Workers’ Compensation Covers Young People Injured During a Summer Job

Michael F. Scully - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyJuly 05, 2022

Ask any adult, and they’ll remember their first summer jobs – some fondly, some not so much!

The workers’ comp attorneys here at SiebenCarey are also thinking about first summer jobs for a different reason. Too often, we hear about young people who have been injured on a summer job but didn’t inform their employer. The thinking is usually, “Hey, it's only a summer job. Why worry about it?” Or the employer tells them, “Why don’t we wait to see if it’s serious?” 

What too many young workers and their parents don’t know is that by not reporting the injury – even if it seems minor – they could forfeit significant short and long-term benefits owed under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws. As the summer (and summer jobs) kick into high gear,  let’s look at this issue more closely.

What is Workers’ Compensation, and What Are the Benefits?

Workers’ compensation insurance provides medical and wage benefits to people who are injured or become ill at work. Every state requires businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but the benefits vary. That’s because the laws governing workers’ comp are established at the state level rather than the federal level, and the state manages the system. 

All of your medical expenses are covered. You can receive partial income if you miss time because of your injury. If you need help getting back to work, rehabilitation benefits are available. If you experience permanent disability, benefits are available depending on the severity of the injury. There is even help available if you need training for a new job.

More details on Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits are here.

Do Summer Workers Qualify for Workers’ Compensation, Even If They Are Students?

Yes! All employees are entitled to worker’s compensation if they are injured on the job, regardless of whether or not they are full or part-time, permanent or temporary, student workers or seasonal employees. You don’t have to work a minimum number of hours before qualifying. And it doesn’t matter who was at fault for the injury – you, the company, a co-worker, or someone else. You also can't be fired or demoted for reporting a work injury.

What Happens If a Summer Worker DOESN’T Report Their Injury

Young people often don’t want to “rock the boat” by reporting an injury when they first enter the workforce. Or, thinking they are invincible, they might blow off the injury as not severe enough to report. Young workers are also easier to talk out of reporting an injury by unscrupulous employers.

But the repercussions of not reporting can be serious and even have lifetime consequences. The cost of immediate care must be covered by the worker or their health insurance company. Loss of wages will not be reimbursed if time is missed because of the injury. And all potential long-term support, as described above, will be forfeited.

Here’s another significant downside to not reporting: The young person aggravates the same injury again, either while working with the same employer or years later while working for someone else. Since the injury wasn’t reported the first time it occurred, the worker has no proof that the injury was work-related. Instead, the employers and their insurance companies will often say the injury happened during some outside recreational activity like school sports or rock climbing!

What Should Summer Workers Do If They Are Injured On the Job?

1)    Report the injury immediately.
If you are injured, report your injury to your manager as soon as possible. Otherwise, you risk losing benefits. Your employer is then required by Minnesota workers’ comp law to file a First Report of Injury with their work comp insurance carrier.

2)    Confirm your employer reports your injury.
Once you report your injury to your employer, your employer has 10 days to inform the insurance company with a First Report of Injury.  Your employer should give you a copy for your own records, but request one if you don’t receive it to confirm that it was filed.

3)    Look for a notification from the insurance company 
Once the insurance company has the report, they have 14 days to inform you if they will cover the expenses related to your injury OR deny your claim. If your claim is denied, contact us ASAP!

So, the main takeaways from this article: report your injury to your employer as soon as possible, get a copy of the First Report of Injury, and don’t let the employer tell you to wait and see if the injury gets worse. If the insurance company doesn’t contact you, your employer retaliates against you for filing a claim, or your claim is denied, call the Minnesota workers’ comp attorneys at SiebenCarey as soon as possible.

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