Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Minnesota Taconite Workers, If You Have Been Diagnosed With Mesothelioma or Other Asbestos Related Diseases Call A Lawyer Today!

Taconite pellets
A University of Minnesota study released earlier this week announced preliminary findings that inhaled taconite dust by miners on the Minnesota Iron Range, leads to serious lung diseases including scarring around the lungs and an often fatal cancer called Mesothelioma.  At least 80 miners have already died from this rare cancer in Minnesota.

Proper Asbestos Protection
Workers often wear masks but NOT the type that protect them for the invisible asbestos particles that are inhaled and embedded into their lungs.  When you consider that professionals who remove asbestos wear protection covering them from head to toe, in reality any and all workers exposed to asbestos in the taconite mines are potential victims.  In my experience those who have worked in Minnesota's Iron Range mines haven't worn any respiratory protection until recently and even then the have been provided insufficient paper masks that simply cover their faces loosely at best.  With these findings it's time for the unions representing workers and the IMA (Iron Mining Association) to step up and protect the safety of workers.  Minnesota's taconite miners and their families deserve the protection that is afforded others who work in the modern asbestos industry.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos related disease, the worker is entitled to medical and wage loss benefits AND you as the surviving spouse or children should the worker die, are entitled to survivors benefits.  PLEASE contact our office today.  Attorney Tom Atkinson has personally handled hundreds of asbestos related Minnesota workers compensation cases.  Mr. Atkinson often associates with attorney Dean Salita who has also handled hundreds of Minnesota asbestos cases.  Call us today at 651-333-3636 and visit our website.  There is never a fee for a free consultation and you pay NOTHING unless we obtain benefits for you.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I Can't Afford A Minnesota Workers Compensation Attorney. Really?

I get about a dozen phone calls each week from workers who have been injured at work and want a free consultation.  In most cases, I simply provide free advice and explain some questions regarding their case and leave them my cell phone number should they have any future concerns.  Occasionally, however, there are some who should have contacted me months or even years ago. 

Don't assume that the internet, work comp blogs, your family and friends or your old personal injury attorney has the CORRECT answers to your questions.  Minnesota Workers Compensation is a very specialized area of the law.  A personal injury attorney who handles a few cases every year is in no way an expert.  Your family or friends workers compensation case may be very, very different than yours based upon the facts of their case.  You may be entitled to far more benefits then they received.

Experience also matters in finding an attorney.  The internet is the great equalizer.  Some firms like Fields Law Firm advertise that they are the biggest law firm in Minnesota and yet I have never seen the firms namesake, Steve Fields, at the Office of Administrative Hearings where I have been to thousands of times over the past 21 years.  Other attorneys claim they are the most respected workers compensation attorneys in our state and yet rarely handle workers compensation matters. 

I want you to call the lawyer whom the firm is named after and ask him or her how many cases they have PERSONALLY gone to hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings AND appearances before the Workers Compensation Court of Appeals in 2014.  The answers may shock you.  At Atkinson Law Office, both Kerry and Tom Atkinson have taken cases to hearing every month in 2014.  We have also appeared before the Minnesota Workers Compensation Court of Appeals as well.  Every week I personally make multiple appearance at the Office of Administrative Hearings for settlement conferences, discontinuance conferences, medical dispute conferences, vocational rehabilitation conferences, meditations, and/or hearings. EVERY week!

Finally, there is NEVER a fee to contact an attorney and discuss your workers compensation case.  Atkinson Law Office will not require you to pay a retainer fee or send us payment at ANYTIME during your case.  We get paid directly by the insurance companies when benefits are disputed.  Can you afford NOT to contact an experienced law firm and attorney like Thomas Atkinson.  Visit us today for a free consultation.  www.mndisability.com or call 651-333-3636, 24 hours/day, 365 days/year.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Personal Experiences From A Minnesota Work Comp Lawyer Who Has Had Cervical Disc / Neck Surgery.

Years ago I sustained an injury resulting in numbness down my right arm/hand and pain into my upper right shoulder/arm.  My family physician eventually ordered an MRI which revealed a herniated disc and then referred me to a neurosurgeon for a consultation.  I underwent physical therapy, was prescribed a steroid and eventually underwent a C6-7 laminectomy and microdiscectomy.  The surgery was a success in relieving all of the pain symptoms and most of the numbness and weakness sensation.  I subsequently ran many races including a marathon.

My symptoms and outcome may be different then yours so let's take a look at the most commons symptoms of a cervical disc injury. 

Symptoms
Symptoms of cervical herniated disc may include:
• Pain that radiates down the arm to the hand and/or fingers
• Numbness and/or tingling in the shoulder, arm, or hands• Weakness of hand and/or arms
• Difficulty with fine motor skills in the hands and arms
• Tingling or "shock" type feelings down the torso or into the legs
You may have one or all of these symptoms.  I had them all to some degree before the surgery.
Certain positions or movements such as looking up and down or left and right of the neck can intensify the pain. Often the symptoms of a cervical herniated disc often resemble other disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome  injury to the rotator cuff.  I have actually had clients misdiagnosed with both CTS and rotator cuff injuries who actually had cervical disc injuries.
Causes
Direct trauma such as hitting your head, lifting heavy objects, sudden jarring of the neck and/0r head or repetitive actions over time can result in injury to the cervical disc.  These injuries can cause a cervical herniated disc or spinal cord compression, where disc material pushes on a "foraminal nerve" the spinal cord. This is a much more serious condition and may require a more aggressive treatment plan. Spinal cord compression symptoms include: 
• Awkward or stumbling gait
Treatment
There are many methods to attempt to treat these conditions which I have discussed in other blogs including physical therapy, traction, chiropractic care, medications and even various types of surgery.  You and your doctor will have to determine what is the best protocol for you.  I am happy to share my personal thoughts on what I experienced and what hundreds of my clients have done over the years.  Visit our website or call today at 651-333-3636.  We are work comp experts who recover millions of dollars of benefits for our clients every year and unlike many firms we have decades of experience in workers compensation.  We represent clients across the entire state of Minnesota.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why Do Herniated Discs Hurt My Arm Or Leg Rather Than My Low Back Or Neck? This Makes No Sense.

Though I am an expert Minnesota workers compensation attorney, I am also a former injured worker.   I have undergone 2 low back surgeries and a cervical spine surgery in the last 22 years.  What I have learned from these personal experiences is that yes sometimes a herniated disc in the low back can hurt the low back area, but they can also result in symptoms in your lower extremities (buttocks, legs, feet and toes).  Likewise, cervical spine injuries can also result in symptoms into your upper extremities (shoulder, arms, hands, and fingers).  Patients and clients are often confused when their doctors tell them they have suffered a back or neck injury and yet they only have pain their arms or legs.  Please don't be confused, your confusion is common.

Though the scanned MRI image I have attached to this blog is not my own, it could very well be mine.  This image shows both signs of healthy discs, degenerative discs, and herniated discs.  Each disc is made of a tough out ring called an annulus and a soft inner core called a nucleus.  Think jelly donut.

The white colored top discs are healthy discs.  You will note they are what spine surgeons refer to has round, plump "jelly donuts".  As we move down we see the 4th disc from the top bulging and the disc below that, a herniation.  This is when the "jelly" ruptures out the side of the disc and can impinge on a nerve or the spinal cord resulting in significant injury.  The L4, 5 and S1 discs (the lower three) are black or very dark.  These represent degenerative discs.  In the more extreme cases, the black space is almost gone and the bones appear to be touching.  This condition can result in considerable back pain and can in some cases necessitate a fusion surgery.

If you have performed heavy, repetitive lifting activities at work and you develop a disc injury of some kind, please speak to an experience expert Minnesota workers compensation attorney.  You may have sustained what is referred to as a Gillette injury and you may be entitled to free medical care, lost wages, permanent injury damages and in some cases retraining.  Our consultations are absolutely FREE!  There is never a fee unless we recover benefits.  Please note that every one of our attorneys as over 20 years of personal injury experience.  If you speak to other lawyers ask them how long they have practiced law and how long they have practiced exclusively workers compensation.  Their fancy misleading websites can be smoke and mirrors.  Contact the work comp experts of Atkinson Law Office today.  651-333-3636 and visit our website at www.mndisability.com


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Are My PERA Retirement Benefits Deductible From My Minnesota Workers Compensation Benefits?

Up until August 13, 2014, injured workers who were declared permanently totally disabled, had their Minnesota workers compensation benefits reduced by the amount of their public employee retirement association (PERA) benefit.  In many cases this would virtually eliminate their entitled to work related wage loss benefits.

On August 13th, the Minnesota Supreme Court, reversed the Minnesota Workers Compensation Court of Appeals in the case of Sharyn Hartwig v. Traverse Care Center and denied the ability of insurance companies to force PERA retirement offsets from permanent total disability benefits.  The Hartwig decision follows another Court decision indicating that teacher pension benefits may not be used to offset permanent total disability benefits. 

How will this affect you case?  For most injured workers they are very lucky in never having to explore the issue of permanent total disability benefits.  However every year I represent clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries where we bring claims for permanent total disability benefits.  In fact, just last week I signed up a client who is clearly PTD and whose employer was encouraging him to file for PERA disability rather than PERA retirement.  The outcome of this case will have a dramatic impact on his benefits in the amount of nearly $2,000/month. 

Though I say this time and time again, experience matters when choosing a workers compensation attorney.  There are attorneys throughout Minnesota who you will find while Google searching on the internet.  They often boast and make claims that are misleading at best.  One firm calls themselves the largest workers compensation firm in Minnesota when all of their workers compensation lawyers combined have less workers compensation experience than myself and a few other lawyers who practice exclusively workers compensation.  We refer to them as "baby lawyers" for a reason.  Ask these so called expert lawyers how many years they have been lawyers (some of the people you talk with aren't even lawyers) and then ask how many years have you exclusively handled workers compensation cases.  The answers will surprise you.

If you need an expert workers compensation attorney with over 2 decades of experience, contact Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability.  Attorney Tom Atkinson is truly recognized as an expert workers compensation attorney and Kerry Atkinson is a State of Minnesota AND National civil litigation specialist certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association and many other organizations.  We look forward to assisting you.  There is NEVER a fee unless we recover benefits for you.  Visit us at www.mndisability.com or call 651-333-3636 today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Do You Have To Peform "Light Duty" Work Following Your Minnesota Workers Compensation Injury?

If you sustained a Minnesota work related injury, it's likely that at some point your doctor will provide you with work restrictions.  You're employer has the two options;  refuse to accommodate the work restrictions and pay you temporary total disability benefits or offer you temporary "light duty" employment.  If your employer does not accommodate your restrictions and the insurance company doesn't pay your lost wages in the form of temporary total disability benefits, contact one of our expert workers compensation attorneys at Atkinson Law Office immediately!

If your employer offers you light duty work, it may take many forms.  It may be your date of injury job with the elimination of any restricted activities; it may be working in an entirely new temporary position with your employer in another company location or it may be with an entirely different company whereby you are outsourced to perform light duty work.  Yes, you read that right.  Your employer may outsource you to an entirely different company performing job duties that you have never ever performed.  In most cases, all of the above examples are usually temporary.

When a client is offered light duty work, I often want his/her QRC to check that the job is truly light duty as outlined by the doctor.  Often an employer will promise to offer light duty work, tell the employee to "follow their restrictions" but then give them work which they know will NOT actually allow the injured worker to follow the doctors restrictions...and blame YOU the injured worker for not following the restrictions.

I strongly encourage my clients to try the light duty job offer.  Whether for months, weeks or in some cases for only a few hours.  Often your physician will provide you with what they think are your likely restrictions but this is really an educated guess at best.  If you try the work and you have significant ongoing issues performing the tasks or develop severe pain, immediately return to your physician.  The doctor may modify your restrictions or take you back off of work.  If your doctor will NOT modify your restrictions, please talk with an attorney before you "doctor shop" for a second opinion.  In some cases the QRC can help facilitate a better understanding by your doctor of the problems associate with your pain issues and the work.

Finally, you should be aware that if you begin working a temporary light duty job and your take home pay decreases because of a lower wage or inability to perform overtime, you may be entitled to compensaiton for your wage loss.  We call this temporary partial disability and it is 2/3rds of the difference between your "average weekly wage" on your date of injury and your current earnings.  The lawyers in our office would be happy to explain this rule free of charge.

If you have been given "light duty" work restrictions by your doctor, chiropractor or health care professional we strongly urge you to call the expert Minnesota workers compensation attorneys with Atkinson Law Office today.  There is never a fee unless we recover benefits for you and you will never pay our office directly regardless of outcome.  www.mndisability.com or 651-333-3636

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Your PTSD May Be Considered A Work Related Injury In Minnesota Beginning October 1, 2013.

For years, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was NOT a compensable or payable workers compensation claim in Minnesota even where all parties agreed the condition was related to a work injury.  This changed effective October 1, 2013 and in many situations your PTSD may be found to be work related.

What is PTSD?

When someone feels in danger, it’s a natural response to feel afraid. This fear triggers multiple split second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the individuals reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.

PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who is diagnosed with PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or even strangers.


What are some symptoms of PTSD?  

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are three primary categories for PTSD.

1. Re-experiencing symptoms
  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts.
2. Avoidance symptoms
  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having difficulty remembering the dangerous event.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms
  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having trouble sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD due a work related injury OR incident, you may be entitled to 100% coverage of your medical costs, wage replacement, and vocational assistance in finding new work or paid retraining.  Since the enactment of Minn. Stat. §176.011 in 2013, our firm has represented multiple individuals relative to PTSD claims including a store worker who was robbed at gunpoint and a worker who witnessed a traumatic suicide.  The attorneys of Atkinson Law Office have over 45 years combined experience handling injury and workers compensation claims in Minnesota.  Each attorney has a minimum of over 20 years experience and are widely recognized as experts in our fields.  Experience matters!  Contact our office today for a free consultation at 651-333-3636.  We represent clients across the entire state of Minnesota.  Also visit our website at www.mndisability.com for more information.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Planning To Reject A Light Duty Job Offer After A Minnesota Workers Compensation Injury?

No so fast.  If you have sustained a Minnesota Workers Compensation injury and your doctor provides you with work restrictions, an employer may offer you a light duty job until you reach maximum medical improvement and it's determined whether you will have permanent restrictions.  This "light duty" job can be almost anything and can even be with another company.  One of the recent trends in Minnesota workers compensation is to have you work as a volunteer.  Light duty jobs do not need to be even remotely similar to your date of injury job.  A firefighter or carpenter could be placed as a volunteer at a food shelter wiping off tables or serving meals.

There are however some restrictions on light duty jobs.  If your employer and workers compensation insurer offer you a light duty job it's important that you speak with a workers compensation attorney immediately.  At Atkinson Law Office, you will NEVER be charged a fee and your consultation will always be free.  Every one of our expert workers compensation attorneys at Atkinson Law Office has over 22 years of experience in litigation and when you are choosing the best workers compensation attorney, experience matters!  Call us today for a free consultation 651-333-3636.  We represent clients across the state of Minnesota who have sustained work injuries.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Minnesota Workers Compnsation Secrets From An Expert.

You have sustained a Minnesota work related injury.  You may live in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Duluth, Worthington, International Falls or perhaps you don't even live in Minnesota.  Our lawyers have handled thousands of workers compensation cases over the past 20 years.  During this time we have gained valuable insight and secrets that insurance companies hope you don't find out.  How did we find out these secrets?  Our lawyers are former insurance company attorneys and many of our staff members are former insurance company employees, including work comp claims adjusters.  Some of our staff and lawyers have themselves sustained work related injuries for which they also had to fight insurance companies for their benefits.  With our insider information and first hand experience we have compiled a list of secrets very few if any law firms can share.  Below are some of the secrets we will share.
  • You do NOT need to sign a blanket employment and medical release for insurance companies in all cases. 
  • Insurance companies will often have their staff nurses and doctors call your physicians and try to convince them to limit your treatment and lift your restrictions.  You can refuse to allow this.
  •  Nurse case managers are NOT neutral.  They work solely for the insurance company to limit your treatment and rush your return to work.  You can prohibit them from working on your file.
  • You have the right to chose the QRC.  Some QRCs are actually employee's of the insurance company.  Can they really be neutral?  You can and MUST chose your own QRC.
These are just some of the Secrets From A Former Insurance Company Attorney we can share with you online.  Contact attorneys Tom Atkinson or Kerry Atkinson to schedule a free consultation to learn even more secrets.  There is never a fee unless we recover benefits for you.  Visit our website at www.mndisability.com or call 651-333-3636 today.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Do You Have To Attend A Minnesota Workers Compensation Independent Medical Examinations?

"Independent Medical Examinations" are never independent.  As my friends from the Olympia Washington law firm WWO Law demonstrate in the video they created, most IME doctors have an agenda.  First an foremost to supplement their income by conducting hundreds of exams a year.  One doesn't have to be a work comp expert to realize IME physician have a monetary interest to find NO work injury or a temporary injury at best. 

Though I only represent injured workers, I'm a former insurance company attorney.  IME's are set up by work comp insurance adjusters with the sole purpose to deny or limit your Minnesota workers compensation benefits.  Unfortunately Minnesota law requires that you attend your independent medical examination if it is within 150 miles of your home.  The insurance company must pay for your travel to and from the examination.  When you arrive at the examination do NOT fill out any paperwork other than provide your identification.  Be polite and respectful even though you know this doctor is likely to misrepresent the extent of your injuries and perhaps even outright lie.  If you have a well experienced workers compensation attorney he/she will be familiar with the doctor and know how to attack the doctor's credibility.  We may have even deposed the doctor previously or have past workers compensation decisions where the IME doctor was found not credible.

Minnesota workers compensation is a complex area of law that general practitioners, personal injury attorneys and young lawyers with pretty websites occasionally think they can handle.  The truth is that it takes many years to become familiar with the laws, opposing attorneys, judges and independent medical examiners.  At Atkinson Law Office we specifically limit our practice to workers compensation and have done so for over 20 years.  We offer free consultations and you will never pay a fee unless we obtain benefits for you.  Visit our website at www.mndisabiilty.com or call us from across the state of Minnesota at 651-333-3636

Monday, March 10, 2014

You Just Suffered A Work Related Rotator Cuff Injury. What Should You Do Now?

There are many different types of shoulder injuries but as with all injuries, you need to report your injury to your supervisor or manager immediately.  Then seek medical attention and PLEASE for your sake tell everyone you see at the hospital or clinic how the injury happened at work.  Document, document, document! If you are given work restrictions, save a copy for yourself and give a copy to your employer. 

There are three common shoulder injuries; rotator cuff, tendonitis and dislocation.  This article will deal with rotator cuff tears.


Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff is made of muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder in place.  A rotator cuff injury, such as a tear, may happen suddenly such as when falling onto an outstretched arm or develop over time with repetitive activities.  The later is referred to as a Gillette injury in Minnesota.  Both of these claims are compensable Minnesota workers compensation injuries.

There are many common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear though injured workers may experience symptoms differently.  The most customary symptoms often include:
  • recurring pain especially with common activities
  • difficulty sleeping on the injured side due to pain
  • grating or cracking sounds with movement of the arm
  • difficulty moving your arm
  • noticeable arm weakness
If you have sustained a work related rotator cuff tear or injury contact Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability immediately.  We can advise you of your rights for FREE.  You have the right to wage replacement, you can choose your own doctor, you are entitled to wage loss benefits, and more.  For your free consultation call 651-333-3636 today.  We represent clients across the entire state of Minnesota and those outside of our state who suffered injuries while working for Minnesota employers.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Should You Choose A Minnesota Workers Compensation Attorney Based On A Website?


NO.  Let me emphasize this; absolutely NOT.  Websites are useful to obtain answers to some of your questions and to get a sense of the law firm but you really need to look for answers to the following questions and if you don't find them, BEWARE.

Questions & Answers

1.  Does the lawyer or law firm specialize in Minnesota workers compensation?  

Minnesota does not recognize a "specialty" in workers compensation but out of the few hundred lawyers that attempt to handle workers compensation, only a few limit their practice to work comp.  These people are known affectionately as "comp heads".  If you had a DUI would you trust a lawyer who handles a couple of DUI cases a year, in addition to drafting wills, handling personal injury cases and doing the occasional divorce?  Then why would you want a lawyer whose website promises to handle you with any legal issue you may have or is a general "personal injury" attorney.

2.  How many years has the lawyer been practicing law?

Experience matters.  There is a prominent  law firm that advertises on radio, television and the internet with approximately 4 lawyers.  The firms "work comp lawyers" have a total combined legal experience of just over 10 years total.  That's an average of 2.5 years each.  They are very nice people, but if you've just sustained a work injury...would they really be the ones' to call?  Who is supervising these lawyers?  I don't think a workers compensation judge in our state would even recognize the lawyer whose last name graces the firm's letterhead if he walked into a workers compensation court.  Another lawyer on the internet advertises himself as "The authority for workers compensation in Minnesota for more than 30 years".  Really? Up until last year I had never heard of him and I know EVERY single workers compensation lawyer across then entire state of Minnesota...and they know me.  Ask the lawyer; "How many years have you been licensed to practice law?" Next ask, "How many years have you been practicing exclusively workers compensation?"  I have over 21 years experience practicing exclusively Minnesota workers compensation.  If your lawyer doesn't have significant workers compensation experience RUN and find a lawyer who does.  Experience matters.

3.  Does the lawyer have experience as a defense attorney, insurance adjuster or even as an injured worker?

There are a few excellent lawyers who have only represented injured workers during their career.  I would argue that in some cases, a lawyer with experience as a former defense attorney, workers compensation adjuster or one who has even sustained a contested workers compensation injury brings an entirely different perspective and skills to a case.  Having been a defense attorney for nearly 15 years before opening my firm and limiting my practice to injured workers, I'm able to share secrets I have learned from the insurance companies.  Why they deny claims, how the evaluate settlement, what are the weaknesses of their medical experts.  Having sustained a work related back injury requiring surgery, I also understand first hand the fear and anxiety associated with work injuries.  Experience matters.

4.  Does the lawyer have a true team to support them? 

Is your lawyer supported by his wife who answers his calls, sorts the mail and types the letters?  Does the lawyer have employees with any relevant personal workers compensation experience?  Does the lawyer even have a "team".  Atkinson Law Office has investigators and paralegals with real relevant experience.  One of our members is a former workers compensation adjuster with a specialty in construction related injuries.  Another member has undergone 2 low back surgeries after falling off a ladder at her prior employer.  Both attorneys Kerry Atkinson and Tom Atkinson are FORMER insurance company lawyers who know the secrets that insurance companies don't want you to know.  Because we are often in court or depositions, our staff works as a team to assist you with answers to your questions.  You are free to contact ANY of our staff to assist you should another member be unavailable at the time of your call.  Our combined experiences have combined to create one of the most formidable workers compensation law firms in Minnesota.  Experience matters.

5.  Has the lawyer ever been disciplined? 

 Lawyers can make mistakes, but when they make serious mistakes they can be disciplined by the Minnesota Supreme Court.  This link will assist you searching your lawyers background.




Saturday, January 25, 2014

Have You Sustained A Work Related Knee Injury? Then Hire One Of Minnesota's Superlawyers!


I have handled hundreds of cases involving work related knee injuries ranging from a sprain to a total knee replacement.  Knee injuries can result from cumulative trauma over time or following a specific injury.   An employee need only prove ONE of the following three; your work caused, aggravate OR accelerated your knee injury.

When you sustain a knee injury, you damage one of the four major ligaments found in your knee.  The most common injury I see is torn cartilage, also known as your meniscus.  More serious injuries involve medial collateral ligament (MCL), the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and less often the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
  • ACL injury
    Usually occurs while changing direction rapidly.
  • MCL injury
    Injuries to the MCL are usually caused by a direct blow to the outside of the knee.
  • PCL injury
    The PCL is often injured when a worker receives a blow to the front of the knee or makes a simple misstep.
  • Torn cartilage
    When people talk about torn knee cartilage, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus. The meniscus is a tough, rubbery cartilage that is attached to the knee's ligaments. The meniscus usually tears due to sudden twisting, jumping, or trauma to the knee.  Physical contact is often involved. 
If you sustain a work related knee injury, the attorneys at Atkinson Law Office are waiting to assist you.  Our firm limits their practice to handling Minnesota workers compensation injuries and have over 20 years doing the same.  Let our former insurance company attorneys show you the secrets we have learned.  Call today at 651-333-3636.  We represent clients all over Minnesota.  Your consultation is free and there is never a fee until we recover benefits for you.  www.mndisability.com

Friday, January 3, 2014

I Had A Minnesota Work Related Back and Neck Injury, What Do I Tell My Doctor?

This article is prompted by a phone call I received this afternoon from an existing client with a hand injury who now sustained a more serious back injury a year later.  She was concerned about filing "another work injury" and is hoping her back gets better and she doesn't want to report it to work despite missing a week of work.

She is well intentioned but is making an enormous mistake that I have seen countless times.  If you have a work injury that results in lost time from work or you need to seek medical care then you MUST report it.  It's the law.  Your employer must complete a First Report of Injury because that's the law.  Why is this the law?  To protect YOU the injured worker when the employer later tries to deny the injury or minimize it.  It's true that most back injuries resolve shortly after the incident on there own with simple rest, ice, and core strengthening.  But there are times when it doesn't and this action or inaction will greatly hurt your chances for fair treatment by the employer, insurance company and adverse doctors.

When you first see your health care provider, you will be asked questions about your back pain, including how severe it is, how it happened and where it happened.  Tell the doctor clearly and repeatedly where it happened and how it happened. 

Your doctor or chiropractor will try to determine the cause of your back pain and how to best treat it.  The pain will likely get better with simple measures such as ice, medication, physical therapy, and  exercises.  However, some symptoms such as radicular pain down your arms or legs can be immediate signs of a far more serious injury.  Your doctor may order an X-ray, CT Scan, MRI or an EMG to rule out a more serious injury.  This is an excellent time to call a lawyer for a free consultation. 

Please, if you have sustained a neck or back injury at work, tell your supervisor and then see a doctor.  Don't assume your doctor knows you had a work injury.  Tell them directly, don't assume the nurse or intake assistant clearly advised them of the nature of your injury.  Be your own advocate.

If you have sustained a Minnesota work related injury contact attorney Tom Atkinson or Kerry Atkinson today.  Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability have a staff dedicated to assisting Minnesota work injuries.  Kerry and Tom have been working with Minnesota work injuries for over 20 years.  Both Tom and Kerry formerly represented employers and insurers but now only represent employees!  We are waiting to share the secrets they have learned to assist you to win your case.  There is never a fee collected to meet with them nor a fee paid unless there is a recovery.  Your initial consultation is always free as well.  Call today 651-333-3636 and visit our website www.mndisability.com 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

You Are Employed By A Minnesota Employer And You Were Hurt At Work. What Should You Do?

We get this question almost every week.  One of the many concerns employee's have is that they will be considered a "traitor" or no longer a "team player".  Some employees even worry that they could be terminated for reporting a work injury.

If you have suffered a work injury DO NOT give in to the pressure.  You may think the injury will pass so as directed by the supervisor you tell the ER or doctor that the injury happened at home and in exchange the employer promises to cover all your medical bills.  Well that is illegal AND as soon as the condition becomes worse the employer no had documented proof that the injury did not happen at work and you and your doctor are the witnesses.  Please don't lie for your employer.  I have seen so many employees burned by this trick. 

Report the injury to your supervisor, human resources and/or the safety director.  I prefer emails as they create evidence of the notice of injury.   If you need to seek emergency medical attention do that first, but then contact your employer as soon as possible. It's important that you document the nature and extent of your injuries and how the injury occurred.  If there was no "specific injury" be sure to describe you work activity in the days, hours and moments before you notice the symptoms.  If your employer will not complete a First Report of Injury (FROI) form, the attorneys and paralegals at Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability are happy to assist you for FREE.  We can provide you with the proper form, assist you in completing it and then file it with with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.  Feel free to contact us at 651-333-3636 and visit us at our website www.mndisability.com   There is never a fee to meet with us and we only collect a fee if benefits are recovered for you.