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What is Workers' Compensation?

Dave Langevin - Friday, October 02, 2015

Today we are beginning  a series of blog posts about understanding Minnesota workers’ compensation and your rights as an injured employee. So, let’s start from the start. What is workers’ compensation?

Injuries that occur on the job present a huge risk to both employees and employers. For employees, a serious injury could put you out of work and prevent you from making a living going forward. For employers, the types of lawsuits that a company might face for just one injury could put that company out of business and stop entrepreneurs from building the businesses that make our society great. Luckily, Minnesota has created a plan aimed at preventing either of these scenarios from happening.

The Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act represents a compromise between protecting the rights of employers and the rights of employees when an employee is hurt at work. The Act has existed in some form since 1913, and it has two basic principles that allow it to succeed.

The first principle is that employers are liable to pay compensation in every case of personal injury or death of an employee arising out of, and in the course of, employment without regard to the question of negligence. What does that mean in English? If you get hurt on the job, your employer must compensate you for that injury even if it wasn’t their fault.

The second principle is that the employer’s liability is limited and the employee cannot take their claim against the employer to court. Essentially, the employee receives a lower guaranteed amount of money (2/3 of their lost wages) rather than being allowed to sue their employer for the possibility of receiving more.

These two principles work together to allow Minnesota businesses and their employees to go about their daily business with the lowest possible amount of risk. Employers know that insurance coverage for on-the-job injuries is a part of doing business, but also know that one injury won’t force them to close up shop. Employees get the peace of mind that comes with a guaranteed income in the case of injury, but are also not allowed to get rich off of a lawsuit at the business owners expense. Overall, the system works to make sure that everyone is protected when someone gets hurt at work.

Stay tuned for more posts about the Minnesota workers’ compensation system. In our next post, we will be talking about what it means to be injured in the course of employment. In the meantime, if you have been injured at work and are not receiving fair compensation from your employer, give us a call. 612-ASK-DAVE (612-275-3283) or toll free at 1-800-888-4425. We are here to help!