Minnesota Work Comp Penalty Awards – Are You Getting What You Deserve?

Minnesota Work Comp Penalty Awards – Are You Getting What You Deserve?

Having an accident at work is bad enough, what with the injury itself, the medical bills and time off work. The last thing you need are delay tactics, unreasonable negotiations by your employer or an outright failure to pay your work comp claim after your award has been determined. The good news is that there is a silver lining if your employer (or your employer’s insurance company, but for brevity’s sake we’ll stick with “employer” throughout this post) engages in such behavior: you may be able to recover additional workers’ compensation as a penalty. Penalty awards can be applicable in a variety of situations:

Unreasonable Denial of Your Claim
A penalty award can be recovered if the employer frivolously denies your claim. It can also be recovered if the employer frivolously prolongs litigation, like bringing a groundless appeal. “Frivolous” essentially means groundless, that is, that there is no real legal basis for the employer’s argument. It could also encompass the employer acting in bad faith, such as denying your claim because of some personal animosity between you and a supervisor. If a penalty is awarded on this basis, the penalty amount can be up to 30% of the total workers’ compensation award.

Delayed Payments
It might not be fair, but sometimes winning your work comp claim is only half the battle. The other half is actually getting the payments you’re entitled to from your employer. For example, Minnesota law requires that an employer must begin payment of temporary total compensation within 14 days of notice of a compensable injury, unless the employer has filed for an extension. Employers don’t always comply with this provision, though! If you do not have a lawyer and you are battling with your employer over delayed payments, it may help to point out to the employer that there are statutory penalties for delayed payments, which can include a 25% increase in your compensation award as well as penalty amounts that must be paid to the state risk safety account. Penalties for delayed payments also apply if the employer delays payment of medical treatment charges and rehabilitation expenses. Further, an employer’s withholding of your compensation simply because you won’t execute a release of your right to claim further benefits constitutes delay for which a penalty can be awarded.

Neglect or Refusal to Make Payments
If payments are not simply late but are never even made, penalties for neglect or refusal to pay may apply. These, like penalties for unreasonable denial of a claim, can be up to 30% of the total amount you are awarded.

 

If you believe you might be entitled to penalties in your Minnesota Workers’ Compensation case, call:

 

Roko Law

Christopher Rosengren
Rosengren, Kohlmeyer & Hagen Law Office Chtd.
507-625-5000
rokolaw.com