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7 Myths About Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law Debunked

There are plenty of myths about Minnesota workers’ compensation law out there. You may have heard things like:

  • “Your employer isn’t required to provide workers’ compensation benefits.”
  • “You won’t get anything if you weren’t working when you were injured.”
  • “You could lose your job if you file for workers’ comp.”

Any of these myths could keep you from pursuing the financial support you need after a work-related injury or illness. That’s why it’s so important to understand what you’re entitled to. After all, knowing your rights is the first step to protecting them.

So how do you separate the fact from the fiction? Here are 7 common myths about Minnesota workers’ compensation law.

Myth #1: Workers’ Compensation Is a “Discretionary Benefit”

Discretionary benefits are perks that your employer isn’t required to offer, such as tuition reimbursement or paid vacation time. Workers’ comp is not a discretionary benefit. It’s mandatory. 

Minnesota workers’ compensation law requires businesses to provide their full-time and part-time employees with workers’ comp coverage. This applies regardless of how many employees a business has.

Myth #2: You Had to Be Actively Working When You Were Injured

In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation in Minnesota, you have to have received your injury in connection with your job. However, you don’t have to have been actively working at the time.

For example, if you work at an office and tripped down a flight of stairs while on your way to the restroom, you could be entitled to workers’ comp. Alternatively, if you’re a construction worker and a piece of machinery hit you while you were taking your lunch break, you could also qualify for workers’ compensation.

You don’t even have to be at the building or jobsite when the injury occurs. Auto accidents make up a significant percentage of workers’ compensation claims. If driving or walking is included in the scope of your work—such as for a delivery driver or an intern crossing the street to fetch coffee—you may be entitled to compensation for any accidents that happen while on an errand.

(Note: this generally won’t apply if you’re injured while commuting to or from your job.)

Myth #3: You Can’t Get Workers’ Compensation If You Caused the Injury

As an employee, your right to compensation doesn’t depend on your employer having caused the injury. In most cases, you’re entitled to workers’ comp even if you are partially or completely responsible for causing the injury yourself.

That’s because fault isn’t a factor in Minnesota workers’ compensation law. If you were distracted, inexperienced, or even careless, you can still qualify for workers’ comp benefits.

The only exception to this no-fault system is if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the injury occurred. In that case, you would have to prove that your intoxication didn’t contribute to your injury in any way—a very difficult claim to make.

Myth #4: Workers’ Compensation Won’t Cover Repetitive Stress and Strain Injuries

Another common workers’ compensation myth is that it only covers severe injuries resulting from a single accident. This is not true. Workers’ comp can cover all types of work-related injuries, including repetitive stress and strain

Some examples of injuries resulting from repetitive strain include:

  • Back pain
  • Tendinitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow

Under Minnesota workers’ compensation law, you can even get compensation for work-related hearing loss.

Myth #5: You Could Lose Your Job If You File for Workers’ Compensation

It's against the law for a business to fire an employee because of that employee's workers' compensation claim. That could be “retaliation” and your employer might face legal consequences for doing it.

It’s also illegal for employers to discriminate against you for a physical or mental disability. Unless your injury makes it impossible for you to complete any position the business has available, you shouldn’t be at risk of losing your job.

And even if it does become impossible for you to continue working at the same business, workers’ compensation can help cover your lost wages and medical expenses while you search for a new job.

Myth #6: Your Employer Will Help You Maximize Your Benefits

Unless you’re very lucky, your employer probably won’t help you maximize your workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer has no incentive to do so. Most likely, they’ll only have a very limited role in the whole process—except perhaps to dispute your claim.

Ultimately, you’re the only party involved who has a vested interest in maximizing your benefits. Don’t leave it in your employer’s hands or take them at their word.

Myth #7: Workers’ Compensation is Your Only Option

Workers’ compensation isn’t the only way you can get the financial support you need. If your workers’ comp claim is denied or the payout doesn’t cover enough of your expenses, you may be able to file for personal injury damages against a third party. Examples:

  • The driver of a vehicle you were involved in an accident with
  • The owner of the property you were injured on
  • The manufacturer of a defective piece of machinery
  • The owner of a dog that attacked you
  • A coworker who intentionally caused you harm

In these situations—as well as others—you may be able to get additional compensation through a third-party personal injury lawsuit.

Get Help from an Experienced Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you’ve suffered a work-related injury, we can help. At SiebenCarey, we’ve helped countless injured employees get the financial support they need through workers’ comp claims and third-party personal injury lawsuits.

Our team of veteran workers’ compensation attorneys will review the details of your case, make sure you understand exactly what your rights are, and see to it that you get every dollar you’re owed.

Just let us know what happened, and we’ll give you a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Client Reviews

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Deb Colombe

I was involved in a car accident that was complicated at best. God blessed with me Eric Beyer as my attorney. Although it was a long drawn out process between the two insurance companies, Eric was not only my attorney, he was my rock.

Eric is one of the most ethical people I have ever met in my lifetime. He was a constant source of not only information, but of comfort throughout the whole process. I never doubted for one moment that Eric did not have my best interest at heart. He took every word I said seriously and did what he had to do. If I ever have the misfortune of another injury like this, I would go to no one other than Eric Beyer. I will never in my lifetime be able to thank Eric enough or let him know how much I respect him and what a comfort he was and has continued to be for me. God Bless you Eric Beyer.

Daunne Schaller

I was seriously injured in a car accident on my wedding night and went to SiebenCarey. Being involved in an accident is never fun. The folks at SiebenCarey got us thru the event helping us get on with our lives. They were up front and honest. We knew we could trust them. It’s clear to me why Art has been recognized as a Best Lawyer in America and Super Lawyer for 12 years running. Now anytime I know someone who was involved in an accident I refer them to SiebenCarey.

Jeanne Tondryk

Eric W. Beyer helped me through a very difficult time and his professionalism, advice and results from an injury were highly respected. Amidst the personal part of getting myself back to health, his guidance when life was blurry was so appreciated. He listened and then put forth my options honestly and directly which I totally appreciated!

 Was totally satisfied with his hard work and dedication to help me. I'd highly recommend him. Thank you Eric!

Jesse Bukal

In need of a personal injury attorney? Well you're if you're reading this you're in the right place. You'd be hard pressed to find more competent attorneys than the ones here at SiebenCarey.

They took my case to trial and an amazing job presenting the facts and fighting for my best interests! Three years ago I was unsure of what my future would bring; now that it's over I can rest a bit easier. With SiebenCarey as my counsel, I believe I had the absolute BEST representation a person could've asked for. I knew that I wanted the absolute best representation when searching for an attorney to handle my case and I most definitely received it.

If you need a personal injury attorney, look no further. Can't recommend highly enough.

Chris and Amy Boys

We worked with Art and his team on a personal injury case. We could not have been more pleased with the result. Art and his team were both professional and personable, and were a pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend Art and his team if you find yourself in this type of situation.

Laurian Reiners

Mark Olive did an absolutely fantastic job helping Jim during his ordeal with the company he worked for.  The outcome made it so that Jim could retire after the settlement.  We could not asked for a better representative for him.

Joseph Kowalcik

I have been working with Jeff Sieben since the year 2003 and I find he does excellent work.

Vicki Burkhardt

Art and his staff were fantastic. After being involved in a car accident they made the process so easy and effortless. The end result exceeded anything I ever expected. The right lawyer really makes a difference and Art and his staff were definitely the right choice. I would highly recommend giving them a call if you are unfortunate to get in an accident.


We were VERY pleased with Jeff's attention to us and our case.  Jeff, and all of the team there, did an outstanding job of making that process as stress-free as possible for us.  The communications were never delayed; response time (no matter how often we had questions) was beyond expectations. We truly liked Jeff's up-front and true-life demeanor, nothing was sugar-coated nor was anything spoken or written in terms we didn't understand which meant we were all talking on the same levels and never felt uneducated in the attorney world we were dealing with. I would certainly refer anyone I know to you all!

Teresa Theobald

I cannot express how happy my family is with Mr. Beyer!  He has impressed us in too many ways to count!  As educated people, we attempted to accomplish litigation on our own...BIG mistake!  Mr. Beyer and his staff are amazing!  Litigation is their wheelhouse.  If you are wondering if you should hire them; the answer is yes.

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