Nationwide, slip and fall injuries are the leading cause of workers’ compensation benefits claims. Most of these incidents occur in office settings, a fact which surprises many people. Common causes include open desk drawers, floor debris, improper lighting, and slightly uneven floors.
These injuries are especially severe for workers over 55 and for those with pre-existing conditions. Many older people suffer from Gae-related Macular Degeneration. This condition gradually blurs straight-ahead vision. AMD is especially severe in low-light conditions. Additionally, pre-existing conditions, like a bad knee, transform embarrassing slip and falls into serious injuries.
Even if you have such a pre-existing medical condition, a lawyer in Buffalo, MN might be able to obtain substantial benefits in these cases. Frequently, these claims settle quickly and on victim-friendly terms. Many other times, however, a lawyer in Buffalo, MN must help victims navigate the often-frustrating workers’ compensation system in Minnesota.
A little over a hundred years ago, the first state-sponsored workers’ compensation systems appeared in the United States. Back then, there were few workplace safety or labor laws. So, many factories were dangerous places. As a result, a stunning number of liability lawsuits clogged the court system.
Therefore, labor and management reached a compromise known as the Grand Bargain. Workers gave up their right to sue in court for their work-related injuries. In return, management agreed to fund a no-fault insurance system. Workers need not establish negligence or anything else to obtain compensation for:
- Lost Wages: Typically, Minnesota workers’ comp insurance pays two-thirds of a victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of a temporary disability. If the victim is able to work but must accept a lower-paying light duty assignment, workers’ comp pays two-thirds of the difference between the old and new salaries. Permanent disability claims, such as loss of motion in a shoulder, usually involve a lump sum payment.
- Medical Expenses: A serious fall injury could mean tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Workers’ comp pays these costs, along with other reasonable medical expenses, such as physical therapy costs. Generally, the insurance company pays these expenses directly.
Some employer fraud schemes offer injured workers tempting shortcuts in these situations. For example, Joe’s employer might offer to pay his medical costs and take care of a few of his monthly bills if he does not file a workers’ comp claim.
Given the procedural complexities outlined below, Joe could be tempted to take this offer. However, if the employer later reneges, which will probably happen, Joe’s workers’ compensation claim deadline will have passed, and he will have no options. Additionally, Joe’s employer illegally pays lower insurance premiums. So, there is less money in the system for other injured victims.
What to Expect
In the early days, workers’ comp was a victim-friendly system which expidited the aforementioned benefits to the people who needed them. Over the years, the system has become a bloated bureaucracy which features many insurance company pawns. Making matters worse, financial payouts have declined 20 percent since 2013.
Generally, a Claims Examiner reviews each case within a few weeks. These people nearly always deny workers’ compensation claims, at least in part. Typically, they hope that victims do not partner with a lawyer in Buffalo, MN and abandon their claims.
So, if your workers’ comp claim is denied, that denial usually has nothing to do with the merits of your case. It’s just an economic thing.
After such denials, a lawyer in Buffalo, MN can demand an appeal hearing. Unfortunately, because of the bureaucracy’s size, the average wait for a hearing could be up to fifteen months. At the trial-like administrative law hearing, a lawyer in Buffalo, MN can make legal arguments, introduce evidence, and challenge the insurance company’s evidence. So, victims have a much better chance to obtain the benefits they deserve.
Lawyers in Buffalo, MN and Workers’ Comp Settlements
Out-of-court settlements resolve almost all of these claims, and these resolutions could occur at any time. Typically, the closer the administrative law hearing draws, the more likely a settlement becomes.
It’s very important that a lawyer in Buffalo, MN not settle the claim too early. Workers’ comp settlements usually include waivers. So, if the victim needs more money for additional medical costs, it’s very difficult to reopen a closed case.
As mentioned, the settlement usually includes money for lost wages. The strength of the medical evidence often influences the amount of the settlement.
Contact a Tenacious Attorney
Most workers’ comp claims settle out of court. For a free consultation with an experienced lawyer in Buffalo, MN, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.