Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What Happens If I'm Never Able To Return To Work?

The Minnesota Legislature changes our laws every few years resulting in significant changes to the benefits you are entitled to under Minnesota’s Workers Compensation Act. In Minnesota, your benefit rights depend on your date of injury. Just because your friend or neighbor is entitled to a certain weekly wage benefit, your rights may be based on a different set of rules.

During the last decade one of the biggest changes we have seen is entitlement to permanent total disability benefits. Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are wage loss benefits available when an employee is unable to work as the result of a work injury for an indefinite period of time. Despite what you may read, it doesn’t mean that a judge must find that you can NEVER work again. This is a far less stringent requirement and a legal rule overlooked by attorneys who merely dabble in Minnesota’s complex workers compensation system.

If I am PTD, how long am I entitled to benefits?

If you are permanently and totally disabled prior to October 1, 1995, you are very likely entitled to wage loss benefits for the remainder of your life. However, for injuries on or after October 1, 1995, employee’s eligibility for permanent total disability benefits usually ends at the age 67, or the state retirement age.

There are other very important factors that the courts consider including age, education and degree of disability depending upon your date of injury. Attorney’s who “dabble” in workers compensation can look up some of the guidelines, but those who have tried these cases up to hearing and to the Workers Compensation Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court understand the distinctions in presenting a winning argument over merely reciting facts.

Can’t a car accident or dog bite attorney also help me with my work injury?

When you hire an attorney like Thomas Atkinson you will have an attorney with nearly two decades of experience handling some of the most complex workers compensation cases before the courts. I don’t write wills, or help those who have been injured in non-work related car accidents. I limit my practice to workers compensation to enable me to stay on top of the ever-growing laws, rules and regulations that our legislature enacts nearly every year.

If you have an ongoing workers compensation claim and believe that your restrictions have prevented you from returning to employment, I can evaluate your case and determine whether there are vocational or rehabilitation options to assist your return to work. However, if not, I am prepared to assist you in pursuing a claim for permanent total disability. Contact me at 651-324-9514 or tom@mndisability. Visit attorney Tom Atkinson's web site at