Saturday, November 5, 2011

What's Ahead In For Injured Workers In 2012?

If you were in 2011 and are currently off of work receiving wage loss benefits, most of you will likely face a roadblock to ongoing benefits in 2012.  Terms like MMI (maximum medical improvement), IME (independent medical examinations), NOID (notice of intent to discontinue benefits), and QRC (qualified rehabilitation counselor) are yellow lights warning you of a possible end to your benefits. 

If you receive ANY correspondence from your Minnesota workers compensation adjuster you need to contact a lawyer NOW!  Too often injured workers come to our office many months after receiving letters containing these key words.  It's never too late to come see us, but we will be better able to react if you call us today 651-414-0678.  One of our lawyers can explain to you how your benefits are about to be changed.  Our consultations are always FREE and we urge you to contact a work comp lawyer who specializes in working with injured and disabled employees rather than a general personal injury practice.  Our employees have a combined background over nearly 75 years working with workers compensation claims.  Visit our website at www.mndisability.com and call to speak with an attorney today at 651-333-3636.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Minnesota Workers Compensation Benefits - Part One


1. What happens when I get injured at my job?

Tell your employer immediately. Be sure to report your injury to your supervisor. If you need to seek emergency medical attention do that first, but then contact your employer as soon as possible. Your employer will complete a First Report of Injury (FROI) form, so be sure to give your employer accurate and complete information about how you were hurt and about any injuries you sustained.  Do NOT give a recorded statement.  After you seek medial attention NOW is the time to get your free legal consultation with Minnesota Disability

2. What types of injuries are covered by workers' compensation?

A work-related injury can be any condition that is caused, aggravated or accelerated by employment activities.  This means pre-existing injuries that your work activities aggravate or accelerate are still work comp injuries.  This is one of the most common mistakes made by injured workers.  This includes traumatic injuries, gradual injuries or occupational diseases.

3. What benefits might I be entitled to if my claim is accepted?

Some benefits you might receive include wage-loss benefits, compensation for loss of use of a part of the body, medical benefits, vocational rehabilitation and retraining.  At some point in your injury you will be set up to meet with a QRC (qualified rehabilitation counselor).  This is another excellent time to get your free consultation with Minnesota Disability.  Choosing the right QRC who is actually neutral is critical to your claim.  We can help you in selecting one who best fits your injury, location and you needs.  One size does NOT fit all.

4. What medical treatment is covered by workers' compensation?

The Minnesota workers' compensation statutes entitle an employee to reasonable and necessary medical treatment or supplies to cure or relieve the effect of the work injury. The employer is required to furnish medical treatment as described by Minnesota Statutes 176.135, subd. 1, including psychological, chiropractic, podiatric, surgical and hospital treatment.

5. Can I treat with my own physician?

Employees may choose their health care provider for treatment of a work-related injury. An employer may require an employee to see a designated health care provider for treatment in only a few unique and special circumstances.   Do NOT be intimidated by your employer!  At Minnesota we strongly encourage injured employees to seek immediate medial attention with their established family physician rather than being directed by their employer or workers compensation insurer.  Please contact Minnesota Disability and Atkinson Law Office to determine whether one of the few exceptions applies to your case. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Full, Final and Complete Settlements; To Do or Not To Do?

You have been injured in a Minnesota workers compensation accident and the insurance company adjuster wants to settle your case.  Throughout the claim you may have felt the adjuster was "good to you" and always treated you fairly.  In some cases adjusters do treat injured employees well but when it comes to a settlement they are NEVER looking out for your best interest.  Adjusters are employees who must answer to a supervisor and other upper management.  Day in and day out their drive is to minimize costs.  Settlement of your case for as little as possible is one the methods to achieve those goals.

If you are offered a settlement I strongly urge you to contact an experienced work comp lawyer.  Try to chose one that has experience working for both sides at some time in their careers.  You are want to chose a lawyer who limits their practice to assisting injured and disabled employees exclusively.  Lawyers who practice in multiple areas are less likely to be able to keep up with the changing laws, maintain familiarity with the rules at the Office of Administrative Hearings, and are generally disconnected from the overall practice and thereby limited in their ability to effectively evaluate your case.  They have names for lawyers like me; they call us Comp Heads or lawyers who do this day in and day out.

If you are offered a settlement by an insurance company and you are unrepresented or represented by an attorney who only dabbles in this area, I am more than happy to talk to you about the offer.  Every year, I represent clients who have been offered the "top dollar" by an adjuster and every year I obtain much larger settlements for clients.  My analysis is FREE so you really have nothing to lose.  Contact our office at 651-333-3636 or call us toll free at 888-933-5619 to speak with an attorney today.  Also feel free to visit our website to learn more about your workers compensation rights and our lawyers www.mndisability.com

Monday, August 1, 2011

Minnesota Workers Compensation Back Open For Business But Not As Usual!

Having just returned to work, our fine workers compensation judges are working quickly to clear a backlog of pending cases, stipulations for settlements, hearings and discontinuance conferences.  If you are one of the thousands of injured workers who have had their claims on hold during the month of July, we are pleased to share with you that within a few more weeks, the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry will be close to being caught up.  However, you can expect a few changes in store.  First, there are a few new workers compensation judges in the Twin Cities and Duluth and there are some procedural changes which I will address in future updates.

In this posting I want to reiterate an issue that comes up EVERY single week in my office.  We receive calls from injured workers whose claims have been paid for months and sometimes even for years without any significant conflict.  One day however, they have the rug pulled from underneath them and their benefits which they have come to count on END!  At Minnesota Disability and Atkinson Law Office we have represented thousands of injured workers long before an actual conflict exists.  There is no cost to you and our advice helps you plan for the eventual discontinuance of your benefits rather than merely react when the time comes.  If you have been injured at work it is imperative that you talk with an experienced workers compensation lawyer who are experts in workers compensation.  We caution you against choosing an individual who is not a true specialist.  Contact one of the lawyers from our office for a free consultation and learn how we can assist you without the need for a retainer.  NEVER a fee unless we recover benefits for you.  www.mndisabilty.com  651-333-3636.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Minnesota Workers Compensation Shutdown 2011 Update

I am pleased to share with our readers Specialmaster Kathleen Blatz has recommended and Ramsey County Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin has agreed to reopen parts of Minnesota Workers Compensation system.  The Order has led to a series of workers' compensation judges and staff being recalled.  Today 4 judges; Schultz, Knight, Brenden and Rieke began going through stipulations for settlements, scheduling NOID conferences and preparing to schedule hearings on expedited medical disputes such as surgical requests.  I learned today that 4 other judges will join them tomorrow ramping up the return for going through the mountain of accumulated paperwork.  It is hoped that with the start of today's special session called by Governor Dayton, business will be back to normal soon....but not soon enough for many injured workers.  If you have any questions regarding your workers' compensation benefits the attorneys at Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability are waiting to assist you with a FREE initial consultation.  If we are able to assist you after the consultation there is NO charge until we recovery benefits for you.  Continue to visit our Blog and visit our other site, www.mndisability.com or contact us at 651-332-8717 or 800-933-5619.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Minnesota Government Shut Down And Your Workers Compensation Benefits

As many of you have heard by now, the Minnesota Department of Labor and the Office Of Administrative Hearings have temporarily shut down.  How does this affect YOU?  For many of you the shut down will go unnoticed.  For others though the shutdown could be a financial nightmare.  If you have any concerns about how this shutdown affects your workers comp benefits, contact the attorneys of Minnesota Disability and Atkinson Law Office TODAY.  651-414-0678 or visit our website at www.mndisability.com  We look forward to speaking with you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Who Are The Best Workers Compensation Attorneys & Lawyers In Minnesota?

How do you choose the best lawyer to represent you in your Minnesota workers compensation case?  First, you should find a lawyer who specializes in workers compensation!  There are far too many lawyers who "dabble" in work comp here in Minnesota.  They will handle your work injury, divorce, DUI, personal injury, bankruptcy and draft a will for you.  Do you think it's really possible to be highly skilled in all these areas of the law?  I don't and neither should you!  Minnesota's workers' compensation laws are very complex and change nearly every year.  I have seen dozens of lawyers profess to be "experienced" workers compensation lawyers and when they appear before a work comp judge, the judge doesn't even know their name.  Keep in mind we only have about 20 workers compensation judges who cover then entire state.  I have appeared before EVERY workers compensation judge in Minnesota hundreds of times during the past two decades.  They know me and I know them.  Does this make me the best workers compensation lawyer in Minnesota?  Not necessarily, but it is an important first step in determining whether I or any attorney is truly "experienced".

The next step is to see how much experience the attorney has in handling work comp cases.  Have they only represented employees?  Do they have any experience representing employers and insurers?  Though I now limit my practice to representing employees, my true insight that I share with injured workers are the secrets I have learned as an insurance company attorney.  I have spent tens of thousands of hours watching and listening to insurance companies review claims for work comp benefits.  I know how they defend the claims, how they value the claim, when they are bluffing and when their offer of settlement is their best offer or simply a starting point.  I have recovered tens of millions of dollars for my clients including one of Minnesota's largest workers compensation settlements in 2011; well over half a million dollars in a single claim!  My success as an attorney for injured workers is directly derived from my experience representing employers and insurers AND my own workers compensation injury.

I am more than happy to meet with any injured workers throughout the entire state of Minnesota.  I have clients all over Minnesota as well as clients in many other states who sustained injuries while working in Minnesota.  Call our office and we will discuss your work injury or current workers compensation claim.  Your call or visit will be absolutely positively FREE.  You never, ever pay a fee until we obtain benefits on your behalf and even then the fee is limited by Minnesota law.  Visit our website today at www.mndisability.com and call our office at 651-333-3636.  We will meet you near you home or at our office.