Will my knee surgery be covered?
I am a floor installer and I work for a company that is reluctant to cover me with workers' compensation. I have no prior injuries but one day my knee started to hurt, so I had it checked out with a doctor on my own insurance. My doctor says I am going to need to have knee surgery and be out of work for 3 months.
Since I went to see my own doctor through my own health insurance, will the surgery be covered through workers' compensation? What about my wages while I'm out of work for 3 months? If my employer doesn't want to cover me, what steps can I take? Thank you for any information you can give to help me get a better handle on this situation.
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ANSWER for "Will my knee surgery be covered?":
Kyle (Isanti, MN):
According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website:
"All employers are required by Minnesota Statutes, section 176.181, subdivision 2, to either purchase workers' compensation insurance to provide benefits to their employees for work-related injuries, or obtain approval from the Minnesota Department of Commerce permitting self-insurance upon proof of the employer's financial ability to do so.
There is no minimum number of employees an employer must have before insurance is required; therefore, an employer with only one part-time employee generally must provide coverage. Several penalties may be assessed against employers that fail to properly insure their employees."
If your employer did not have in effect workers' compensation insurance, or wasn't self-insured at the time of your injury, you may request the State of Minnesota's Special Compensation Fund pay your appropriate benefits.
A compensation judge will first determine whether your employer is liable for your injury and, if appropriate, order the Special Compensation Fund to pay you all appropriate compensation benefits. Your employer will then have to reimburse the Special Compensation Fund for benefits paid to you along with a penalty in the amount of 65 percent of those benefits.
Moreover, if your employer didn't carry workers' compensation insurance or wasn't properly self-insured, you also have the legal right to sue your employer in a personal injury lawsuit. The amount awarded in court by a judge or jury in your lawsuit can be much higher than the workers' comp benefits you might receive.
If you succeed in the lawsuit, you may be entitled to reimbursement for your medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, costs of travel to and from treatment, etc.), lost wages, and an additional amount for your pain and suffering.
You may also retain an attorney to pursue the case for you. Learn more about how to choose the best injury attorney for your case.
To review the Statute (law) governing employers and their legal duty to provide workers' compensation for employees, go to this page of The Office of The Revisor and Statutes.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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