Getting the help you need to achieve as full a recovery as possible after suffering a work-related injury can be challenging, to say the least. It doesn't make it any easier that so much misinformation circulates regarding the workers' compensation process in Minnesota and throughout the nation. Trying to navigate the system alone can be like adding fuel to a fire where after-accident stress is concerned. However, you can take comfort in knowing there's a support network available to help you.
After suffering a severe workplace injury, you may have many questions and concerns. Some of those may be:
How will you take care of your family?
How long will it be before you can return to work?
How will you pay your mortgage?
Will workers' compensation benefits cover all your medical expenses -- even future costs?
Any Minnesota employee who suffers an injury on the job has the right to seek workers' compensation benefits. This right also extends to workers who suffer repetitive stress injuries or conditions exacerbated by their job requirements. If you are suffering from an injury that was not the result of a one-time accident but the result of repeating a certain task over an extended period of time, you may have a valid claim to benefits.
A million different questions may go through your head after being injured at work. Dealing with the injury itself presents stress on top of making sure you are ok, treating your injuries, and figuring out what to do next. For those who have sustained a workplace injury, it's good to understand what options you have and how workers' compensation works.
Here are some questions you may be wondering about.
It wasn't your fault you got hurt at work, and it has caused some serious problems. Not only is it affecting your relationships with your family, but your financial resources are quickly dwindling. You can't live on 60 percent of your former earnings--so what are you supposed to do? Is there any option that can bring more money in?
SSDI may be an option
If you have been told that your injury will keep you out of work for a year or more, you may be able to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI.) SSDI is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA.) Benefits are based on prior earnings, and there are certain criteria that you must meet to qualify.
Mesothelioma is a fatal lung disease linked to asbestos exposure. A University of MN study, cited in Minnpost, notes a long latency period, with diagnosis often occurring 20-50 years after exposure. Minnesota Iron Range workers are diagnosed with it at nearly three times the rate of other Minnesotans. Researchers are unsure whether the disease is a result of long-ago asbestos exposure, or if it is related to taconite and silica dust.
What it means for taconite workers
Regardless of the how you contracted it, mesothelioma is a serious and almost always fatal disease, and since symptoms are generally mild in the beginning and can mimic other diseases, it is usually well-advanced before it is diagnosed.
Working in the heat can be a danger, but there are ways to reduce the risk. Knowing how to recognize the signs of heat stress and how to prevent the condition are both very important. If you're injured due to heat stress while working you may have a legal case, but the best choice is to avoid being a victim of heat stress altogether. Paying close attention to how you're feeling when you're working in a very hot environment, or outdoors in a Minnesota summer, can make a big difference in your health. Also keep an eye on the people around you, so you can help them if they appear to be struggling with the heat or humidity.
If you are injured at your workplace, it is advisable that you apply for workers' compensation benefits in order to be compensated for the medical bills and other financial losses you sustained because of the injury. However, your claim may be denied for a number of reasons. As a result, it is imperative that you know how to avoid having your workers' compensation claim denied. Here are some tips to help you make your claim go smoothly:
Every year, thousands of Minnesota workers suffer injuries at work. If you're one of these workers, you're likely to have many questions and concerns about what you should do. Thankfully, if you suffer an injury at work, you are entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits.
Workers' compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that you can recover compensation regardless of whether or not your actions contributed to your injuries. In Minnesota, all employers are required to carry workers' compensation coverage, however, this isn't a guarantee that your claim for benefits will be approved.
You've worked hard over the years to develop your skills and advance in your career. Now, a workplace injury has changed everything. You can no longer perform the job you used to do, and you aren't qualified for any other position. What now?
The good news is that Minnesota provides vocational rehabilitation services to qualified workers. You may have the opportunity to learn a new trade or launch a new career - at no cost to you.