Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance designed to provide medical and wage replacement to workers injured at work in exchange for the mandatory surrender of the worker’s right to file for the personal injury of wrongful dismissal. The Workers Compensation Act was originally passed by the state of Minnesota in 1970 and remained to be one of the most comprehensive worker’s compensation policies in the country. Although similar to other worker’s compensation laws, the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act distinguishes itself in that it incorporates several important components that set it apart from other states’ worker’s compensation laws. These components include:
This article will discuss the first component, the mandatory surrender of an employees’ right to file for personal injury lawsuits. The reason for requiring surrendered rights rests on the main article of the law, which clearly states that employers are bound to reimburse any reasonable expenses they have had to incur in dealing with the claims made by their employees. In the main article, this refers to rehabilitation or therapy. This aspect should not be taken since many workers who have suffered injuries in the workplace may not require rehabilitation and therapy until they recover. So, although it is mandatory that employees must give up their right to file for personal injury lawsuits, employers are not required to compensate for these expenses. Moreover, employees have the right to bring action against their employers for failing to make them aware of these requirements.
Some employers prefer to employ people with little or no legal knowledge because they think that workers will be too intimidated to press charges against employers who fail to make them aware of their workers’ compensation rights. This argument has some force, but it overlooks several important facts. First, a worker’s mental state can impact their ability to press charges. Even if the injured employee believes that they have the right to pursue the case, employers may succeed in getting the court to suppress the claim because the workers have not been sufficiently rehabilitated. Secondly, an injured employee can withdraw from a claim even after it has been filed. Sometimes, a worker will be too ill to go ahead with it, but this does not mean that they have been denied their rights.
The Workers Compensation Commission believes that these common misconceptions about workers’ compensation may actually be harming workers. In fact, it has reported many cases where employers have tried to discredit their employees’ claims by pointing out that they are subject to different rules under the Workers Compensation Act. If an employee files a complaint, the employer may be able to defeat the case by pointing out that the rules governing workers’ compensation apply only to him. It is similar to a defence that some employers employ when facing negligence charges: that the damage was not caused intentionally. However, this argument does not hold water in court because it ignores the general principle that the Act applies to all similarly situated employers.