Who Decides a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Who Decides a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Claim?

If you were injured on the job in Minnesota, you’ve probably been looking into making a workers’ compensation claim (smart move). Who will actually decide your claim? Do you have to go to court?

Workers’ Compensation Judges

In Minnesota, work’ comp claims are first decided by special judges who work for the Workers’ Compensation Division. The Workers’ Compensation Division is part of the Office of Administrative Hearings, which is an administrative office. That means that the courtroom you go to for a workers’ compensation claim is being run by a judge who specializes in work’ comp.

Most work comp claims are heard in one of six hub cities in Minnesota: Duluth, Walker, Alexandria, Mankato, Rochester, and St. Paul. So, no matter where you live, you likely won’t have to travel too far to get to your hearing.

What Does a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Judge do in a Workers’ Compensation Hearing?

First, the judge will preside over any pretrial hearings. This could include a wide variety of things, from ruling on requests by your attorney to having your employer provide more information that could be relevant to your claim to deciding whether or not any compensation you’ve already received would duplicate your work comp benefits. A workers’ compensation judge will also conduct any settlement conferences between you and your employer, if there’s a chance that you can reach an agreement without going to trial. Finally, the judge will conduct the actual trial.

Trials of work comp claims will share some things in common with TV-style courtrooms. There might be opening statements from each side, witnesses will be sworn in before testifying, and evidence will be presented in exhibits. After the trial is over, the judge will issue findings and an order, which constitutes his or her decision on your claim.

Appealing the Decision of a Workers’ Compensation Judge

If you don’t receive a favorable decision on your benefits at trial, you can appeal the judge’s decision. If you do, your appeal will be heard by judges form the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA). If you are still unhappy with the decision, you can try to appeal the WCCA’s decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court. However, we recommend working with the attorneys of Rosengren, Kohlmeyer and Hagen Law Office Chtd. in order to receive a favorable result the first time!

Christopher Rosengren
Rosengren, Kohlmeyer & Hagen Law Office Chtd.