An unfortunate truth in the worker’s compensation world is that sometimes people are re-injured after making a worker’s compensation claim. Whether or not someone can make a further worker’s compensation claim for the worsened injury depends largely on whether the injury was aggravated by something related to their employment.
As we talked about in the last few blog posts, determining whether an injury happened within the scope of employment is not as easy as it sounds. In Minnesota, a subsequent injury is compensable (you can receive worker’s compensation for it) when it is a direct and natural consequence of a previous compensable injury. One example of this is when a worker injures their back. If that injury weakens them leading to a further injury to their back, that injury is compensable.
Another interesting case is when an employee is injured on the way home from the doctor who examined him for a worker’s compensation injury. In Olga C. Pedersen v. Maple Island, Inc., a factory worker was injured on the job. The worker then received permission from his employer to see a doctor about his injuries. On his way home from the doctor’s office, the man was killed in a car accident. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that because the man was visiting the doctor for an injury suffered at work, his widow was entitled to worker’s compensation for his death.
The same rule does not apply when travelling to and from a hearing about a worker’s compensation claim. In Hendrickson v. George a man was testifying at a worker’s compensation hearing regarding an injury to his shoulder. Due to the stress of the hearing, the man suffered a heart attack and died. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that, because the heart attack was medically unrelated to the shoulder injury, it was not compensable.
Minnesota worker’s compensation rules can be very tricky. If you’ve been injured at work, you need someone who understands the system to make sure that your rights are protected. Give us a call. We would love to help! 612-ASK-DAVE (612-275-3283) or toll free at 1-800-888-4425