your ailments to your doctors, but it is also very important that you do not exaggerate your symptoms. Remember that what you tell your doctor will often show up in your medical records.
Be careful in answering questions about your injury
When you report an injury you will be asked to explain what happened a number of times. You will need to explain what happened to your supervisor, to your doctors, and possibly to the workers compensation insurance adjuster. The explanation should be the same in all cases. Changing your story or adding or leaving out facts may cause you trouble in having your injury accepted as a true workers compensation injury.
You are entitled to expert help in getting medical attention and getting back to work
If your injury prevents you from returning to work at your old job, the workers compensation insurance company must hire an expert to help you get back to work. These experts are called Qualified Rehabilitation Consultants (QRC's). A QRC cannot be an employee of the workers compensation insurance company, but many QRC's work exclusively at the request of certain workers compensation insurance companies. Most injured workers do not know they are entitled to help from a QRC, and sometimes the workers compensation adjuster either does not inform them of this benefit, or chooses a QRC who is difficult and not helpful. The Minnesota workers compensation law allows the injured worker the right to choose their own QRC.
An injured worker may be entitled to workers compensation benefits and other money damages if a third party is involved
Workers compensation is a "no-fault" law. In other words, it does not matter whether the injury was caused by the worker's own carelessness or negligence. If you are injured on the job, even if it's your own fault, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits.
Be careful if the workers compensation insurance adjuster asks you to see a doctor for a second opinion.
An injured worker may be asked to attend an "Independent Medical Evaluation" (IME) by a doctor chosen by the workers compensation adjuster. Because the doctor is paid by the workers compensation adjuster, the doctor's report may be used by the adjuster to stop paying workers compensation benefits. Many times the doctor will say the injury was temporary, or the symptoms are due to a pre-existing condition and not the work injury. Injured workers do not have to accept the conclusions of an IME doctor over their own doctor's advise.
Be careful if your employer wants you to return to a job you do not like.
In most cases an employer saves money by getting an injured worker back to work as soon as possible, even if the job offered is bad. However, an injured worker may lose their right to receive workers compensation benefits by refusing to accept a bad or unsuitable job.
You may have to look for work in order to receive weekly workers compensation checks.
Injured workers are entitled to workers compensation checks if their doctor says they should stay away from work altogether. However, if a doctor says an injured worker can work with certain restrictions, and the employer does not have a job the injured worker can perform because of the restrictions (like no lifting over 50 lbs.), the injured worker must look "diligently" for other work in order to receive weekly workers compensation checks.
Be careful if you receive a form called "Notice of Intention to Discontinue Benefits"
Many times the workers compensation adjuster will send you this form even though you should continue to receive weekly workers compensation checks. For example, if an IME doctor ( see 6. above) says you do not need anymore treatment and says you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement, (MMI), the workers compensation adjuster will send you a Notice of Intention to Discontinue Benefits to stop your workers compensation checks. Additionally, even though you receive a Notice of Intention to Discontinue Benefits, you may be entitled to other workers compensation benefits, including temporary partial disability weekly checks, or permanent partial disability benefits weekly checks.
Be careful if the workers compensation insurance adjuster refuses to pay for treatment, offers you a settlement or says they are closing your file
If you have medical or chiropractic bills that the workers compensation adjuster refuses to pay, a workers compensation attorney may be able to get a workers compensation judge to order the adjuster to pay for the treatment. If the judge orders that payment, the judge can also order the insurance company to pay your attorney for representing you. If a workers compensation attorney agrees to help you get medical bills paid, you should not have to pay the attorney to represent you.