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.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I Hurt My Shoulder At Work. My Employer Won't Report My Injury What Should I Do?

It's not uncommon for our office to receive a call from an individual who has been performing repetitive over head work for days, weeks, or even years and has started to complain of shoulder pain. Though this symptom can be a sign of a cervical disc injury, more often then not this is the start of a rotator cuff injury.  We see workers who have either specific accident related injuries or those who have developed "Gillette" injuries to their shoulders.  Gillette injuries are what we call work related repetitive stress injuries here in Minnesota.  Often these are diagnosed as rotator cuff injuries.

Rotator cuff injuries are very common work related injuries in Minnesota.  I have handled well over 200 such injury claims in the last 25 years as a Minnesota workers compensation expert.  A rotator cuff is made of muscles and tendons whose function is to hold your shoulder in place.  It is without question one of the most important parts of your shoulder. The rotator cuff enables you to lift your arms up and reach above your head.  The most common Minnesota work related injuries we see are due to repetitive activities or traumatic tears as the result of falls onto outstretched arms or hands.

A rotator cuff injury can be a strain, partial thickness tear or even a full thickness tear.  The treatment can range from physical therapy to arthroscopic (microscopic/camera guided) surgery.  In some extreme cases there is an open reduction (much larger incision) made to better repair the torn rotator cuff.

Recovery can last weeks or months.  During this time you may be able to return to light duty at reduced hours.  In some cases you will be completely off of work.  If you lose time from work, our attorneys can assist you in recovering lost wages for part or all of the time you are off.  If you surgery has been denied or the workers compensation carrier seems to be dragging their feet we can assist in getting you the surgery you need in an expedite manner in many cases.  Contact the workers compensation experts as Atkinson Law Office today for an absolutely free, no hassle consultation.  Our phones are answered 24/7.  Call today for a free consultation 651-333-3636 from the Twin Cities or throughout the entire state of Minnesota.  Visit us at www.mndisability.com as well.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Have You Suffered a TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury As The Result Of A Minnesota Workers Compensation Injury?

In the last two years we have probably been retained to represent more injured workers with TBI or traumatic brain injuries than the first 15 years of our practice combined!  Is it because more Minnesotan's are sustaining brain injuries on the job then previous years?  Or perhaps we more litigious than in past years?  The most likely reason is that we are all more in tune of the need to seek medical care after a head trauma or loss of consciousness due to news stories, media, the internet, or personal experiences.  In addition family physicians and other health care providers are better able to understand and identify the early warning signs of TBIs.  I have practiced law for nearly 25 year and in that time scientists and doctors have learned a great deal more about brain injuries.  One thing is certain, the brain is more vulnerable to injury than anyone previously thought.

Most TBIs occur through direct impact or force to the head, resulting in damage to the brain. Fortunately every blow to the head does not always result in a TBI.  Conversely, the severity of trauma does not always determine the severity of a TBI.

TBIs range in degree from severe to mild. In the most severe cases, the injured worker actually dies.  However, most of our clients come to see us as the result of persistent problems related to their TBI.   These problems include; memory problems, headaches, mood swings, depression, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and visual problems.  Often the injured worker has a history of non work related concussions and then a single trauma to the brain due to a work injury causes the ultimate breakdown.  Numerous studies demonstrate that multiple concussions increase the risk for long-term problems and have been linked to the development of delayed brain degeneration.  Each brain injury or TBI is exponentially more damaging to the brain then the previous one. 


TBIs affects the brain in two major ways. First, actual tearing and/or bruising of brain tissue and consequential bleeding within or surrounding the brain can occur resulting in brain swelling (think of the bruise you sustain after a twisted ankle). These injuries occur in more severe forms of TBI and are typically absent in mild TBIs.  Second is injury to microscopic nerve fibers (axons), which make up the “wiring” that connects nerve cells in the brain (neurons) to each other and to the rest of the body. This microscopic injury leads to many of the persistent problems which our TBI clients experience.


If you have sustained a traumatic brain injury or TBI, the attorneys of Atkinson Law Office can assist you in obtaining the treatment and workers compensation benefits you deserve.   Our lawyers currently represent many others with similar brain injuries.  We have obtained over $1,000,000 in benefits to brain injured worker in the past year alone and Millions of dollars more in the past 5 years.  There is never a fee unless we recover benefits for you.  Contact Atkinson Law Office today.  651-333-3636 and visit our website www.mndisability.com 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Your Surgeon Has Given You The Option Of A Cervical Fusion or Disc Replacement? Are Disc Replacements Safe?

Artificial disc replacements (ADR) are a relatively new surgical technique.  Let me emphasize that I am NOT writing on ADR uses for the lumbar spine.  I personally do not believe lumbar ADRs are successful as I have had a few clients with catastrophic results of lumbar ADR.  I currently know of no surgeons in Minnesota who are actively performing lumbar ADR.  Cervical ADRs on the other hand have had excellent results and are now becoming a widely adopted option to standard cervical fusions. 

I have previously blogged on the subject of cervical spine fusions and ADR surgery involves similar initial steps to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.  The main difference is that after the disc is removed, a fusion is NOT performed. Instead, an artificial disc is inserted.  I recently attended a seminar involving the Mobi-C ARD in which the surgical technique was demonstrated by a surgeon.  It was clear that the ADR (artificial disc replacement) has certain advantage over anterior cervical discectomy and fusions.

Advantages - The key advantage is motion preservation as noted in the image above. Motion preservation may reduce long-term degeneration of adjacent discs, although this has not been conclusively proven.  As of the date of this article, cervical ADRs have only been used in Minnesota for approximately 7 years.  Other advantages include shorter recovery time, less complications, faster return to work and less wear and tear on adjacent discs. 

Disadvantages - There are certain FDA restrictions limiting use of the device to patients needing treatment to a single disc level.  However I believe some physicians are using a combination of ADR and solid fusion at adjacent levels. Lastly, this device has only been used for a relatively short time, and therefore we do not have good data on the long-terms results beyond approximately 7 years in the United States.

Whether you choose standard cervical fusions or ADR, it's often recommended that you obtain a second opinion from a board certified neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spine surgery.  Having undergone both cervical and lumbar surgeries myself, I'm happy to offer you my personal reflections on my surgical decisions and outcomes.  I am also here to assist you with any legal questions you may have pertaining to your open and active workers compensation claim.  Contact our office today at 651-333-3636.  Our lawyers are recognized as Super Lawyers and experts in the field of Minnesota workers compensation injuries.  Visit our website today at www.mndisability.com and enjoy a free complimentary consultation.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How To Choose The Best Minnesota Workers Compensation Attorney For You? I'll Tell You How For Free!

I have specialized in Minnesota workers compensation for nearly a quarter century.  When I began, injured workers found lawyers by word of mouth, family friends and the yellow pages.  How times have changed.  Now injured workers are tech savvy.  Whether you live in a town in the Northwest Angle of Minnesota or in Minneapolis, most people turn to their smartphones or computer to search for a lawyer on Google.  Clients who come to see me are usually far more informed than they were just 10 years ago.  What a difference a decade has made.

The purpose of this blog is to WARN YOU that there are lawyers and law firms out there that at a minimum exaggerate and others that I believe lie in their internet advertising.  They use terms like "the largest and most respected workers compensation law firm in Minnesota" or claim they have a "depth of experience".  The claims make me laugh at first and then make me very, very angry.  The reason is that YOU the injured worker will pay the same fee whether you hire a lawyer with 2-3 years experience as you do with 25 years experience.  I will tell you that I'm an excellent lawyer who has won many awards and frequently lectures on workers compensation throughout Minnesota.  However, there are other lawyers who are equally as good as I am...not many but I'm not alone.  You have to find the lawyer who is a good fit for you and I have always offered to give prospective clients the names of two additional lawyers outside of my firm to speak to after our initial meeting.  I do this freely and without hesitation.  It's not a gimmick.  I want you only if you want me.  We must fit.

What concerns me more is that you the injured worker will end up a a law firm that is a "mill" and churns and burns files without really having an understanding of Minnesota work comp.  Though a few law firms come to mind, you have to do your research and ask just a few questions.  The most important questions are as follows:  Does you firm EXCLUSIVELY practice in the area of Minnesota Workers Compensation.  That will narrow the list of 75 law firms in Minnesota down to just a handful.  Next ask do YOU THE LAWYER personally have more than 20 years of experience limited to Minnesota workers compensation.  You can now count the law firms on one hand.  These are the law firms you should be meeting with.  These are the ONLY law firms you should be meeting with.  If they do personal injury, car accidents, etc. they do not specialize in Minnesota workers compensation.  They specialize in general personal injury which is very, very different.

I'm personally at the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings or Minnesota Department of Labor on workers compensation matters 2-3 times every single week of the year.  I know every judge and every defense lawyer by name and they know me.  I have tried cases before every single workers compensation judge in the Twin Cities, most dozens of times.  Ask others if they can say the same.  Ask these tough questions and I can assure you that you will find the best lawyer for you.

At Atkinson Law Office we are all former insurance company lawyers with decades of experience handling Minnesota Workers Compensation Cases.  Both Kerry and Tom Atkinson had there first workers compensation hearings in 1993 the year they graduated from law school here in Minnesota. We will show you the secrets insurance companies don't want you to know.   Call us today for a free consultation.  There is never, ever a fee unless we recover benefits for you.  You will never be asked to pay us with a retainer check to handle your dispute.  Call 651-333-3636 today!  Visit us at Atkinson Law Office.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Following Your Work Injury Your Doctor Tells You That You Need A Knee Replacement. Now What?

Years after sustaining a ligament tear in your knee after a work injury, your doctor told you that you need a knee replacement.  What the heck is a knee replacement?  The term your doctor may use is "total knee arthroplasty"  This is a surgery that replaces the worn out and damaged surface of your knee joint with artificial hardware.  It is can be performed directly after you sustain your Minnesota workers compensation injury or even many years later.  Never assume that your old workers compensation case is closed when it comes time to any surgery!  Always consult an attorney.

There are two forms of knee replacement that your surgeon may offer.   The first is a total knee replacement and the worn surfaces of your entire knee are surgically removed and replaced with artificial joints. The second is a partial knee replacement.  This is performed where possible on injured workers with less widespread knee problems.  This surgery consists of repairing only parts of the damaged joint rather than the entire knee joint.

Though a knee replacement is a relatively common procedure, at Atkinson Law Office, P.A. we have found that many doctors perform a knee replacement surgery as a last resort.  Often your surgeon will try other methods to reduce pain and inflammation including medications, injections, and physical therapy.  If your pain and/or knee instability continues, this surgery often proves to be a successful solution. 

If you have sustained a knee injury of any kind, please contact Atkinson Law Office today.  Our attorneys have nearly 50 years of combined experience in work related and personal injuries involving knee injuries.  At any given time we have dozens of current clients like you who have similar knee injuries.  We know who are the best doctors in Minnesota and throughout the country to assist you.  Over the years our office has helped hundreds and thousands of injured workers like you.  There is NEVER a fee unless we recover benefits for you and you will NEVER personally write a check to our firm even in the unlikely chance that we can't assist you.  Contact us today at 651-333-3636.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I Was You. How I Recovered From My Lumbar Surgery Following My Minnesota Workers Compensation Injury.

As a Minnesota Workers Compensation attorney I bring a very unique background in representing my clients.  I began my career as an attorney representing insurance companies and employers in workers compensation matters.  During that time I had three spine surgeries; cervical spine surgery followed by lumbar spine surgery and lastly my third and final repeat lumbar spine surgery.

All three of my surgeries were necessary to repair herniated discs impinging foraminal nerves creating "radicular" symptoms in my arms and legs.  I was unlucky enough to have had two work related low back injuries over the years as the result of slips and falls.  The first occured when I slipped on ice exiting my car in the company parking the lot and years later while running to catch a phone call. 

The surgery to my neck was a cervical microdiscectomy and laminectomy.  I had a slightly different procedure to my lumbar spine in the nature of a microdiscectomy and hemilaminectomy.  In my next blog article I will describe both of these procedures in more detail. 

My recovery times varied dramatically with my surgeries.  My cervical surgery had a 6-8 week recovery time followed by extensive physical therapy.  Though 22 years later I consider the surgery a success, I was left with some residual numbness in my left arm and diminished grip strength.  My lumbar surgeries were a bit more complicated with one recovery lasting about 6 months and the last one taking nearly a year due to complications.

I am nearly 8 years post surgery and in that time I have had some ups and downs but I am very happy with the outcome of all of my surgeries.  This said the choice for surgery is a personal decision that you should discuss with you physician and your family.  As an attorney who has represented hundreds of individuals undergoing surgery, I NEVER tell them what to do.  I share my experiences and remind them that any surgery has risks and the potential for complications.  I have seen absolutely outstanding outcomes and some extremely horrific life changing surgical results.

One of the reasons I started Atkinson Law Office years ago was because of my personal experience litigating my work related lumbar back injury.  Call it Karma or simply bad luck but I experienced what so many of the injured workers with whom I had cases against experienced.  Frustration, anger, disappointment, depression, and the sense that this can't be happening...to me.  Like many of my clients I resolved my dispute without having to go to hearing but the experience has shaped how I represent my clients.  My firm is dedicated to zealously representing the injured worker.

For nearly a decade the Attorney and staff of Atkinson Law Office have represented injured workers.  Our past experience as defenses attorneys and even claims adjusters allows us to share the tricks and secrets of Minnesota's worker compensation system with our clients.  There is never a fee to consult with our lawyers and despite your fear that you have to pay a retainer agreement to hire us, it simply is not true.  We only get paid if we recover benefits for you.  Call us for a free consultation.  651-333-3636.  We represent Minnesota injured workers throughout Minnesota and across the entire United States.  We are Minnesota's workers compensation experts.  Visit us at www.mndisability.com