Sunday, August 9, 2009

Your Work Comp Claim Was Denied. Now What Can You Do?

Hire an EXPERIENCED workers compensation attorney TODAY. The same fee is paid to every attorney under Minnesota law so why would you hire someone who only dabbles in work comp or has only been out of law school for a few years? It makes no sense!

At Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability, Attorney Tom Atkinson who has nearly two decades of Minnesota workers compensation experience will personally oversee your claim, puncutually returning your calls! When your claim is denied the ONLY way to get benefits paid is to initiate a claim by filing a Claim Petition.

A Claim Petition is a standard form that sets forth basic information about the employee’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The Claim Petition contains information about the employee, including his or her name, address, Social Security Number, date of birth, and date(s) of injury. It also lists the name of the employer(s) and insurer(s). The Claim Petition also sets forth the nature of the injury and the average weekly wage at the time of the injury. Finally, the Claim Petition lists the types of claims alleged, including Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), Permanent Total Disability (PTD), Permanent Partial Disability (PPD), Rehabilitation Benefits, and/or medical benefits.

The Claim Petition is filed with the Department of Labor and Industry, and copies of the Claim Petition are served on the employee, the employer, the insurer, and any third-party payors, such as major medical insurers. Notice to Potential Intervenors are often served along with the Claim Petition to any medical providers and any third-party payors.

A Claim Petition is generally filed when the employer and/or insurer is denying primary liability, meaning that they admit no responsibility for the injury. A Claim Petition is also filed when there is a claim for monetary benefits, such as Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), and/or Permanent Partial Disaiblity (PTD), even if the insurer admits primary liability. If an injured worker has settled his or her case on a full, final complete basis, leaving open future medical benefits, a Claim Petition may be used in some instances where there is a dispute over medical expenses.

Once your Claim Petition has been filed, the employer and/or insurer is generally required to file an Answer to the Claim Petition within 20 days. The employer and/or insurer is required to serve specific responses to the allegations in the claim petition. If an answer is not filed in a timely matter and/or an extension of time to answer is not requested, the employee may request that the matter be scheduled for an expedited hearing.

Typically, after the Claim Petition has been filed, the matter is scheduled for a Settlement Conference at the Office of Administrative Hearings. Prior to the Settlement Conference, if appropriate, the employee’s attorney will often submit a settlement demand to the attorney for the employer and insurer. The purpose of the Settlement Conference is to attempt to discuss the possibility of settlement. Some cases settle at the Settlement Conference, and some do not. If it appears that the parties have reached an impasse, and that further negotiations will not facilitate a settlement, the case may be referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings for the scheduling of a hearing. If either side needs additional information, if the case is not ripe for settlement discussions, or if the sides need additional time to negotiate, the Compensation Judge may also reset a Settlement Conference for a month or two in the future.

If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the case will proceed toward a Hearing. In Minnesota workers’ compensation, a Hearing is the equivalent of a trial. At the Hearing, both sides will present evidence in support of their respective positions, and the employee will generally provide testimony. After all evidence has been heard, the Compensation Judge issues a decision, which is final and binding on the parties.

The entire process from the filing of the Claim Petition through a Hearing can take anywhere from six months to a year or more. In some instances your case can be expedited due to financial hardship. Let an attorney like Tom Atkinson personally assist you in determining whether your case could possibly qualify. You may reach him directly at 651-324-9514 or email at tom@mndisability. Also be sure to check our the Minnesota Disability and Atkinson Law Office web site at