Permanent partial disability is the most common type of worker’s compensation claim, and it involves compensation for a worker who suffers from some type of lasting impairment, but is not totally disabled. In Minnesota, courts look to the function that is impaired by the injury rather than a loss of earning capacity. This means that what matters is how you were hurt and not how much money you will lose because of the injury.
A couple rules govern compensation for this type of disability. First is that an employee may not receive any compensation for pain and suffering. As part of the trade off in the worker’s compensation system, employees do not receive this kind of compensation. In return, employees are compensated for injuries sustained on the job regardless of fault.
The second rule is that any permanent disability must be related to a work injury. This means that both the cause of the injury and the cause of its permanency must be work-related. One example of a court refusing to allow compensation for a disability is when an unnecessary surgery caused an injury to be permanent. In Rude v. Halstad Lutheran Memorial Home, the employee injured her spine and knee while working as a cook. The employee had a fusion surgery done on her spine which caused her to become permanently disabled. The court deemed that this surgery was unnecessary and because the surgery caused the permanency of the injury, the employee should receive no compensation.
It is also up to the employee to prove that they have been injured and that that injury was caused by their employment. This includes showing what rating their injury should be and demonstrating that their injuries will result in a permanent disability.
The world of worker’s compensation can be very intimidating. The attorneys at McSweeney / Langevin can help you with your claim. If you’ve been hurt at work, give us a call.