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Minnesota reports large drop in paid workers' comp claims

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry report about the workers' compensation system showed a significant decrease of 53 percent in paid claims between 1997 and 2015. In 1997, 8.7 claims were paid for every 100 full-time employees. By 2015, the number of paid claims had fallen to 4.1 per 100 full-time workers.

Because of the downward trend in paid claims, benefit costs were reduced overall despite medical costs per claim being 74 percent higher compared to 1997. Other indemnity benefits paid by the system experienced a 36 percent increase in costs by 2014.

The DLI report indicated that medical benefits represented 35 percent of the system's 2015 total cost. Administrative expenses of insurers came in second at 32 percent of operating costs. Excluding payments for vocational retraining, indemnity benefits produced 29 percent of costs. Disputes involving indemnity claims have risen over the years.

Disputes can arise at any point in a workers' compensation claim. Sometimes a worker has trouble gaining information from the employer about how to report an injury and file a claim. In other situations, an insurance company might deny a claim or insist on limiting benefits. An attorney could help a person experiencing difficulty after a workplace accident. When meeting with an attorney, the worker could also discuss concerns about workplace safety violations. An attorney could study the insurance policy and inform the worker about benefits that might not have been previously disclosed. If necessary, an attorney could pursue a settlement that reflects the worker's needs.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Report: Workers' Comp Claims, Costs Continue Downward Trend in Minnesota", April 6, 2017

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