What Are Common Warehouse Accidents That Can Cause Injury in Minnesota?

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

When you first see the inner workings of a large warehouse, it can sometimes seem pretty crazy. There are so many things going on at once that it looks like an active beehive. There are so many moving parts, such as conveyor belts transferring products, forklifts of all shapes and sizes carrying huge stacks of boxes, trucks unloading and loading, and people walking everywhere. With so much going on, a warehouse can be a dangerous place. With hundreds of warehouses in Minnesota employing tens of thousands of workers, there are many work-related warehouse injuries every year. These injuries can be quite significant, causing workers lost time from work, permanent disability, or even death. If you have suffered a serious warehouse injury, you need skilled and knowledgeable Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyers fighting for your rights and the benefits you deserve. Truck Loading Dock Accidents Loading dock accidents in warehouses are quite common. The loading dock is usually the only place in the warehouse that is open to the weather and elements. This can be a recipe for disaster, especially during inclement weather.  Slips and falls on wet, frozen, and slick dock areas are a common warehouse accident. These falls can cause knee injuries, broken arms, back injuries, and shoulder rotator cuff tears. Another area of concern with loading docks is when workers are run over by tractor-trailers or backed over when the semi-truck drivers are backing into the bay areas. It’s a very loud working environment and difficult for a dock worker to hear the truck approaching, especially when the 18-wheeler’s engine is 70 feet away. Falling Product In many warehouses, products are shelved high in the air, sometimes as high as a three-story building. In a large distribution warehouse, for example, there could be several hundred thousand products stored in and shipped from the building every day. With all these stacked boxes, there is always the risk of falling product. One of the major causes of traumatic brain warehouse injuries is when improperly stacked boxes and products fall onto unsuspecting warehouse workers. Forklift Accidents Despite the Minnesota state and federal requirement for robust training of forklift drivers, forklift accidents are a common occurrence in the warehouse industry. Most warehouses use different types of forklifts that are different sizes and can perform different tasks. Some forklifts can weigh the same as a large passenger truck. That is why a forklift hits or runs over a warehouse worker, it could cause serious injuries. Lack of Safety Barriers One way to keep people from walking into areas that are unsafe is to physically prevent them. Sometimes rules and warning signs are not enough to keep people from going into dangerous areas of the warehouse. Warehouse workers are busy and may not pay attention to a warning sign. More physical barriers mean less warehouse injuries. If there is a ledge or the end of a loading dock or an intersection where there is a lot of forklift traffic, those areas should be blocked off from easy access. Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals Chemical exposure is one type of warehouse injury that can cause significant injuries to a workers’ lungs. Depending on what type of products are being stored in the warehouse, extra precaution and care should be used in the handling and storage of chemicals and substances. Lack of Proper Training As with any type of job, better-trained employees are usually the safest. This notion is very important in preventing warehouse accidents. In some cases, warehouse employers rush through employee training, especially with safety protocols, just to get the worker on the warehouse floor and perform work as quickly as possible. Lax training will eventually increase warehouse accidents and injuries. For example, merely teaching someone how to properly lift heavy boxes can prevent a significant number of back injuries. Common Warehouse Injuries These are the most common warehouse injuries we see in our Minnesota workers’ compensation practice: Crush injuries in the feet and legs due to being run over by forklifts; Lower back injuries like pulled muscles and herniated discs from improper lifting techniques; Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), such as concussions, closed head injuries, and fractured skulls from falling objects; Amputations, shoulder dislocations, and torn rotator cuff injuries due to dangerous and unguarded machines like conveyor systems and sorting machines; Extremity injuries from slips and falls; COPD and other lung injuries from chemical exposure; and Hearing loss due to excessive warehouse noise. Many of these injuries are easily preventable with simple safety protocols and proper employee training. The Minnesota Warehouse Injury Lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka Are Here to Help with Your St. Paul Workers’ Compensation Claim If you have suffered from a Minnesota warehouse injury, you are entitled to have your medical bills and lost wages paid. Warehouse accidents can cause very serious injuries and lead to disabilities that may persist for many years or even be permanent. You need an experienced St. Paul Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer on your side fighting for your rights. Our lawyers have successfully handled hundreds of Minnesota workers’ compensation cases. Contact us online or call Arechigo & Stokka at 651-505-5943 for a free consultation to learn more about the services we provide to injured warehouse workers in Minnesota.

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Neck and Back Pain from Working at Home: Can I File for Workers’ Comp?

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Minnesota workers often suffer from neck and back pain caused by work activities. But most of the time, these injuries occur while actually on the employer’s premises. In the past, it was rare to see at-home workers filing a Minnesota workers’ compensation claim. It certainly happened, but not very often. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and so many employees working at home nowadays, there has been a significant increase in the number of at-home work injuries.  Many employees want to know if they can pursue a workers’ comp claim when sitting all day at work causes back and neck pain. The answer is, yes. But these cases are difficult to win. The causation evidence has to be rock solid. If you are suffering from neck and back pain from working at home, you need strong representation. You need a law firm that has decades of experience in representing injured Minnesota workers.  Are You an Employee or Independent Contractor? One of the first questions that you have to answer is, What is your employment status? If you are a regular employee, your employer’s workers’ comp insurance covers work-related injuries. But if you are an independent contractor, you are not covered for any work-related injuries. It does not matter how serious your injury is. If you are an independent contractor, you can’t get workers’ comp benefits from the company you are performing work for. You would have to get your medical bills paid some other way. Even if your employer claims you are an independent contractor, it is a good idea to speak to a workers’ compensation attorney about your injury. Employers sometimes misclassify employees as independent contractors. An attorney can help you determine whether you might still have a workers’ compensation claim. What Is a Minnesota Work Injury? Almost all Minnesota employees who suffer an injury while working are entitled to workers’ comp benefits. This means that if you are on the clock and suffer injury, you probably have a valid workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp does not consider a fault. You could have caused the accident yourself by being careless. If so, it’s still covered. The only time it wouldn’t be covered is if you were horsing around or off the clock. It also doesn’t matter whether you work at your employer’s premises or at home. As long as you demonstrate that you are on the clock and work activities caused your injuries, you’ll be covered by workers’ comp insurance. Obviously, though, at-home work injuries are more complicated because usually there are no witnesses to whatever event caused the injury. How Can You Prove an at-Home Work Injury Causing Neck and Back Pain? There are many ways to demonstrate that the neck and back pain you are experiencing is because of work activities at home. It could be an obvious work injury, such as taking a break from work to get a cup of coffee and falling down the stairs. Minnesota courts deemed this factual scenario to be a work-related injury and covered by workers’ comp. At-home work injuries can also develop over time due to repetitive stress on your body. For example, if you are sitting all day at work, back and neck pain could develop as a result. One of the issues that the pandemic has created is workers having to work from home for the first time in large numbers. Your at-home work environment might not be as ergonomically safe as it was at your place of employment. Medical experts state that the human body is not designed to sit still, slumped over a computer screen for eight to ten hours a day. Workers can develop neck and back pain if they aren’t used to sitting a certain way for long periods of time. The difficult part of these cases is establishing through expert medical testimony that the at-home work environment is what caused the neck and back pain. The claimant’s treating medical doctor has to issue an opinion that there was no other potential cause of the injury and that it was caused by work activities or the work environment. Once you meet this burden, you have a fighting chance to win your workers’ compensation claim. But you can’t do it alone. You will want to turn to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer like those at Arechigo & Stokka, who have focused their practice on workers’ comp cases for over a decade. The Minnesota Workers’ Comp Lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka Can Fight for Your St. Paul Workers’ Compensation Benefits This past year-and-a-half has been pretty strange for many Minnesota workers. So many employees had to work from home and still do. If you believe you have suffered from an at-home work injury, you need to have skilled and knowledgeable lawyers fighting for your rights to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits include both the payment of medical bills and lost wages. We have decades of Minnesota workers’ compensation experience in successfully representing hundreds of claimants. Contact us online or call Arechigo & Stokka at 651-505-5943 to learn more about the services we provide to injured workers in Minnesota.

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What Are the Minnesota DWI Laws?

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Car accidents involving the use of alcohol and drugs claim the lives of thousands every year. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 72 individuals died in Minnesota car accidents involving drunk drivers in 2017. In addition, 2,389 people suffered injuries in alcohol-related car accidents. In an attempt to lower these numbers, Minnesota imposes serious penalties on drivers convicted of driving while impaired. If you’re accused of driving over the legal limit in MN, it is crucial that you hire a Minnesota DWI attorney to defend you against the charges. Otherwise, you could face very harsh penalties. Contact our office today to start with your free consultation. What Is Driving While Impaired? Minnesota Statutes Section 169A.20 prohibits motorists from driving, operating, or being in physical control of any motor vehicle while: Under the influence of alcohol; Under the influence of a controlled substance; Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more; Under the influence of an intoxicating substance that the person knows or has reason to know can cause impairment; Under the influence of any combination of two or more intoxicating substances; or Having BAC of 0.04 or more, if the vehicle is a commercial vehicle. While some states refer to these prohibitions as DUI laws, in MN they’re referred to as DWI laws. Additionally, Minnesota motorists commit an additional crime if they refuse to submit to a chemical test of their breath without a warrant, or a blood or urine test if police secured a search warrant. Consequences of DWI Convictions in Minnesota The criminal and administrative penalties for a DWI conviction in Minnesota depend on a number of factors, including: Your prior alcohol-related convictions; Your BAC level at the time of your arrest; and Whether any aggravating factors apply. Though prior DWI convictions enhance the penalties, only DWI convictions from the last 10 years are eligible. The potential penalties available in DUI convictions are described in more detail below. First Offense DWI First-time DWI offenders receive a misdemeanor conviction under Minnesota law. The misdemeanor carries the potential of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. Additionally, the state suspends your driver’s license for a period of 90 days. If you plead guilty to DWI, the state reduces the suspension to 30 days. Certain factors can enhance even a first-time DWI conviction. These factors include: BAC at or above 0.16; Having a child in the car; or Both. If you commit these violations, you receive a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors carry the potential of up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. If your BAC was at or above 0.16, the state will suspend your license for one year without an option to shorten the period. Additionally, the state will impound your plates. Second Offense DWI Second-time DWI offenders receive a gross misdemeanor charge. Gross misdemeanors carry the potential of up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Second-time DWI offenses carry a mandatory 30-day jail sentence. A second DWI conviction automatically results in either losing your license for an entire year or getting an ignition interlock restricted driver’s license. The state will also impound your plates. If your BAC was at or above 0.16, or you had a child in the car, the conviction still amounts to a gross misdemeanor. However, the license suspension/ignition interlock restricted license period extends to two years instead of just one. Additionally, the court will impound your plates and attempt to forfeit your vehicle. Third Offense DWI A third DWI qualifies as a gross misdemeanor as well, but convictions result in a 90-day mandatory jail sentence and harsher administrative penalties. After a third DWI, the state will cancel your driver’s license entirely. You can obtain an ignition interlock restricted driver’s license for one year once you enroll in drug/alcohol treatment. Upon completion of treatment, you can reinstate your normal driver’s license after two years. The state will also impound your license plates and forfeit your vehicle at the time of your conviction. Fourth Offense DWI A fourth DWI in a ten-year period qualifies as a felony. A felony DWI carries a mandatory 180 day sin jail and the potential of up to seven years in prison in addition to a fine of up to $14,000. Additionally, the state will cancel your driver’s license entirely. You can obtain an ignition interlock restricted driver’s license for one year once you enroll in drug/alcohol treatment. Upon completion of treatment, you can reinstate your normal driver’s license after two years. The state will also impound your license plates and forfeit your vehicle at the time of your conviction. Accused of Driving Over the Legal Limit in MN? Contact a DUI Attorney Today DWI convictions can result in serious criminal penalties. However, they can impact your life in other ways too. In fact, it can limit your job opportunities and increase the price of your car insurance premium. In some cases, issues exist that hurt the prosecutor’s chance of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. When this occurs, it’s vital that you have a DWI defense attorney on your side to advocate for having your charges lessened or dismissed entirely. Additionally, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can walk you through the process of your criminal case and answer any questions you have along the way.  The Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka has experience representing criminal defendants facing a wide variety of criminal charges. In fact, Attorney John T. Arechigo dedicates his entire practice to representing individuals charged with criminal violations. Contact us today so we can get started reviewing your case.

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Are My Workers’ Comp Benefits Taxable?

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Suffering an injury or illness at work can mean time off work, lost wages, or even a permanent disability leaving you unable to ever return to your job. Fortunately, if you experience an injury at work, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits to help ease some of the financial burdens. However, if you’re receiving workers’ comp monetary benefits, you may find yourself asking: Are workers’ compensation benefits taxable? It is important to fully understand your workers’ comp benefits and what they mean for you. For these and any other workers’ compensation benefits questions, look to Arechigo & Stokka for answers. What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance? Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees injured while on the job. Generally, if an employer has a certain number of employees, they must carry workers’ comp insurance to protect their workers. If you suffer an injury or illness at work that forces you to take time off of work or make you permanently disabled, workers’ comp insurance can pay you benefits to compensate you for your losses. If you are unsure of whether you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, or have suffered an injury at work and would like to file a claim, do not hesitate to consult with a qualified Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney. What Kind of Workers’ Comp Benefits Are Available? Depending on your particular situation, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries at work. The different types of benefits and coverage include: Temporary total disability benefits; Temporary partial disability benefits; Permanent partial disability benefits;  Permanent total disability benefits; Medical treatment for the work-related illness or injury; and Vocational rehabilitation services. Additionally, if an employee dies from a work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation insurance can provide the employee’s loved ones death benefits and burial expenses. If you’ve suffered an injury at work and would like to better understand the benefits you may be able to receive, contact a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your options. So . . . Are Workers’ Comp Benefits Taxable? In most cases, the short answer is no, your workers’ compensation benefits will not be taxed under federal or state law.  While workers’ comp benefits are not taxable, you may notice a change in compensation if you are also receiving Social Security benefits. In these situations, you may notice you’re receiving less from your Social Security payments to offset the workers’ compensation benefits you will also be receiving. How Do Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Benefits Work? If you are already collecting Social Security benefits and you begin to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may experience a reduction in your Social Security benefits payments, but not always. This reduction in Social Security payments will occur only if your combined earnings from Social Security and workers’ compensation are more than 80% of your total typical earnings. So, for example, if your average income prior to receiving workers’ compensation was $3,000 a month, your Social Security and workers’ compensation benefits could not combine to equal more than $2,400 a month. The main reason for the Social Security reduction is because, unlike workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security benefits are taxable. Most people experience confusion when discussing taxes and taxable income. If you experience any doubts or uncertainties while in the process of completing your workers’ comp claim or receiving benefits, a Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney is your best resource for answers. A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Be Your Best Ally Workers’ compensation and the claims process can present many challenges. You may experience many bumps along the way and feel unsure of how to proceed. Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help ensure you are receiving the maximum amount of benefits. Your lawyer will review the details of your case, assist you with your claim, and do everything needed to help you get the benefits you need and deserve.  Consult with a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today Arechigo & Stokka has well over a decade of experience helping clients who were injured at work get the workers’ comp benefits they need. We are committed to our clients and understand that every client that walks through our doors has their own story to tell. Our firm is determined to tailor every client’s experience to suit their individual circumstances and provide them with the highest-quality legal representation. If you’ve suffered an injury at work and wish to file a workers’ compensation claim, be sure to contact our firm.

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Minnesota Criminal Process: An Overview

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Seek Advice from an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer to Help You Get Through This Complicated Process The Minnesota criminal justice system can be complicated. It can also be intimidating. You may hear words you are unfamiliar with that leave you wondering things like, What is an omnibus hearing in Minnesota? Learning more about the process can help take some of the stress off of you.  An experienced Minnesota criminal defense lawyer like John Arechigo from Arechigo & Stokka will help you get through the system. No defense attorney can promise a particular result in any case. However, you can rely on John’s extensive knowledge and experience to put you in a position to get the best results possible.  What Happens After an Arrest in Minnesota? There are two ways you get called into court in Minnesota for a crime. The first is an arrest. Whether the police arrest you with or without a warrant, they will bring you to jail for booking and fingerprinting. The law mandates that you must appear before a judge within 36 hours of your arrest. If your charge is a misdemeanor and you don’t go before the judge within 36 hours, you might get off with just a citation, or you could be released and charged at a later date. Otherwise, you go to court for your first appearance to address your release from custody. The other way the law gets people into court is through a summons. The court can issue you a summons and complaint. The summons specifies the date and time you have to go to court. If you don’t go when instructed, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest based on your failure to appear.  What Is the First Appearance? The first appearance is an important step in the Minnesota criminal justice system. At this initial hearing, the judge will inform you of your rights. These rights are found in Rule 5 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure and include: The right to remain silent and not talk to police; A warning that anything you say can and will be used against you in later court proceedings; The right to a lawyer, including the right for a lawyer to appear if police put you in a lineup; The right to talk with your lawyer about your case; and The right to a trial by jury, or the right to waive a jury and have a judge decide your case. Also, the judge must ensure that you have a copy of your complaint and inform you of all of the charges pending against you. The judge also addresses your jail status at the first appearance. The judge will set an amount of bail that enables you to be released pending the resolution of your case. To be released, you will have to get someone to post the bond amount either alone or through the use of a bail bondsman. In some cases, the judge may release you on your own recognizance, which means that you don’t have to post any money to get out of jail. Whether you are let out with or without bail, the judge typically sets conditions of release that ensure you will come back to court to answer for your charges. Conditions will depend on the specifics of the charged case and can include not having contact with certain people, or not using alcohol or controlled substances. What Is an Omnibus Hearing? Rule 11 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure says exactly what an omnibus hearing is in MN. An omnibus hearing is also called a pretrial hearing or pretrial conference. In short, at an omnibus hearing, the court addresses several issues depending on the charges before the court.  At an omnibus hearing, the judge considers all motions filed by either party related to: Probable cause; Evidentiary questions; Exchange of discovery; Admissibility of prior bad acts of the accused; Admissibility of prior sexual conduct, if applicable; Issues of Constitutional rights; Admissibility of relationship evidence, if applicable; Procedural problems;  Aggravated sentencing considerations; and Any other issue that the court must resolve to ensure a fair trial. The defendant can waive the omnibus hearing. However, it is advisable to hold the hearing so that you can better understand the prosecutor’s position on your case. You can also get a preview of the evidence.  When Does the Court Hold an Omnibus Hearing? The court holds an omnibus hearing in felony and gross misdemeanor cases if the defendant did not enter a guilty plea at the first appearance. The court will start the omnibus hearing within 42 days of your first appearance. However, the court could start it within 28 days if you had a second appearance before the court, or if you otherwise demanded a speedy omnibus hearing. The court must hold the omnibus hearing in the district where the police allege the crime occurred.  The Probable Cause Determination One of the most important functions of a judge at the omnibus hearing is to decide if probable cause exists to go forward with the case. The prosecutor can call witnesses to testify. The defense has a right to call witnesses and cross-examine them as well. The judge can also take reliable hearsay evidence as part of the probable cause determination.  Keep in mind that probable cause is a low standard of proof. According to Rule 11, the judge has to decide if there is enough evidence to provide probable cause that the defendant committed a crime. The judge should look at the fairness of sending a person to trial based on the evidence the prosecutor has.  The judge can dismiss a criminal complaint for lack of probable cause. However, the judge has no authority to dismiss an indictment for lack of probable cause under Rule 11. Other Issues Decided at the Omnibus Hearing The omnibus hearing is a tool for streamlining the case. The purpose of this hearing is to resolve motions and case issues early, in...

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What Are the Degrees of Assault in Minnesota?

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Experienced Minnesota Defense Lawyers Explain the Types of Assault in Minnesota The crime of assault covers a large category of offenses. They are all serious crimes. You could go to jail and have to pay large fines no matter what degree of assault in Minnesota you face. Also, convictions for all types of assault have other consequences that can impact your daily life. Facing assault charges in Minnesota can be frightening. What should you do if you get charged for any degree of assault in MN? You need help from an experienced Minnesota defense lawyer. Criminal defense lawyer John Arechigo of Arechigo & Stokka has a well-earned reputation as a tenacious attorney. He will fight aggressively to protect your rights and get you the best possible outcome for your case. Degrees of Assault in Minnesota Before we discuss the degrees of assault in Minnesota, we should define the term assault. Minnesota statutes define assault as either: Any act committed with the intent to cause another person fear of immediate bodily harm or death; or Any intentional act that inflicts or attempts to inflict various degrees of bodily harm on someone else. In Minnesota, assault combines the concept of battery as well.  Assault in the First Degree Whoever assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm can be charged with First Degree Assault. “Great bodily harm” means bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily harm. A person convicted of First Degree Assault may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 20 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $30,000, or both. Using or attempting to use deadly force against a peace officer, prosecutor, judge, or correctional employee while they are in the line of duty also constitutes assault in the first degree. This is the most serious assault offense on the books. The penalty is a minimum mandatory 10-year prison sentence. The maximum prison sentence is 20 years. The law does not allow you to get out of prison until you serve your entire sentence, so once you’re sentenced, there is no parole or early release. The judge can also impose a fine of up to $30,000. The prosecutor has to prove you used deadly force to convict you of assault in the first degree. What does deadly force mean? Under Minnesota state law, force becomes deadly when the person intends to cause—or knows that the act creates a substantial risk of—death or great bodily harm.  Assault in the Second Degree Assault in the second degree is assault with a dangerous weapon. The penalty you face depends on the severity of the victim’s injuries. Assault with a dangerous weapon carries a prison term of up to seven years. There is a maximum $14,000 fine as well.  The maximum penalty becomes 10 years, and the fine increases to a maximum of $20,000 if the attacker inflicted substantial bodily harm to the victim with a dangerous weapon. In this case, substantial bodily harm means the fracture of a body part, temporary or substantial loss or impairment to a bodily function or organ, or an injury resulting in temporary but substantial disfigurement.  What makes a weapon dangerous? Moreover, any device designed to cause death or great bodily harm can be a dangerous weapon. A firearm, even unloaded, is a dangerous weapon. And ordinary items like a kitchen knife can become a dangerous weapon if someone uses it in a way that could kill or cause great bodily harm.  Assault in the Third Degree An assault that leads to substantial bodily harm is assault in the third degree. The penalty for assault in the third degree is no more than five years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Assault in the third degree also applies to assaulting a minor. To prove the case, the prosecutor has to prove a pattern of child abuse, but there is no requirement of substantial bodily injury.     Assault in the third degree also applies when someone assaults a victim under four years of age and causes bodily injury to the child’s head, eyes, or neck, or inflicts multiple bruises.  Assault in the Fourth Degree Assault in the fourth degree can be charged as a gross misdemeanor or a felony. A gross misdemeanor is a kind of middle ground that is more serious than a regular misdemeanor, but not as serious as a felony. Assault in the fourth degree is a gross misdemeanor when a person assaults another in the performance of their duties as a public servant. Examples of public servants protected by this law are: Peace officers; Department of Natural Resource employees; School officials; Public employees with certain duties; Community crime prevention members; Vulnerable adults; Reserve officers;  Utility and postal workers; and Transit operators.  The maximum penalty is one year in prison and a fine of $3,000. However, assault in the fourth degree becomes a felony in some circumstances. For instance, inflicting demonstrable bodily harm or transferring or throwing bodily fluids on another person in the line of duty is a felony. Felony assault in the fourth degree carries up to three years in prison, and a fine of up to $6,000.  Assault in the Fifth Degree Assault in the fifth degree is also known as simple assault. Simple assault is a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to 90 days. Simple assault becomes a gross misdemeanor if the accused has a prior conviction within the last 10 years for a domestic assault on the same victim. Committing a second domestic assault within three years is also a gross misdemeanor.   Committing three domestic assaults within ten years on the same victim or in three years on any victim is a felony.  The punishment for felony assault in the fifth degree is five years in prison and a fine of up...

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2nd Degree Drug Crimes – Penalties and Remedies

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If you’ve been charged or are facing criminal charges for a 2nd-degree drug crime, we at Arechigo & Stokka know that you have questions. Many people going through the criminal justice system are doing so for the very first time. You are understandably scared. When you reach out to the experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, we will carefully explain your options to you and develop a defense strategy to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. This page is the starting point to understanding your options for avoiding 2nd-degree felony punishment. What Are the 2nd Degree Drug Crimes in Minnesota? Second-degree drug crimes are serious felony offenses, with punishment ranging from supervisory probation to years of jail time. Minnesota law classifies drug crimes in the 2nd degree by sale or possession. The following are Minnesota’s drug crimes in the 2nd degree. The sale of a controlled substance is a 2nd-degree drug crime when it involves: 10 or more grams of a narcotic drug other than heroin, Three or more grams of heroin, 10 or more kilograms of marijuana, Three or more grams of cocaine or methamphetamine plus possession of a firearm, Three or more grams of cocaine or methamphetamine plus three aggravating factors (aggravating factors may include things like gang involvement or selling to a minor), 10 or more grams or 50 or more dosage units of amphetamines, PCP or hallucinogens, Sale of cocaine or narcotics to a minor or employing a minor to sell those substances, or Sale of narcotics, LSD, MDA, methamphetamine, amphetamines, or five or more kilograms of marijuana in a park zone, school zone, public housing zone, or drug treatment facility. Additionally, possession of a controlled substance is a 2nd-degree felony when it involves:  50 or more grams of a narcotic drug other than heroin, Six or more grams heroin, 25 or more kilograms or 100 plants of marijuana, 25 or more grams cocaine or methamphetamine, 10 or more grams cocaine or methamphetamine plus possession of a firearm, 10 or more grams cocaine or meth plus three aggravating factors, or 50 or more grams or 100 or more dosage units of amphetamines, PCP, or hallucinogens. If you’ve been charged with any one of these crimes, prepare for your case by calling Arechigo & Stokka today to discuss your options. What Is the 2nd Degree Felony Punishment? Second-degree felony punishment in Minnesota follows the presumptive sentencing guidelines written by The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission. Following the 2016 Drug Sentencing Reform Act, the Commission adopted the Drug Offender Grid that sets presumptive punishments for drug crimes. The Drug Offender Grid ensures fairness and consistency so that bias doesn’t adversely affect basic principles of justice. The judge in your case will use a two-part test to determine your punishment, following the grid’s ranking of the severity of the crime and the offender’s Criminal History Score. The Guidelines rank second-degree drug crimes as a D7, the third-highest severity of drug offenses.  If this is your first felony offense, your previous offense was over 15 years ago, or you otherwise have a criminal history score of 0 or 1, a judge will likely grant you a stayed sentence. A stayed sentence usually means supervisory probation and may require rehabilitation activities, like using local drug programs and resources. If you have a higher criminal history score because of prior felonies, custody status at the time of the offense, prior misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors, or prior juvenile adjudications, you may face time in prison. The average prison sentence given for all drug crimes in 2019 was 42 months or three-and-one-half years. Judges have the discretion to consider aggravating or mitigating factors and increase or decrease your punishment accordingly, up to the statutory limits. The maximum punishment for a 2nd-degree drug crime is imprisonment up to 25 years or a fine of up to $500,000. Will the Presumptive Punishment on the Drug Offender Grid Be My Punishment? From 2001 through 2005, 39% of drug offenders with presumed prison sentences on the Drug Offender Grid were sentenced with probation. Under the Guidelines, the conviction offense is the primary factor, and criminal history is a secondary factor in sentencing decisions. You may be eligible for a waiver of custody points or a challenge to the severity ranking of certain prior crimes (usually out-of-state crimes for which there is no Minnesota law). Our goal at Arechigo & Stokka is to minimize the consequences of your situation. Because the sentencing guidelines are highly complex and take various factors into account when determining penalties, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is the best way to get the justice you deserve. The defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka have the experience to help you identify and understand the options for your unique situation. Arechigo & Stokka Knows Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines When you’re facing 2nd-degree felony punishment, hire a firm with decades of experience and hundreds of cases under their belts. Arechigo & Stokka has successfully helped a number of clients facing serious drug charges avoid severe penalties. Minnesota Lawyer recognized John Arechigo as the 2019 Attorney of the Year, and John has experience dealing with 2nd-degree drug charges. Contact us for a no-cost consultation today at our offices in St. Paul, MN, or Fargo, ND. We strive to be accessible and will work with you to get the best outcome for your individual case. 

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Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for Carpal Tunnel?

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Many people think about acute traumatic injuries when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. While most claims involve injuries that can be attributed to a single event, a decent percentage involve repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Understandably, injured workers want to know, Can carpal tunnel be filed under workers’ compensation benefits? You could have a valid workers’ compensation claim for benefits if you can show a link between your carpal tunnel and your work duties. Have you received a carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis and need assistance with a workers’ compensation claim? If so, contact an experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits lawyer at Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka. What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Carpal tunnel syndrome involves compression or damage to your median nerve, which is in your hand and forearm. There are several different reasons people develop carpal tunnel, including repetitive motions, such as typing, or daily overexertion. In other cases, it can result from acute trauma. It’s crucial to take extra care at work to protect yourself from repetitive stress injuries. Consider proper posture control, ergonomic workstations, regular breaks, etc. Without these precautions, you could be putting yourself at greater risk for repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019 data shows 17,160 cases of reported work-related injuries involving repetitive motions out of 888,220 total cases. The breakdown is: 4,420 injuries from repetitive motions involving unspecified microtasks; 2,170 injuries from typing, key entry, texting, or using a mouse; 3,670 injuries caused by the repetitive use of tools and instruments; 5,200 injuries caused by the repetitive grasping, placing, or moving objects other than tools; 620 injuries from the repetitive use of hands and not involving tools; 500 injuries from multiple types of repetitive motions; and 590 injuries caused by repetitive motions involving other microtasks. It’s essential to understand the potential signs of carpal tunnel development. Symptoms of carpal tunnel include: A burning sensation in your hand, palm, or fingers; Numbness or tingling in your fingers or hand; Weakness in your finger grip; Pain when you are typing or writing for an extended period of time; and Feeling of swollenness or actual swollen fingers. If you are having any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical treatment right away. What Compensation Is Available from Workers’ Compensation Benefits? Carpal tunnel injuries can be painful and interfere with multiple aspects of your life. You may be missing time from work, but you also may struggle with daily activities at home because of carpal tunnel syndrome. The benefits you receive through work can help reimburse you for a portion of your lost wages and other expenses related to your claim, such as the cost of physical therapy necessary to treat your carpal tunnel symptoms. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be serious. Don’t attempt to fight for benefits on your own. You should be concentrating on your recovery and what the future holds. However, you need to pursue a workers’ compensation claim because you could be entitled to benefits. This financial assistance can help you pay your bills and find a new line of work if necessary. Collecting Workers’ Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Injuries Before you can successfully collect workers’ compensation benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome, you must show how your job caused the injury. Carpal tunnel is a covered condition under Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits. However, proving your job caused it isn’t always easy. Part of the problem is that some workers are unaware they have early symptoms, while others don’t realize the carpal tunnel symptoms they are experiencing are due to their job. Recognizing symptoms early on can help prevent further damage to your hand or wrist and help you receive workers’ compensation benefits. Suppose you are unable to return to work full time. In that case, your potential settlement could include disability compensation or retraining so you can work again in a different capacity or field. How a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help At the law offices of Arechigo & Stokka, we understand what a stressful time it is for you and your family when you can’t work because you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. We know you have concerns about your job and you need to receive the maximum amount of compensation possible. Know that you aren’t alone. Our legal team has years of experience helping injured workers like you. We can help you get the benefits you are entitled to in a worker’s compensation case.   If you filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome and it was denied, do not worry. You have the right to appeal the denial. It’s actually common for initial claims to be denied. Sometimes, the rejection is for something minimal, such as missing documentation, and easily fixed. Once you provide the missing information or documentation, the decision might be reversed and benefits approved. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka know exactly what goes into a claim, and we are ready to help you through all steps of the process, from filing the initial paperwork to appealing a denial. When you retain a Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney at Arechigo & Stokka, we will handle all the stressful and frustrating legal aspects of your claim while you heal. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about how we can assist you. Let us review the facts of your case and help you determine the best course of action.  

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Minnesota Occupational Diseases and Workers’ Compensation: What You Should Know

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Suffering from an occupational disease that was caused by work can be a horrible experience. Usually, these conditions are much more serious than a pulled muscle or broken arm and can be quite scary, especially when you are unable to work. You may feel concern and anxiety about how to pay your bills and put food on your family’s table. To add insult to injury, many employers fight these workers’ compensation claims and deny medical benefits and wage loss benefits. If this is happening to you, you need skilled and knowledgeable Minnesota occupational disease workers’ compensation lawyers fighting for your rights and the benefits you deserve. What Is an Occupational Disease Under Workers’ Compensation Law? When most people think of a work-related injury, they think of something like a fall, broken bone, pulled muscle, or some other type of physical injury. But under Minnesota law, a “disease” can also be considered a work-related injury. Minnesota Statute Section 176.011 defines occupational disease as: Mental impairment, Physical disease arising out of and in the course of employment peculiar to the occupation in which the employee is engaged, Physical stimulus resulting in mental injury, or  Mental stimulus resulting in physical injury. These diseases are caused by exposure to certain substances and work environments. Minnesota workers are often exposed to many chemicals, substances, and processes on a daily basis that can cause diseases and medical conditions. Here are some of the more common occupational diseases we see in our St. Paul workers’ compensation practice: Cancer, Lung disease, Asthma, Silicosis, Diseases of the blood, COPD, Breathing difficulty due to chemical exposure, Heart attack, Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Myocarditis, Coronary sclerosis, Pneumonia or its sequel, and Communicable diseases spread through the treatment of patients. Most occupational diseases are permanent and can cause a worker to be totally disabled from work. In many instances, these diseases arise due to employment in factories, production facilities, foundries, warehouses, or hospitals, and other medical facilities. What Are the Deadlines for Filing a Minnesota Occupational Disease and Workers’ Compensation Claim? Occupational diseases are treated differently under Minnesota law than other work injuries. To receive workers’ compensation benefits for occupational diseases like cancer, asthma, or silicosis (among others), a claim has to be made with your employer within three years of the date that the disease was discovered and determined to be work-related.  How Are Occupational Diseases for First Responders and Health Care Workers Treated Under the Law? For first responders or health care workers (such as EMS, nurses, or doctors) who contract a disease, there is a rebuttable presumption that the disease was caught while at work. If the employee can demonstrate through medical evidence that the disease is present in their system, then Minnesota workers’ compensation law will presume the employee caught it at work. However, the law allows the employer to rebut this presumption if it can produce evidence to demonstrate the employee acquired the condition outside of work. Is COVID-19 Considered an Occupational Disease and Can an Employee File for Workers’ Compensation Benefits If They Contract COVID-19? Minnesota Statute Section 176.011 declares that the contraction of COVID-19 is considered an “occupational disease” and an employee can file a claim for benefits. It is presumed the COVID-19 diagnosis is work-related if two elements are met. First, the employee must have been employed in a particular field identified in the statute. Those eligible include: Firefighters; Paramedics; Nurses and health care workers; Correctional officers; Security counselors employed at a corrections, detention, or secure treatment facility; Emergency medical technicians; Health care providers, nurses, and assistants employed in long-term care facilities who care for COVID patients; and Those who provide child care to first responders and health care workers. Second, the employee must obtain a positive lab test or a diagnosis from a physician. However, even if the employee proves these two elements, the employer can submit evidence to rebut the connection to work by demonstrating that the employee did not catch COVID-19 at work but was exposed to the virus in some other setting. The Minnesota Occupational Disease Lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka Are Here to Help with Your St. Paul Workers’ Compensation Claim If you have suffered from an occupational disease caused by your work environment, you need to have skilled and knowledgeable lawyers fighting for your rights to receive workers’ compensation benefits, including both medical benefits and wage benefits for as long as necessary. Our lawyers have successfully handled hundreds of Minnesota workers’ compensation cases. Contact us online or call Arechigo & Stokka at 651-505-5943 to learn more about the services we provide to injured workers in Minnesota.

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What Does TTD Mean in Workers’ Comp?

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

When you’re injured on the job, there are lots of details to handle. You need medical treatment, but you also need to figure out how to pay bills. You assume workers’ compensation will help with your income, but how does it work? Workers’ compensation can be complicated, and it’s best to hire an attorney who will look out for your interests. One thing our Minnesota workers’ comp lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka frequently explain to our clients is the difference between temporary total disability (TTD) and permanent total disability (PTD).  We will review everything you should know about workers’ compensation TTD benefits. Please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call (651) 222-6603 today for immediate assistance. Types of Workers’ Compensation Workers’ compensation programs use a lot of acronyms, which can be confusing. For instance, What does TTD stand for in workers’ comp? It’s simply a classification of disability. Workers’ compensation insurance labels the category of your disability:  Temporary total disability (TTD),  Temporary partial disability (TPD),  Permanent total disability (PTD), or  Permanent partial disability (PPD). These classifications depend on the extent of your injury and how likely you are to recover, based on a medical professional’s evaluation.  TTD Workers’ Comp In Minnesota So, what does TTD mean in workers’ comp? When workers’ compensation insurance labels you with TTD, it means they think you have a temporary total disability. This means that you can’t work at all now, but they expect you to be able to work in the future. You don’t have to prove that someone was at fault for your injury to get workers’ compensation TTD payments. Even if you were at fault for your workplace accident, you can still file for compensation. Workers’ compensation covers a new injury sustained on the job or an old injury aggravated by a workplace accident. Your injury must relate to an employment-related activity. How Much Money Is Available? TTD benefits pay two-thirds of your average weekly wage, though there is a minimum and maximum payment you can receive. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will continue to pay you this benefit until you reach maximum medical improvement, meaning you have recovered or further medical treatment won’t help you get any better. At that point, you may be able to qualify for PPD or PTD benefits based on any permanent disability. Workers’ compensation also pays your medical bills and can pay for vocational rehabilitation. This means that if you can’t perform your job because of your injury, workers’ compensation will pay to train you for a new job. How Long Does Workers’ Compensation Pay? You are eligible for TTD payments for up to 130 weeks unless you enter a retraining program, which can extend the time you can receive payments. Workers’ compensation payments stop when any of the following occur: You reach 130 weeks of payment and are not eligible for retraining; You reach maximum medical improvement; You return to work; or You are medically released to return to work but don’t make an effort to do so. TTD workers’ comp is not a long-term solution for paying your bills. The compensation merely pays basic living expenses and medical bills while you are treated for your injuries. Contact a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney If you need someone to fight for your fair compensation, you should speak with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer. At Arechigo & Stokka, our legal team fights for injured employees in Minnesota. We work to get you maximum compensation and safe job conditions.  Our attorneys have been helping injured employees for decades, and our compassionate, personalized approach can help you too. Contact us or call (651) 222-6603 for a free consultation. We can discuss your situation and answer any questions you may have.

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