Legal Question in Workers Comp in Minnesota

herniated disk at work , now teminated

work in a neonatal intensive care as rn, heriated l5-s1 during shift bent over could not get up or stand on left side. to ER , saw occ health who took me completly of work for 3 weeks then gave me sever restictions (NO bending, sit 5 minutes stand 5 minutes work waist to shoulders, alow to lay on abdomen every 2 hours. Lift 10 lbs or less 11- 33 % of time. no twist or bending. down hous to 2 8 hour shifts a week. Manager never told nurses who make our assignments my restrictions adjustable isolettes only, and yelled at me for callin and letting the previos shifts know my restrictions. now she has fired me for cause. no union. I have a copy of a note she had a nurse write when nurse quetioned her about my restictions that states nobody in unit has restrictions, needs special assignments. If and when someone does she will post formal letter. I made copy before she could retract statement. Now Im out of work, unable to work do to severe pain and restrictions, denied by workmans comp because I was fired for other reasons which had only a stitch of truth. What do I do?? Single mom with very high bills. Just received first epidural steroid injection, on methadone AND percocet, and broke

Asked on 1/31/03, 11:30 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jeffrey D. Thill Thill Law Firm, P.A.

Re: herniated disk at work , now teminated

You need to hire an attorney immediately.

You do not need to pay an attorney up front in Minnesota. Attorneys are paid on a contingent fee basis for disputed benefits which they recover for you.

There are many issues in your case. The attorney needs to file claim petition. Since you were severely restricted at the time of your termination, a judge will have to determine whether the employer owes you temporary total benefits after the date of your firing. Also, you should be entitled to permanent partial disability on a weekly basis for the disability rating your doctor gives you for the herniated disk. While you are off work,you should be looking for work within your restrictions and keep a journal of all employment seeking activities so you can prove your job search later to a judge.

It is illegal under Minn. Stat. 176.82 to fire an employee or obstruct their benefits while seeking workers compensation benefits. You may be entitled to sue in district court for damages for the wrongful termination.

You should also file a complaint with the Minnesota Human Rights department and the EEOC for being fired while disabled. There may also be issues involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) There are severe time limitations for making some of these claims. Some of the time limitations may be less than a year.

The immediate response should be to file a claim petition asking for all past due weekly benefits, medical and rehabilitation benefits you may be entitled to. There is a possibility you may be entitled to retraining in a different field if you cannot go back to your nursing field.

Once again, you should hire an attorney immediately! If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at 952-512-7512

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Answered on 2/01/03, 8:30 am

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