Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Received A Severance Package From My Employer. Can I Still Bring a Claim For Workers Compensation Benefits?


In the current economy many employers are looking to eliminate costs wherever possible. Unfortunately for Minnesota employee’s who are currently working in light duty positions or returned to work with physical restrictions as the result of a Minnesota Workers Compensation injury, you are a target for downsizing. The laws are suppose to protect you from losing your job merely because you had a work injury but some employers do ignore these laws and terminate you anyway.

As a part of these layoffs, employers often offer voluntary resignations or severance package that purport to pay your benefits for a short period of time or offer a lump sum payment in exchange for a “full release of any and all claims”. A client recently asked me whether he was therefore precluded from pursuing his workers compensation claim. The answer is absolutely NO! Employment releases, including those with a voluntary resignation and/or full release of claims do not prevent you from pursuing an action for Minnesota Workers Compensation benefits.

In Minnesota your right to pursue workers compensation benefits is protected under state law and ONLY a workers compensation judge appointed by the Governor at the Office of Administrative Hearings may approve an agreement to waive or close out workers compensation benefits. Minnesota has created a somewhat paternalistic workers compensation system that mandates approval of any limitations on an injured workers ‘ rights to workers compensation benefits.

If you sustained a workers compensation injury and lost your job, you may still be entitled to wage loss and rehabilitation benefits including retraining. Contact attorney Thomas Atkinson at Atkinson Law Offices and Minnesota Disability for a free consultation. Free means just what is stated, you pay nothing directly to our office even if we prevail and obtain a recovery for you. Contact Tom Atkinson at 651-324-9514 or View our web site at