This section covers some common questions many people have regarding workers' compensation claims.
What Type of Injuries are Covered by Workers' Compensation?
Employees can be injured either as a result of specific traumatic events resulting in the immediate onset of symptoms, or as the result of repetitive minute trauma (referred to as "Gillette" injuries in Minnesota after the name of the case first establishing that such injuries are compensable). The date of injury in Gillette situations is the date of the "ultimate breakdown", meaning the date the employee is first rendered disabled from working or the date the employee first requires significant treatment of his/her injury.
Employees can be injured in motor vehicle accidents while working. Under such circumstances, workers' compensation benefits will be primary. Accidents that occur while commuting to or from work are generally not covered by workers' compensation, unless the employee is required to use his/her vehicle in the performance of his/her normal work duties.
What if My Employer Does Not Have Workers' Compensation Coverage?
Claims against employers who do not have workers' compensation coverage are handled by the Special Compensation Fund - Uninsured Division. All of the normal benefits are available to employees injured while working for uninsured employees.
Can I Choose My Own Doctor?
The general rule is that the injured employee is always allowed to choose the health care provider from whom they wish to receive treatment. This right may be limited in two situations:
1. If the employer has a managed care plan in place on the date of injury, or opts to purchase one after the date of injury, the employee may be required to treat with a participating provider on the managed care plan's list. However, the employee is always able to treat with any provider with whom he/she has a prior history of care.
2. If the employee belongs to a union, the collective bargaining agreement may contractually obligate the employee to treat with specified providers
*Above information obtained from David C. Wulff, ESQ.