Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Hurt My Back And Need Surgery, What Now?

Perhaps you are just like me and hurt your back at work.  I hurt my lumbar spine (low back) after a work related fall and had to undergo two lumbar spine surgeries over two years.  It began with severe leg pain and modest back pain.  Perhaps you thought that you hurt your leg and not your back because of the shooting pain, numbness or tingling in your leg.  This is not unusual.  After an MRI and referral to a surgeon you have may been advised to have surgery like me.  What now?

The first time around, I tried a short course of physical therapy and steroids without any success.  I underwent surgery with an excellent neurosurgeon and had great results.  Unfortunately I had a second injury resulting in an even larger disc injury at the same level. The second time I tried to do everything possible to avoid surgery.  I tried physical therapy and two different types of steroids to avoid surgery.  I couldn't sit for long periods, couldn't sleep and was absolutely miserable.  One of the medications I was prescribed resulted in an unpleasant side affect called steroid psychosis which was absolutely frightening!  I relented and underwent a second surgery.  The second surgery had a number of unexpected complications but eventually my luck changed and I have made a good recovery.  Though I still struggle with leg pain and some other issues, I have been able to put in long hours with my legal practice, bike and even run a half marathon. 

Surgery is a serious decision and I counsel clients every week on THEIR decision to have cervical surgery (yep, I've also had neck surgery), back surgery, etc.  Let me help you with your work related injury and counsel you on your options and how surgery will affect your future employment and workers compensation benefits.  Our lawyers have decades of experience each and you will receive personal attention to your claim.  How many lawyers give you their cell phone number to call them with questions?  I do, my cell phone is 651-324-9514.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Feel free to visit our website as well www.mndisability.com or call 651-414-0678 to make an appointment.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Petittion to Vacate Minnesota Workers Compensation Settlement

You settled your case a few years ago and now you are wondering whether you made a mistake.  Can a settlement be undone?  The short answer is YES they can.  However, the State of Minnesota has very strict requirements to do the same.

For awards issued after July 1, 1992, Minn. Stat. 176.461 defines cause for vacation of an award as limited to the following:  (1) mutual mistake of fact, (2) newly discovered evidence, (3) fraud, or (4) a substantial change in medical condition since the time of the award that was clearly not anticipated and could not reasonably have been anticipated at the time of the award.  Where a change in condition is alleged, the focus is on whether there has been a substantial or significant worsening of the employee's condition and whether there is adequate evidence of a causal relationship, comparing the employee's condition at the time of settlement with the employee's condition at the time of the petition to vacate.  

The Minnesota Workers Compensation Court of Appeals has a number of factors that may be considered in determining whether a substantial change in condition has occurred, including a change in diagnosis; a change in the employee's ability to work; an increase in permanent partial disability; the necessity of more costly and extensive medical care or nursing services than was initially anticipated; the causal relationship between the injury covered by the settlement and the employee's current worsened condition; and the contemplation of the parties at the time of settlement.  

If you believe that you meet the above criteria contact our office TODAY at 651-414-0678 to discuss your case.  Also feel free to visit our website at www.mndisability.com 

Important Tips For Injured Workers From A Former Insurance Company Attorney.

You have just been injured at work, what should you do?  Advise a supervisor and seek medical treatment TODAY!  Don't assume it will get better!  Don't be pressured by your employer to claim the injury didn't happen and work regardless of what they say.  I have heard employers promise to pay for the treatment themselves, tell the worker that the business will lose their contract or lay off employees because of the claim.  These are all TRUE lies that I have heard in the last few years.

After you report he injury to your employer and seek medical attention be sure to do the following:

1.  Contact an experienced work comp lawyer...Seriously I don't care if your claim is admitted, contact an attorney to be sure you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled under law.  Consultations are always free whether the lawyer is the best in the Minnesota (Atkinson Law Office) or the worst firm (yes their are bad work comp lawyers).
2.  Save copies of all claim-related documents, forms, medical bills, benefit checks, letters, hand written notes, emails;
3.  Be sure to obtain appropriate work restrictions from your doctors and provide copies to your employer;
4.  Keep your supervisor and employer up to date with your work restrictions;
5.  If you have been out of work or working reduced hours for more than 2 months, request a QRC to assist you with return to work advice and to guide you with you medical treatment.  This is another time to contact a lawyer to ask advice on which QRC you have the right to chose;
6.  Keep track and request reimbursement of ALL out of pocket expenses including mileage driving for any and all medical appointments;
7.  If the insurer schedules you for an IME (independent medical examination) you absolutely should contact an attorney if you ignores step 1 above.  This could very well result in the immediate end to your work comp benefits!  I can't stress this enough.

Contact the attorneys at Minnesota Disability and Atkinson Law Office today for a free legal consultation.  651-414-0678 where your calls are answered 24 hours a day, every day of the year.  A lawyer will either speak to you immediately or within a few hours.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NOPLD - What Does The Notice Of Primary Liability Determination Mean?

The Notice of Insurer's Primary Liability Determination form is filed with the state by the insurer, showing whether the insurer accepts or denies a claim. This form contains important information for the injured worker to know, including:  the claim number, the insurance adjuster's name and phone number, the employee's average weekly wage, the compensation rate, if or when benefits will be initiated, and the specific reason and facts supporting any denial of liability.

I can't emphasis the importance of contacting an attorney IMMEDIATELY after you receive a NOPLD.  There are strict rules on how much time you have to fight or appeal this decision.  The attorneys at Minnesota Disability and Atkinson Law Office have handled thousands of cases over the past two decades and have the expertise to assist with your claim.  Keep a copy of this form for your records.

The attorneys at Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability will file a claim petition, the only remedy, to contest the denial of your claim.  Do not delay.  Our office will offer a free legal consultation to assist in coming up with a plan to get the benefits you deserve.  651-333-3636 where your calls are answered 24/7 every day of the year and we represent clients throughout the entire state of Minnesota.