Valuing A Workers’ Compensation Claim In Minnesota

workers' compensation claim

Injured on the job?

If you were injured on the job in Minnesota, you may be thinking about filing, or have already filed, a workers’ comp claim.  Your next question might be how much your claim is worth.  Here’s a quick guide to what you can expect.

 

Temporary Total Disability

If you are completely unable to work as a result of your work injury, you may be entitled to temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.  The word “temporary” in that term refers to the period of time when you are healing or recovering from the injury and are unable to work.  Under Minnesota law, TTD benefits will be 66 percent, or two-thirds, of your salary.  The maximum amount of TTD benefits you can receive is $850 per week, and the minimum is $130 per week, or your actual wage, whichever is less.  You are entitled to TTD benefits for up to 130 weeks or 90 days from when your employer/insurer serves you with notice that a physician has put you at “maximum medical improvement.” Note that proof of a “diligent job search” is required to receive TTD benefits.

 

Temporary Partial Disability

You may be entitled to temporary partial disability payments (TPD) if, as a result of your work injury, you are working at a wage loss.  Be it with your date-of-injury employer or a new employer altogether, if you are able to do some work, but are making less than what you were making on the date of injury, you are entitled to two-thirds of the difference.  TPD benefits are available for up to 225 weeks.

 

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

Minnesota recognizes a concept called “maximum medical improvement” in workers’ compensation claims.  The idea is that there is a date after which no further significant recovery from or significant lasting improvement to a personal injury can reasonably be anticipated, based upon reasonable medical probability.  Unless you are involved in a retraining program, your TTD benefits will cease 90 days after you receive a medical report stating that you have reached maximum medical improvement.  The law envisions that you will be able to find a new job within this 90-day period.  TTD benefits also cease at retirement, if that happens before you reach maximum medical improvement.

 

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

After you reach the point of maximum medical improvement, you may still be entitled to certain benefits.  If you can go back to work but still have functional loss of a part of your body, you can receive  permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.   Although the rules on valuing a TTD claim are relatively straightforward, don’t get lulled into thinking the rules on PPD also will be!  And, be sure to note that the exact rules for valuing your claim will depend on what year your injury occurred in; be sure to let your attorney know exactly when the injury happened.

PPD benefits are based on percentage ratings of disability to the body as a whole.  Minnesota law has pre-determined the percentage of disability for various injuries.  For example, the loss of vision in one eye is considered to be a 24 percent disability, while severe asthma is 25 percent.  You can still be compensated for an injury, such as a work-related psychological injury, even if it isn’t included in the schedule.

The total percentage rating is then multiplied by a specific dollar amount or a number of weeks.  For example, the amount due for an impairment rating of 11 percent is 11 percent of $85,000, or $9,350.  A 25 percent disability would be valued at 25 percent of $95,000, or $23,750.  However, again, there are different applicable percentages and dollar amounts depending on when your injury occurred.  Also, note that if you had a pre-existing disability that compounded your injury, your benefits award will be reduced by the proportion of your current disability that is the result of your pre-existing condition.

 

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

What if you have no more PPD benefits available but still cannot work?  It’s possible that you qualify for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits.  This is available for people with very serious injuries, such as total and permanent blindness or paralysis, or for people who are totally and permanently incapacitated from working and who also meet certain additional criteria.  The amount of these benefits, if available, will be 66 percent of your weekly wage at the time of injury, subject to maximum and minimum weekly amounts.

If you have comments or questions, please call Rosengren Kohlmeyer at (507)-625-5000 or send us an email at crosengren@rokolaw.com. or visit us online.

Christopher Rosengren
Rosengren Kohlmeyer
Mankato, Minnesota