The workers’ compensation insurance program provides a safety net for Minnesota employees who suffer work-related injuries. Many injury types qualify a worker for compensatory benefits, but certain conditions must apply.
What is a workplace injury?
A workplace injury is any mental or physical injury that happens while performing duties as an employee. Workers’ comp protection covers the workplace and any other location where the employee performs duties connected to their job. A workplace injury can also happen while traveling in a company vehicle or attending a mandatory event hosted by an employer.
Physical injuries associated with workers’ compensation claims can include acute traumas like broken bones, sprains and other types of physical distress suffered from an accident. An injury that results due to repetitive motion over time also meets workers’ compensation requirements.
Individuals who suffer an occupational disease as the result of their employment may also be eligible for benefits. An occupational disease is one that is linked disproportionately to employees in a certain line of work.
Post-traumatic stress syndrome and other psychiatric issues that result from job-related activities also make workers eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. A licensed mental health professional must diagnose the condition, and a demonstrated link between the condition and the job is necessary. It is important to note that employees who experience mental harm due to negative performance evaluations do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Compensation eligibility for an injury that happens at work becomes more complicated when certain circumstances apply. For example, benefits may not become part of the recovery process for an injury sustained while engaged in horseplay or fighting. The same is true for injuries workers cause to themselves on purpose. Workers who suffer injuries while engaging in illegal activities or contravening company policies may also find their workers’ compensation claims denied.
It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between which injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and which are not. Injured workers who are unsure if compensation is available to them may benefit from a consultation with a lawyer familiar with the workers’ compensation process. If you’ve been injured on the job and you’re unsure of your next step, it would be wise to seek legal counsel.