If you are an employee of Boise Cascade in International Falls who recently lost your job due to the layoffs, you may be surprised to learn that you have work comp claims. We have represented people in similar situations over the years following major layoffs at Blandin Paper Company and LTV Mining, to name a couple of examples.
In our experience, employer’s generally do not notify employees about potential work comp claims following a layoff. The simple reason for this is that it would cost your employer money if it had to pay ongoing work comp claims. For this reason, many laid off employees simply collect unemployment compensation and then move on to another job without any idea that they may be eligible for work comp benefits.
Under what circumstances might you have a work comp claim following a layoff? These are a few examples:
1. You suffered a work related injury at some time during your employment before the layoff;
2. The injury was accepted by the work comp insurer and medical or wage loss benefits were paid;
3. At the time of the layoff, you still had some limitations or restrictions as a result of the work injury (even if you were working at full wage at the time of the layoff);
4. Your previous work injury resulted in a permanent impairment under the work comp disability schedules, but the disability was never rated by your physician or paid by the insurance company;
5. You have a gradual or repetitive type injury which you haven’t yet reported but which is related to your work activities up to the time of the layoff;
6. Depending upon how much time has passed since your injury, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation assistance or retraining;
What type of benefits might be available? Again, some examples:
1. Partial wage loss benefits if you find a new job which pays you less than you were earning before the layoff;
2. Compensation for a disability rating;
3. Total wage loss benefits if you were off work and receiving work comp benefits at the time of the layoff;
4. Wage loss and vocational rehabilitation benefits if you have what amounts to a “new” injury which has not yet been reported;
What should I do now?
1. If you have an old work comp claim and were represented by an attorney, contact the attorney to find out if you have any claims which remain available to you after the layoff;
2. If you have an old work comp claim but never had an attorney, contact an experienced work comp attorney to see about your options;
3. If you believe that you have suffered a gradual or repetitive type injury as a result of your work activities which you haven’t reported to the employer, contact an experienced work comp attorney immediately. Work comp claims in Minnesota have notice and filing deadlines – if you miss one of these deadlines your claim will be barred forever.
If you have an old claim, think that you have a new claim, or just have questions about work comp benefits following a layoff, contact an experienced work comp attorney for consultation. At Bradt Law Offices, there is no charge for an initial consultation over the phone, in your home or at our office. A layoff is a traumatic, life-changing event. While you may be entitled to unemployment benefits in the near term, you may be surprised to find that you have claims for work comp benefits to help you through this transition in your life. Feel free to contact us at any time with your questions – you will always get our honest opinion and we will help you in any way that we can.
We have been helping your friends and neighbors with work injury claims across all of northern Minnesota for 30 years. Let us help you.
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