Friday, December 18, 2015

I Have A Minnesota Workers Compensation Injury. Can I Receive Medical Marijuana For My Pain?

Earlier this year Minnesota joined others states in permitting the prescription of medical marijuana or cannabis by a medical doctor.  Initially medical marijuana was only permitted for certain diseases or conditions.  At the time the law was enacted in 2015 medical marijuana was not permitted to be prescribed for pain purposes alone.  This resulted in dozens of experts, health care professionals and individuals complaining and testifying before the Minnesota legislator that this exception was unfair and cruel.  Whereas narcotic and opioid drugs, that far more addictive are readily available, a safer treatment plan using medical cannabis is prohibited.  

After much debate the Minnesota Commissioner of Health approved the used of medical marijuana and cannabis to include "“intractable pain” (as defined by Minn. Stat. 152.125).  Above is the timeline for implementation of Minnesota's prescription of medical marijuana and cannabis for pain.  

Now that Minnesota has allowed for the prescription of medical cannabis for pain beginning the summer of 2016, the question remains what is "pain".  The statute attempts to define "intractable pain" but I assure you that we will spend the next few years determining what it actually means and how it should be applied to pain associated with work injuries.

 Subdivision 1. Definition. For purposes of this section, “intractable pain” means a pain state in which the cause of the pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated with the consent of the patient and which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible, or none has been found after reasonable efforts. Reasonable efforts for relieving or curing the cause of the pain may be determined on the basis of, but are not limited to, the following: (1) When treating a nonterminally ill patient for intractable pain, evaluation by the attending physician and one or more physicians specializing in pain medicine or the treatment of the area, system, or organ of the body perceived as the source of the pain; or (2) When treating a terminally ill patient, evaluation by the attending physician who does so in accordance with the level of care, skill, and treatment that would be recognized by a reasonably prudent physician under similar conditions and circumstances.

At Atkinson Law Office we have already begun exploring the benefits of medical marijuana with our clients.  We expect to file our first claim shortly.  If you have suffered a Minnesota workers compensation injury, regardless of whether you believe you are receiving all of your proper benefits it would benefit you to contact our expert attorneys to discuss your claim.  This consultation is free.  Contact our office today at 651-333-3636.  We represent clients across the state of Minnesota and country who have sustained Minnesota workers compensation injuries.  Visit us today at www.mndisability.com

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Have You Received or Are Receiving PERA Retirement and MN Workers Compensation Permanent Total Disability Benefits?

You may be entitled to your share of MILLIONS of dollars in unpaid or underpaid workers compensation benefits. Recent changes to Minnesota law has resulted in unpaid benefits to thousands of public employees who have received or are receiving workers compensation permanent total disability benefits.

The workers compensation specialists at Atkinson Law Office have over half a century of combined workers compensation experience.  We are aggressively pursuing reimbursement of potentially large sums of money as the result of insurance companies illegally reducing your workers compensation payments by the amount of PERA (public employee retirement association) retirement benefits.  We can assist you in obtaining the benefits you or your loved ones are owed.  Our office specializes in Minnesota workers compensation.  Various lawyers at Atkinson Law Office have been recognized as Super Lawyers, rated as "10" by AVVO, and recognized as Civil Trial Specialists by the Minnesota State Bar Association.  Every year our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in benefits to clients every years.

Contact the lawyers at Atkinson Law Office today at 651-333-3636 for a free consultation.  There is no fee unless we obtain recovery of lost benefits for you.  Visit our website today for more information www.mndisability.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Does Minnesota Workers Compensation Provide For Pain and Suffering?

If you have sustained a serious injury while working for a Minnesota employer you may be entitled to what is called Permanent Partial Disability / PPD.  Often those who undergo surgery, lose a limb, or suffer another form of traumatic injury will likely be provided with a whole body permanency rating.  The rating are typically rated after the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement / MMI (point at which no significant lasting medical improvement will occur).

In trying to understand PPD, you must accept that Minnesota's workers compensation is not fair.  The best you can hope for is a reasonable outcome and with the assistance of an attorney you can maximize your benefits.  Minnesota is on the low end as it pertains to payment of monetary damages for PPD in comparison to other states.  Pro Publica recently conducted a study that demonstrates that the national average for a lost leg is $150,000 and as high as $850,000 in states like Nevada.  However in Minnesota we only provide $48,000 in compensation for a lost leg.  Yes you read that right, if your leg is amputated you are limited to approximately $48,000 depending on how much you lost.  Granted you are also entitled to various wage loss benefits, vocational and retraining assistance and medical benefits which could result in an exceptional larger settlement of your claim, the PPD component is draconian at best.

If you have sustained a Minnesota workers compensation injury, the expert attorneys of Atkinson Law Office have over 50 years of combined experience in handling injury claims like yours.  Attorneys Thomas Atkinson, Kerry Atkinson and Dana Gerber are award winning attorneys dedicated to you.  They are all former insurance company attorneys waiting to share you the secrets that insurance companies don't want you to know.  Contact us today 24/7 at 651-333-3636

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Can I Be Fired For Reporting A Workers Compensation Injury?

If an employer fires you or threatens to fire you for reporting a work injury they are in violation of Minnesota Statute 176.82; 

"Any person discharging or threatening to discharge an employee for seeking workers' compensation benefits or in any manner intentionally obstructing an employee seeking workers' compensation benefits is liable in a civil action for damages incurred by the employee including any diminution in workers' compensation benefits caused by a violation of this section including costs and reasonable attorney fees, and for punitive damages not to exceed three times the amount of any compensation benefit to which the employee is entitled. Damages awarded under this section shall not be offset by any workers' compensation benefits to which the employee is entitled."

It's rare that an employer is stupid enough to commit a violation of Minnesota law but it does happen from time to time.  I strongly urge injured workers to pursue these claims which we refer to as "82 Actions".  To deter an employee from filing a work injury is unconscionable as best and illegal at worst.  I have seen cases where employers, supervisors and co workers have actually convinced seriously injured workers to tell a emergency doctor that their injury did not happen at work.  Telling them the company will lose jobs, workers will lose bonuses, and they will "take care of you".  BULLSH!T They are liars.

If you have been injured at work ANY DELAY in reporting the injury or seeking treatment will often result in a denial of your claim by insurance companies and without an experienced lawyer your claim may also be denied by a workers compensation judge.  If you have been hurt the first thing you should do is seek medical treatment and tell the doctor exactly how you were hurt or the pain developed, then report the injury, and finally contact an attorney!  Consultations with any workers compensation lawyer are free and the good lawyers like those at Atkinson Law Office will never, ever pressure you to hire an attorney.  We explain your rights, recommend a course of action and YOU decide what to do.

If you have been hurt contact the Minnesota workers compensation experts at Atkinson Law Office today for a free, no obligation consultation.  Call us at 651-333-3636 and visit our website at www.mndisability.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Construction Worker Falls To Death At New Viking Stadium. Was This Preventable?

Today an employee of Berwald Roofing died when he fell to his death and another worker was severely injured.  I'm very familiar with this employer and I am of the opinion that Berwald Roofing, like many Minnesota employers, does not always have the best interest of their workers in mind when operating jobs.  I have represented injured workers at Berwald with significant restrictions that knowingly place in jobs outside of their restrictions placing injured workers at significant risk of injury or even death.  I pray the workers in this tragedy are not ones that I know.

If you have sustained a work injury and have work restrictions, please think carefully before you return to work and placed in a situation where your employer ignores your restrictions and places you and others in harms way.  As a father I understand that it's hard to ignore the enormous financial benefits that come with employment and that workers compensation under the best of circumstances results in a 33% cut in pay.  But your life matters and I don't want to read about you as the next victim of a work related accident.

If you have sustained a Minnesota workers compensation injury, contact the attorneys at Atkinson Law Office today.  Our lawyers have over 50 years of combined workers compensation experience and are recognized leaders in Minnesota for work place injuries.  Call us today for a free consultation.  651-333-3636.  We are Minnesota's Workers Compensation Specialists.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Thomas Atkinson Selected A 2015 Minnesota Workers Compensation Super Lawyer

Super Lawyers is a peer review, research driven rating system of outstanding lawyers in a particular field of practice.  No more than 5% of all lawyers throughout the practice of Minnesota workers compensation are selected.  Super Lawyers recognized Thomas Atkinson as a Minnesota Super Lawyer for his comprehensive knowledge of Minnesota workers compensation and recognition from his peer lawyers and workers compensation judges.  Join us in congratulating Tom on his recognition.

If you have sustained a work related injury the experience of an attorney matters. Let me repeat, the experience of your attorney matters.  Some firms in Minnesota such as Fields Law Firm employee lawyers with one to three years experience to handle you complex workers compensation matter. Would you prefer to a doctor just out of medical school to perform you surgery or some with nearly a quarter century experience?  Thomas Atkinson has more experience in workers compensation than most attorneys in Minnesota and some cases more than the combination of every attorney in some particular law firms.

Atkinson Law Office limits their practice to workers compensation.  Our lawyers have a combined experience of over 50 years.  We represent clients throughout the state of Minnesota and have a Spanish speaking attorney!  Call us today at 651-333-3636 or visit our website at www.mndisability.com

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Atkinson Law Office Welcomes Dana Gerber As Our Newest Attorney.

One of the areas that distinguishes the attorneys of Atkinson Law Office from all other Minnesota workers compensation firms is that we are former insurance company lawyers.  Our lawyers have over 60 years of combined legal experience.  Our lead investigator is a former workers compensation claims adjuster who specialized in construction injuries for over a decade. Some of our staff have sustained significant work injuries necessitating multiple surgeries just like you.  Now Atkinson Law uses these experiences and secrets we learned from the insurance companies and as injured workers to obtain the very best outcomes for our clients.

Our newest attorney, Dana Gerber, began her career representing injured workers while working for a firm that specialized in predominantly hispanic and latino clients.  Dana is fluent in Spanish and used her language and advocacy skills to obtain very satisfactory outcomes for her clients.  Dana left a few years later after being offered an opportunity to work with a highly regarded insurance defense firm where she could continue to grow her experiences and knowledge of Minnesota workers compensation. After nearly 5 years Dana missed the satisfaction that comes with representing injured workers rather than insurance companies.  Dana wanted to return to her roots as an advocate for injured workers like you.

Since joining our team Dana has quickly distinguished herself as a zealous advocate and successful trial lawyer.  Dana has quickly begun using the insurance company secrets she learned as a defense attorney with enormous benefits for our clients.  Dana has obtained numerous settlements including a recent settlement of nearly $150,000 and has tried many workers compensation cases on behalf of injured workers.  We are astonished but not surprised by her zealous and thoughtful approach to representing injured workers.  We are lucky to have her as a member of our team and we look forward to having her work with injured workers across Minnesota.

If you have been injured and want to speak to Dana regarding your work injury you can contact her directly at 651-333-3636 or email her at dana@mndisability.com  There is NEVER a fee for a consultation and you will never be billed for our services.  We represent injured workers on a contingent fee basis only.  We get paid by the insurance companies if we obtain benefits on your behalf.