Monday, December 2, 2013

Have You Suffered A Work Related Car Accident? Then You Are Entitled To Minnesota Workers Compensation.

Between this past April when we had our last snowfall and today, a lot of people forgot how to drive in Minnesota winters.  With only a few inches of snow this evening, our roads were littered with banged up cars and injured drivers and passengers.  Unfortunately there were 3 car accident related fatalities today around the state of Minnesota related to the the weather.  Many of these accidents involved people performing duties on behalf of their employer and are therefore entitled to Minnesota workers compensation benefits.

Aside from urging everyone to slow down and be more attentive while driving, I also want to remind you that if you were in ANY WAY performing duties or activity on behalf of your employer, your auto accident may be work related.  Were you driving from your office to a meeting?  Were you running an errand for your company or boss?  Were you driving between job sites?  Were you working out of state on a temporary job assignment?  If your answer was "YES" to any of these questions, you may be entitled to unlimited medical coverage, wage replacement benefits, college retraining benefits, and monetary damages for your permanent injury from Minnesota workers compensation system.  Don't assume that your employer or supervisor will advise you of the same.  In a FREE, short conversation with the attorneys of Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability, we can advise you whether you have a work related injury.

We represent clients throughout Minnesota and across the United States who have sustained injuries while driving on Minnesota roads or while traveling outside of Minnesota for their Minnesota employer.  Call the attorneys and staff of Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability today to discuss your car accident.  We can advise you whether your accident is work related and provide you with legal advice pertaining to your workers compensation benefits.  We also work with expert personal injury attorneys who can assist you with the personal injury aspect of your claim.  Call us today at 651-333-3636.  There is NEVER a fee unless we recover benefits for you.  Attorneys Thomas and Kerry Atkinson are waiting to assist you today and represent clients throughout Minnesota.

Friday, November 8, 2013

How Do I Hire The Best Minnesota Workers Compensation Attorney For My Case?

In the past decade the internet has become the number one tool used by injured employees throughout Minnesota to answer questions and find a lawyer.  Young, old, tech savvy or novices, it really doesn't matter.  Nearly everyone uses the internet to research what to do when they have a Minnesota workers compensation injury AND who they should hire for an attorney.

The internet is the great equalizer to the uniformed and inexperienced injured worker.  A great website can make a crappy lawyer with an eve worse reputation look great!  If only I could publish the list of lawyers who you should run and hide from....

Sure my law firm has great websites which we use to educate injured workers, but that isn't what makes our firm great!  EXPERIENCE and expertise in the law is what makes our firm GREAT!  Our lawyers live and breath workers compensation rather than car accidents, dog bites and slip and falls.  Attorney Thomas Atkinson has more than 2 decades of experience handling thousands of workers compensation cases and obtaining millions of dollars for his clients.  Attorney Kerry Atkinson is one of the very few lawyers in Minnesota who is considered a civil litigation expert by the Minnesota State Bar Association and even more rare, a member of the ABOTA (American Board Of Trial Advocates).  Though Minnesota doesn't have a "expert" designation for Minnesota workers compensation lawyers, Kerry uses her civil litigation expertise throughout her practice.

I could fairly and accurately list lawyer after lawyer with flashy websites who just recently began practicing workers compensation or who handle work comp cases in addition to dozens of other practice areas such as car accidents, wills, real estate closings etc.  But do they really KNOW work comp?  Do you really want someone like that to handle your claim?

Here is my suggestion.  Call a few law firms, not just ours and ask to speak to the lawyer.  YES the lawyer who will handle your case.  Then ask them the following questions:

1.  Have long have you been practicing law? 
2.  How long have you exclusively practiced workers compensation?
3.  Have you ever been disciplined by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board?
4.  How many staff members do you have to assist me in my workers compensation?
5.  How often do you actually take a case to hearing if necessary?
6.  Can you guarantee I will win my case?

Let me answer those questions for you!

1.  Over 20 years.
2.  Over 20 years.
3.  NEVER, in fact I have been called multiple times by attorneys and investigators with the LPRB with questions regarding best practices in a workers compensation case while investigating some of the very lawyers whose websites you may have visited.
4.  2 lawyers, 2 paralegals and an investigator who are dedicated to your Minnesota Workers Compensation claim.
5.  We try dozens of cases every year when a reasonable settlement can not be reached.
6.  No and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar.

I urge you to call and speak to a few different lawyers and find one that works best with you.  Ask the questions I have listed above.  You will know whether I'm the best lawyer for you and if I'm not, I promise to give you the names of other excellent lawyers who may be able to help you with your claim.  We want you to be happy with your choice and assured that you have an attorney with EXPERIENCE to assist you with you Minnesota Workers Compensation Injury!

There is a never a fee unless we recover benefits for you.  Call today to see whether we can help you with your claim.  651-333-3636 or visit our websites for more useful information.  www.mndisability.com

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Low Back Injury At Work? What To Do If You Have A Minnesota Work Related Back Injury.

Every week our staff of trained professional Minnesota workers compensation lawyers and paralegals receive calls from Minnesota workers suffering low back and neck injuries.  This article answers the question; When should you contact a medical professional? 

Our attorneys understand that sustaining work related low back and neck injuries can be financially devastating and emotionally stressful.  Injured workers often have more questions than answers.  Our experienced lawyers can help. Atkinson Law Office and attorney's Tom Atkinson and Kerry Atkinson have handled thousand of Minnesota workers compensation cases involving lumbar spine and cervical spine injuries over the past 20 years.  When an injured worker sustains any of the following symptoms, we strongly urge that they immediately seek medical treatment:
  • Back pain after a severe fall or blow
  • Blood in your urine or burning with urination
  • Loss of control over urine or stool (often referred to as incontinence)
  • Pain traveling down your arms to your fingers or legs below the knee
  • Pain that is worse when you lie down or that wakes you up at night
  • Warmth, redness or swelling on the back or spine
  • Severe pain that does not allow you to get comfortable; ie sitting, standing or sleeping
  • Weakness or numbness in your buttocks, thigh, leg, or pelvis
Though we are not medical doctors we have personal experience with both neck and low back injuries.  Aside from our experiences working with injured workers, Tom Atkinson has unfortunately undergone both neck and low back surgeries due to work injuries.  These experiences are often very helpful in providing advice and guidance to other workers who have sustained similar work injuries.  Let the attorneys and staff of Atkinson Law Office share our work comp experience today.  Call for a free consultation.  651-333-3636 and visit our website at for additional information regarding Minnesota work injuries.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Injured At Work? Find An Expert Minnesota Workers Compensation Attorney Today!

Minnesota workers compensation laws require that your employer pay for work comp insurance to provide you protection from any and all work injuries regardless of fault.  These benefits include the lost wages, medical benefits, retraining and monetary compensation for permanent injuries.   Unfortunately, many employers and insurance companies subject injured workers like yourself to the strategy of ignore, delay and deny.   You need a lawyer who knows how counter these tactics.  The lawyers at Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability regularly take workers' comp claims to hearing in order to obtain the wage loss, medical benefits, permanent partial disability awards and other available benefits on behalf of Minnesotan's like you who suffer work injuries. 

In fact, every single day our office receives calls from injured workers.  Most don't want to call, but they feel forced to by an action or inaction of their employer and a workers compensation insurance company.  Please recognize that you are not alone and we are happy to assist you with answers to your questions.  You will not be shamed, forced to "sign up", or in any other way manipulated to have our firm represent just for calling for advice.  In fact, I strongly believe that there must be a sense of trust with us before you hire us.  I'm more than willing to provide you with the name of other great work comp lawyers in our area to assist you should you simply feel that Atkinson Law Office is not the best fit for you.  There are only a handful of lawyers in Minnesota who limit their practices to representing injured workers.  Thomas Atkinson with Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability is one of the few. 

Our initial meeting is always FREE and there is never, ever a fee paid to our office unless we obtain disputed benefits on your behalf.  And even then, we are always paid directly by the insurance company.  You will never write a check to Atkinson Law Office or Minnesota Disability.  For a free consultation, call us today at 651-333-3636.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Workers Compensation Claims Adjuster, Sedgwick, Faces Criminal Charges For Workers Death.

Sedgwick is not an insurance company.  Companies hire Sedgwick to "administer" Minnesota workers compensation programs.  This means Sedgwick and companies like them often make poor decisions that are responsible thousands of claims I have handled over the years.  Unfortunately Sedgwicks recent denials in a workers compensation case led to the death of an injured workers. 

On October 25, 2006, a workers’ compensation judge issued an amended findings and award, ruling that the MRSA infection was a “compensable consequence” of the employee's work injury. Under the courts Order, Sedgwick was required to pay for all reasonable expenses related to medically treating the infection.  Apparently feeling above the law, Sedgwick ignored the judge’s order and continued to deny and delay employee’s treatment.  Unfortunately after numerous hospitalizations, the employee's condition continued to deteriorate, leading to his death on May 2, 2008.  He died as the result of cardiorespiratory arrest, respiratory failure, and pneumonia, all caused by his health care-associated MRSA infection and related medical conditions.

An audit conducted by the state workers compensation investigative unit charged that Sedgwick demonstrated “blithe disregard for its legal and ethical obligations and a callous indifference to the catastrophic consequences of its delays, inaction and outright neglect.”  The District Attorney’s Office is exploring whether to file criminal charges against Sedgwick Claims Management Services and the claims adjuster who handled the case.

Minnesota workers compensation injuries are not a game to the injured worker.  I recently had a new client with a fractured heal have his leg amputated because the employer forced him to work outside of his restrictions in order to keep his job.  The employee subsequently developed an infection similar to the employee in the above case and lost his leg before contacting our office.  Don't let this be you!

Do NOT wait until tragedy strikes you and your family.  If you have suffered what appears to be even a minor injury call an experienced workers compensation lawyer.  Ask them how many years they have been practicing law AND handling workers compensation cases.  I have personally handled thousands of cases over 20 years.  There is no fee to speak to me or my staff and should you need to retain me, you pay the same fee as a lawyer with 5 years experience.  Common sense will tell you that experience matters.  Contact us today at 651-333-3636 and visit us at  There is NEVER a fee unless we recover benefits for you.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Falling Concrete Killed Excavation Worker at New St. Paul Ballpark Site.

Though I often Blog about work injuries, occasionally their are horrific tragedy such as todays death of a union heavy equipment operator in St. Paul.  As reported in the Minneapolis StarTribune today,

"A worker sitting in the cab of a backhoe was killed Tuesday morning when concrete fell on him during demolition at the site of a new ballpark in St. Paul a construction executive said.
The death of John Valek, 61, of Plymouth, occurred about 8 a.m. while he and others were tearing down and clearing the site of the old Gillette/Diamond Products building, a former 650,000-square-foot factory in Lowertown St. Paul.

“As heavy equipment operators were demolishing a building, a portion of the concrete structure supporting the building fell onto the cab of one of the backhoes involved in the demolition work,” Collin Barr, president of the Midwest region for general contractor Ryan Cos. said in a statement issued about 8 hours after the incident. “The accident resulted in the death of Johnny Valek.”
Excavation began in July at the site in the 300 block of 5th Street, near Interstate 94 and Hwy. 52, and was slated to last four months.

Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard described Valek’s death as sudden and came when he was hit by a piece of concrete measuring roughly 10 feet by 30 feet.  The excavation work was being done by Rachel Contracting, of St. Michael, Minn. Executives with the subcontractor were not immediately available to comment.

Randy Valek said his brother had more than 25 years of experience in construction. He said his brother had recently talked about what a tough job this demolition was.
“You got to watch out any time you’re around any equipment,” Randy Valek said.

At Atkinson Law Office we have handle many such death cases.  One would think that these cases are straightforward, but often issues arise as to dependency benefits, spousal retraining benefits, and death benefits.  If you or a loved one sustains a work related injury, one of our very experience lawyers is waiting to assist you.  Call today at 651-333-3636 or visit us at 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Minnesota Workers Compensation Claims For PTSD / Post Traumatic Stress Disorders.

Post traumatic stress disorder is classified as an anxiety; the characteristic symptoms of which are not present before exposure to a violently traumatic event. Typically the individual with PTSD persistently avoids all thoughts, emotions and discussion of the stressor event and may experience amnesia for it.  However, the event is commonly relived by the individual through intrusive, recurrent recollections, flashbacks and nightmares.  The characteristic symptoms are considered acute if lasting less than three months, chronic if persisting three months or more, and with delayed onset if the symptoms first occur after six months or some years later. PTSD is distinct from the briefer than acute stress disorder and can cause clinical impairment in significant areas of functioning.


PTSD is believed to be caused by the experience of a wide range of traumatic events and, particularly if the trauma is extreme, can occur in persons with no predisposing conditions.  Persons considered at risk include combat military personnel, victims of natural disasters, and victims of violent crime.   PTSD can also be caused from those suffering work place injuries or being involved in traumatic work place incidents.  You do NOT necessarily need to sustain a physical injury in Minnesota to be found to have sustained an injury.  Individuals not infrequently experience "survivor's guilt" for remaining alive while others died. Causes of the symptoms of PTSD are the experiencing or witnessing of a stressor event involving death, serious injury or such threat to the self or others in a situation in which the individual felt intense fear, horror, or powerlessness.  Persons who are employed in occupations which expose them to violence firefighters, police officers, construction workers or disasters are also at risk.

The lawyers at Minnesota Disability and Atkinson Law Office have a combined experience of over 40 years working with injured and disabled individuals.  Both Tom and Kerry Atkinson have previously defended employers and insurers and now exclusively represent injured workers.  Our consultations are absolutely FREE.  Call today at 651-333-3636 for a free consultation.  Remember there is never a fee unless we recover benefits for you.  Also visit us at 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Minnesota Workers Compensation Mental Health Injury Benefits Expand In 2013.

A bill was signed by Gov. Dayton on May 16, 2013 that has changed the way workers' compensation claims have been handled for over three decades.  Minnesota now allows mental-mental injuries involving PTSD or post traumatic stress disorders.  This means that you do NOT need a physical injury in all cases to have a work related injury.  If your medical doctor or psychologist diagnosis's that you have suffered a work related mental health injury in the nature of PTSD, you may be entitled to wage loss benefits, free medical care, and in some cases even free retraining benefits.  

The new law however is very specific as to what is and what is not covered.  The definition of an occupational disease was revised to include mental impairment. Mental impairment is defined as post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist.  The statute states that for the purpose of workers’ compensation, "post-traumatic stress disorder" means the condition as described in the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 

At Atkinson Law Office, P.A. and Minnesota Disability, we represent injured workers with Minnesota workers' compensation injuries every day.  Every year we recover millions of dollars in benefits for injured workers; including medical, wage loss, retraining assistance and monetary benefits for permanent injuries.  Though attorneys Thomas Atkinson and Kerry Atkinson will litigate your matter on your behalf, we have a team approach in assuring we stay on top of your case day in and day out.

Contact Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability today at 651-333-3636 and visit our website for more information.  You can also submit your questions online by following this link.  Remember your consultation is FREE and there is never a fee until we recover benefits for you. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) And What Causes It?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a complicated chronic pain condition that produces significant disability and dysfunction. In a majority of cases, CRPS follows acute trauma or major injury to an arm or leg. Surgery, such as carpal tunnel decompression, can also trigger CRPS. It may also be triggered by a minor injury, such as a strain, sprain or laceration, or spinal cord injury. 

CRPS usually affects the upper or lower extremities, although it can affect other areas of the body as well. The main symptom is constant pain, intensely burning and often out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury. Other symptoms may include dramatic changes in the color and temperature of the skin over the affected limb or body part, skin sensitivity and tenderness to touch, sweating, changes in skin texture, changes in hair and nail growth, swelling and stiffness in joints, and decreased motor ability, especially in the affected body part. Tremor and muscle spasm may develop, and edema of the affected limb can be marked. Muscle atrophy and joint contracture may occur, and bones of the limb can become osteoporotic. 

The cause of CRPS is not entirely understood, although in some cases is thought to stem from dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system that controls blood flow and sweat gland activity. While it is normal for the sympathetic nervous system to respond to injury, the response normally quiets down as healing occurs; however, in individuals with CRPS, it can remain active despite a lack of ongoing trauma. 

At Atkinson Law Office, P.A. and Minnesota Disability, we represent injured workers with Minnesota workers' compensation injuries every day.  Every year we recover millions of dollars in benefits for injured workers; including medical, wage loss, retraining assistance and monetary benefits for permanent injuries.  Though attorneys Thomas Atkinson and Kerry Atkinson will litigate your matter on your behalf, we have a team approach in assuring we stay on top of your case day in and day out.

Nearly every one of our staff members has personal experience in the struggles of workers compensation injuries or has worked for work comp insurance companies before coming to work for our office.  They know the secret tips to obtaining benefits for you.  Whether you have had a back injury or such from chronic pain, we are ready to assist.

Contact Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability today at 651-333-3636 and visit our website for more information.  You can also submit your questions online by following this link.  Remember your consultation is FREE and there is never a fee until we recover benefits for you. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Minnesota Workers Compensation Indpendent Medical Examinations. Guess What? They Aren't Independent!

Every week at Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability we receive notices that our clients are scheduled for independent medical examinations, "IME".  We send notices out to our clients advising them that the IME is usually a precursor to every disputed Minnesota Workers Compensation claim.  Below are some suggestions that we provide our clients.

1.  Don't Be Intimidated By An IME
2.  Be Prepared To Answer The Doctors Questions TRUTHFULLY!
3.  Answer Every Question To The Best Of Your Ability
4.  Make Sure You Consult An Attorney Before You Attend

Don't Be Intimidated By An IME

Easy for me to say right?  Well I have attended two allegedly independent medical examinations and by following my rules, one of the doctors actually found my injury to be caused by my work activities.  A rareity but it does happen.  Be polite, don't be a jerk, and know that whatever happens, you have the right to contest the findings if they are unfavorable with the assistance of your attorney and own doctors.

Be Prepared To Answer The Doctors Questions Truthfully

Don't wing the IME.  Go prepared.  This isn't the time to guess how you may have been injured or the circumstances regarding your treatment, etc.  Review your medical records, discuss the facts pertaining to your injury with your attorney.  Be PREPARED!

Answer Every Question To The Best Of Your Ability

Most clients report that the independent medical examination takes no more than 10-15 minutes and the doctor has little interest in hearing about how the injury occurred. Don’t be discouraged simply try your best to answer any questions asked.  Don’t exaggerate or fake your symptoms. This can be discovered during the physical exam and will destroy your case.

Make Sure You Consult An Attorney Before You Attend

There is never a cost to consult an attorney AND if you retain an attorney we can NOT and do not charge you a fee unless there is a dispute.  And even then the fee is paid by the employer's insurance company.  A free consultation means just's free.  Give one of our experienced attorneys a call today at 651-333-3636.   At Atkinson Law Office we have over 40 years of combined legal experience just waiting to assist you.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Need A Minnesota Workers' Compensation Attorney. But How Do I Chose With So Many Choices?

You have a lot of choices out on the internet for a lawyer to assist you with your Minnesota workers' compensation injury.  I believe that you need an attorney who limits his/her practice to workers compensation.  Ask yourself whether the lawyer and law firm also practice personal injury, family law, criminal law, and wills.  Do you really want to a lawyer who practices workers compensation "part-time"?  Because if they advertise that they handle a wide range of legal matters, they have very little time to keep up on the ever changing laws that affect your case.

At Atkinson Law Office, P.A. and Minnesota Disability, we live, eat, and breath Minnesota workers' compensation.  Every year we recover millions of dollars in benefits for injured workers; including medical, wage loss, retraining assistance and monetary benefits for permanent injuries.  Though attorney Thomas Atkinson will litigate your matter on your behalf, we have a team approach in assuring we stay on top of your case day in and day out.

Nearly every one of our staff members has personal experience in the struggles of workers compensation injuries or has worked for work comp insurance companies before coming to work for our office.  They know the secret tips to obtaining benefits for you.  Whether you have had a back injury or such from chronic pain, we are ready to assist.

Contact Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability today at 651-333-3636 and visit our website for more information.  You can also submit your questions online by following this link.  Remember your consultation is FREE and there is never a fee until we recover benefits for you.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Need A Minnesota Workers Compensation Lawyer. Who Is The Best Minnesota Work Comp Attorney For My Case?

Minnesota does not allow workers compensation attorneys to call themselves "experts".  However, there are vast differences in the quality and experience of Minnesota workers compensation lawyers for hire throughout our state.  Some attorneys are really "personal injury" attorneys who do workers compensation on the side.  Work comp is truly just a side practice for these firms or they will simply refer you to lawyers like myself who limit their practice to work comp.  Other law firms claim to do it all; divorces, wills, criminal law and would you guess workers compensation too?  I'm a strong believer in hiring a specialist.

At Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability, we limit our practice to representing injured and disabled workers.  We believe that our background in having previously represented employers and insurers is the secret to our success.  We know the opposing attorneys, insurance companies and adjusters better than most lawyers across the state.  We know how they think and in some cases have taught them what they know (and this is not an exaggeration).  Tom Atkinson has has been asked to lecture for decades to both insurance companies, work comp adjusters and other workers compensation attorneys.  Since opening his practice representing injured workers, Mr. Atkinson is a frequent lecturer to lawyers seeking his insight and wisdom in representing injured workers.

We have compiled a team of paralegals, investigators and other lawyers who assist in various aspects of your case.  Rest assured however, that Tom Atkinson will always be on hand to personally answer your questions when necessary.  Mr. Atkinson takes pride in sharing his personal story of suffering a work related injury and undergoing both back and neck surgery as the result.  He understands the frustration of late wage loss payments, unpaid medical bills and denied claims.  Let him help you navigate the maze known as Minnesota Workers Compensation.

Our attorneys and investigators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your calls.  Call today at 651-333-3636 or visit our website for additional information,  We have clients across the country and throughout Minnesota that have suffered Minnesota workers compensation injuries.  Remember, your consultation is absolutely free and there is NEVER a fee unless we recover benefits for you. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Minnesota Workers Compensation Injuries Can Result in Chronic Pain, RSD, and CRPS

When I began assisting injured workers over 20 years ago at the start of my career, I had never heard of the terms complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).  Sure we encountered clients with unusual pain patterns that had the peculiar tendency to move, but little was known about this as a stand alone disease.  This condition was not treated as a disease, but rather a symptom.  In fact, many doctors still treat CRPS as a symptom rather than the illness it is recognized today.  CRPS is a highly painful, limb-confined condition, which arises usually after trauma. It is associated with a particularly poor quality of life, and large health care costs. The causes of CRPS remain virtually unknown but is usually referred to as an immunodisorder or one's body's reaction to trauma that is extreme.   The condition's distinct combination of abnormalities includes limb-confined inflammation and tissue hypoxia, sympathetic dysregulation, small fiber damage, serum auto antibodies, central sensitization and cortical reorganization. These features place CRPS at a crossroads of interests of several disciplines including rheumatology, pain medicine and neurology.  As such it's often difficult to diagnose, treat and manage.

Significant scientific and clinical advances over the past 10 years hold promise both for an improved understanding of the causes of CRPS, and for more effective treatments.  The treatment of CRPS is multidisciplinary and aims to educate about the condition, sustain or restore limb function, reduce pain and provide psychological intervention.  Unfortunately most majo
r cities, including those in Minnesota have a very limited number of experts willing to actively treat and manage CRPS.  However, results from recent randomized controlled trials suggest that it is possible that some patients whose condition was considered refractory in the past can now be effectively treated, but confirmatory trials are required.

At Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability we have represented and currently represent many clients with diagnosed CRPS.  We are familiar with the medical experts in Minnesota and are often helpful in guiding injured workers to referrals to said physicians and clinics possessing expertise in CRPS.  If you have a work related injury and would like a FREE consultation (yes it is absolutely free), please call us today at 651-333-3636.  We represent injured workers across Minnesota and those injured while working for Minnesota employers across the country.  We have a team of professionals with unparallelled experience, most with literally decades of experience in workers compensation both as injured workers themselves.  At Minnesota Disability and Atkinson Law Office we are ready to assist you today.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Workers Compensation Office

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry in St. Paul Minnesota does many things to assist employers and employees throughout our state.  One of their biggest functions is assisting employers and employees who have sustained workers compensation injuries.  The office does NOT and can NOT represent injured workers.  Keep in mind that the DOLI help desk employees give advice to employers, insurance companies AND employees, and are not bound by attorney client privilege.   In fact, some of those with whom you speak to might not even be attorneys.

If you need legal advice I strongly urge you to contact an experienced workers compensation attorney first.  A private workers compensation attorney will give you excellent advice free of charge.  The Minnesota Department of Labor has an excellent and important role in assisting injured workers.  However, providing legal advise is not one that I support nor recommend for most injured workers.

If you have been injured please call a licensed and experienced workers compensation attorney immediately.  You can find them through the Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota Association for Justice and at fine law offices such as Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability.  We offer free consultations at no charge by simply calling 651-333-3636.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why Is My MN Work Comp Adjuster Asking About My Facebook Account?

I have written and lectured about Facebook, Mylife and other forms of social media for years.  More and more often, whether my clients are aware of it or not, insurance adjusters, employers and insurance company lawyers are looking you up on Facebook.

I had a client in my office today and I asked her how her ski trip was this weekend and she looked at me wondering how in the world I knew her family went skiing.  I turned my computer around and showed her pictures from her Facebook, her husband's Facebook and her childrens' Facebook accounts.  Now the pictures didn't show my client skiing or failing to follow her restrictions, but I got my client's attention.  Facebook is often better than surveillance videos because you and your friends are posting the pictures and photographs rather than a creepy investigator.

Can a Minnesota workers compensation judge allow the admission of photographs from your Facebook account?  There are no appealate decisions to guide us at this point but let me share with you what a workers compensation judge in another state recently did.

An Arkansas workers compensation appeals court ruled that photos on Facebook and Myspace of a man “drinking and partying” could be used as evidence to deny him further workers compensation claims.  At the center of the suit is  Zackery Clement, who suffered a hernia on March 12, 2009 after a refrigerator fell on him while on the job at Johnson’s Warehouse Showroom in Pine Bluff,  Ark.  Keep in mind this was an admitted work injury.  Clement, who was compensated for medical expenses and received temporary total-disability benefits for more than a year, was seeking an extension of benefits following three surgeries as a result of the injury.

In an opinion, written by Judge David M. Glover, the Arkansas Court of Appeals states: “We find no abuse of discretion in the allowance of photographs. Clement contended that he was in excruciating pain, but these pictures show him drinking and partying.”

The lesson to be learned is NEVER EVER lie.  If your doctor tells you NOT to perform certain activites be sure to testify truthfully if you disobey your doctor.  We all want to live our lives and share activities with our loved ones and families.  Just don't exaggerate or lie about your symptoms or ability to perform non work activities.  When you have a serious work related injury doing so will often result in consequences such as slower recoveries or increased pain.  My suggestion is that you "lock down" you Facebook or turn it off.  You will be shocked by the extra time you have when you don't need to be updating your status, location or activities every few minutes.

If you have sustained a work related injury and have questions or concerns about your claim, Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability offer free consultations at suburban office locations with free parking, hot coffee, cold beverages and a staff with decades of experience handling Minnesota workers compensation cases. Call our office today at 651-333-3636 for a free consultation and feel free to visit our website for additional information regarding your Minnesota Workers Compensation injury.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I Settled My Work Comp Claim And Need Medical Treatment. What Can I Do?

As the founder of Atkinson Law Office, P.A. and Minnesota Disability, I have been involved in thousands of workers compensation settlements over the last 20 years.  One thing that is common in many of them is that some form of medical benefits are usually left open.  Even though the words may say, "full, final and complete settlement" they are usually followed by the type of benefits left open.  One thing is certain, all workers compensation settlements are not equal.

If you can't find you settlement agreement or don't remember your lawyers name, we have the expertise to obtain a copy of the settlement documents through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.  In as little as a couple of weeks, we can obtain the document, review it and counsel your remaining rights to workers compensation benefits.  We can explain to you how your existing health insurance (if you have any) affects your right to workers compensation benefits. 

Contact our office today at 651-333-3636 and let us begin helping you with discovery what benefits you have remaining with your old workers compensation settlement.  Whether you have your documents or not, we would be happy to assist you.  At Atkinson Law Office, P.A. and Minnesota Disability, we have a team of experienced workers compensation professionals waiting to help you 24/7. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Workers Compensation Insurer Is Paying My Benefits. Do I Really Need An Attorney?

Some injured workers think that an insurance company that is paying them some forms of Minnesota work comp benefits is looking out for them.  Unfortunately this is generally a false presumption and they are not getting  ALL of the benefits they are entitled to receive.  I hate to burst new clients bubbles but almost with exception this notion is wrong.  Wrong I say?  But the adjuster is so nice and they hooked me up with another "nice" QRC who goes with me to the doctor and says nice things...almost like they are my new best friend.   Really?  Do you honestly believe that a for profit insurance company is looking out for you the injured worker?  I have been on the other side; I have been an injured worker; I have represented hundreds and hundreds of injured workers and I can tell you that insurance companies and most employers only care about returning you to work as fast as possible.  This means steering you to doctors who believe that "occupational medicine" requires a finding of returning to work without restrictions as fast as possible, damn the consequences.

I previously worked on the "dark side" of Minnesota's workers compensation system for over 15 years and I can assure you that you are paid only those benefits that are absolutely mandatory and nothing...and I mean nothing more.  Cutting costs, reducing "lost time" claims, steering you towards insurance friendly doctors is a daily activity driven by employers and claims managers.  Don't get me wrong, there are well meaning, kind and thoughtful adjusters who try to work within the limits of their insurance company managers.  But most are like the wonderful actors and actresses of Broadway and those that are truly thoughtful and kind, are overseen by taskmaster management that meet every week to discuss how to manage costs and move cases towards closure as fast and cheap as possible.  This is the real world and you would be shocked, very shocked to know the truth.  Very few of my fellow attorneys who limit their practices to representing injured workers like myself have seen this side of the Minnesota Workers Compensation system. Let me show you the secrets to ensure you get the benefits your are entitled to today.  Feel free to explore my background and learn tips to obtaining all the benefits you are entitled to.  Contact my office for an absolutely free no pressure visit.  651-333-3636