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.