January 30, 2019 Guest Post – Meuser Law Office, P.A. “New Changes to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act as of October 1, 2018”

Did you sustain an injury on or after October 1, 2018? If so, there are a several significant changes that went into effect in 2018 and 2019 that may increase the value of your Minnesota workers’ compensation claims.  

Temporary Partial Disability benefits (TPD):  

  • What is it? These are partial wage loss benefits paid to an employee injured on the job who is earning less than his or her preinjury wage as a result of the work injury.
  • Example: Officer Steve injures his lumbar spine in the course of arresting a suspect. Officer Steve is restricted from lifting more than 35 pounds and can only work 20 hours per week. Officer Steve is entitled to receive wage loss benefits from workers’ compensation for the difference between his pre-injury wage and what he is earning working 20 hours per week. 
  • What changed? Wage loss benefits under the workers’ compensation have statutory caps, limiting the total number of weeks that an employee can receive benefits. The maximum number of weekly benefits available for temporary total disability benefits has been increased from 225 to 275 weeks. This means that we will be able to claim additional 50 weeks of wage loss benefits on your behalf as a part of any settlement demand, and the insurer’s financial exposure has increased in serious injury cases. 

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): 

  • What is it? This is a sum of money that is paid to an employee who has suffered a ratable, permanent impairment under the workers’ compensation disability schedules. This monetary benefit is intended to compensate injured workers for a permanent functional impairment from a work injury. 
  • What changed? The table used to calculate these benefits has been changed to provide for higher payments, which will result in more money to employees who sustain permanent injuries. 

Permanent Total Disability (PTD) retirement presumption: 

  • What is it? Permanent Total Disability is wage loss benefit paid to an employee who is determined to be permanently unemployable due to a work-related injury. To qualify for benefits, an employee must show that he or she has a serious medical condition, such as permanent loss of eyesight or paralysis, or that he or she has a minimum about of permanent partial disability (PPD). 
  • What changed? The presumed retirement (and cessation of benefits) at age 67 has been eliminated and benefits now will cease at age 72. This is a complex area of the law. If you believe that you are permanently and totally disabled as a result of a work injury, you should seek legal assistance to ensure you are getting the benefits to which you are entitled.  

PTSD Presumption for First Responders

  • What is it? As of October 1, 2013, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) became a stand-alone, compensable work injury. This means that employees who were diagnosed with PTSD as a result of their work duties, were entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. 
  • What changed? As of January 1, 2019, the Minnesota Legislature took it a step further and created a presumption of work-relatedness for first responders who are diagnosed with PTSD. For first responders diagnosed with PTSD on or after January 1, 2019, their PTSD is presumed to be related to their work as a police officer, firefighter, correctional officer, paramedic, dispatcher, nurse, etc. Employers and insurers will be able to rebut the presumption that the first responder’s PTSD is related to his or her work by presenting evidence that the PTSD was the result of another cause. Nevertheless, this will likely result in many more PTSD claims being accepted by employers and insurers. 

If you or someone you know has suffered from a work injury, contact the experienced attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. to explain your rights under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act, PERA, MSRS, or civil law. We will work to inform you of your rights and maximize your benefits under the law. Contact us today for a free confidential, no-obligation case consultation at 1-877-746-5680.