What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover in MN?

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If you suffer a job-related injury, workers’ compensation insurance could provide some benefits that can assist with your medical expenses and the time you miss from work. However, there are strict eligibility rules, and navigating the claims process can be frustrating. Understandably, many injured workers are left trying to figure out, What does workers’ comp cover? If you have questions about pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, contact an experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney.   What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover? If you are eligible, your workers’ compensation benefits can cover: Medical treatment, Loss of earnings, Any ongoing care costs, and Funeral expenses. Some workers’ compensation claims are not related to a single accident or traumatic event. Instead, they develop over time. Some illnesses would qualify for benefits if you suffered exposure to harmful substances or chemicals. If a medical doctor diagnoses you with a condition connected to your work-related activities, workers’ compensation benefits would likely provide some assistance with your treatment and time off work.  Repetitive injury claims also fall under workers’ compensation. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome can take years to develop in some cases. If your job involves a lot of typing, workers’ compensation may pay for some of your treatment costs. In some cases, injuries or illness are severe enough that you are temporarily disabled. In that case, workers’ compensation could potentially pay for some of your missed wages during your disability period as well as your treatment. What Does Workers’ Compensation Not Cover? Workers’ comp benefits won’t cover you for injuries you sustain outside of work. Additionally, benefits won’t apply if you: Were intoxicated or using illegal drugs at the time; Intentionally hurt yourself; Were injured during the commission of a crime; Started a fight; or Violated company policy. If you are worried about a denial, it’s better to be honest upfront. If you try to cover up your actions and someone figures it out, you could be facing a coverage denial even if your claim was valid. Who Gets Workers’ Comp? In general, Minnesota Workers’ compensation laws state that employers must purchase applicable coverage or be self-insured. However, some employers may be exempt from carrying coverage. Federal government employees are also not covered under state-run benefits programs. Instead, federal employees have benefits under federal workers’ comp. Minnesota law excludes specific categories of workers from workers’ comp benefits as well. The exclusions can apply to people who are associated with the following business types, depending on their role in the company, their relationship to the company owners, and the size of the company: Family farm corporations, Sole proprietors and partnerships, Closely held corporations, and Limited liability companies. In some cases, employers who wish to include categories of workers excluded from workers’ comp can take steps to have them listed as eligible for benefits. Some employers elect to do this if they have independent contractors, seasonal workers, domestic workers, etc. If you fall under one of these categories and suffer a job-related injury, ask about potential coverage. How Does the Workers’ Compensation Coverage Process Work in MN? You must report your accident or condition to your employer within 14 days of the injury. For repetitive injuries or occupational diseases, your date of injury is when you knew or should’ve learned that you had work-related injuries. Once you have reported the information, your employer will fill out a form and send it to the insurance company. Provided your injury wasn’t severe and required immediate transport to the hospital, the insurance company will advise whether you are approved for benefits and provide a list of doctors within the plan. Typically, you are expected to see a doctor covered under the plan, unless there is no listed medical provider within 30 to 50 miles from your home. If your benefits are denied, you have the right to file a formal appeal with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.   I Wasn’t Injured at My Workplace; What Does Workers’ Comp Cover? There may be coverage for someone who wasn’t injured at their place of employment in some cases. Were you still in the course and scope of your employment but somewhere else? If so, then your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should provide coverage. Maybe you were out at a training session, speaking at an event, or driving a company vehicle on your way to the office after visiting a job site. Injuries occurring during any of these events could potentially trigger workers’ compensation benefits. Why Would I Need a Workers’ Comp Attorney? Unfortunately, it’s common to have a legitimate claim for benefits denied by the insurance company. The appeals process can be complicated. You want an experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits attorney on your side who can help you through the process.  If you need assistance with a workers’ compensation claim, contact the Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka. We have decades of experience handling workers’ compensation denials. Let us put our experience to work for you and help you get the benefits you’re entitled to after a work-related injury.  

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Is There Workers’ Compensation for Independent Contractors?

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Workers’ compensation coverage will provide benefits to an employee who suffers a work-related injury or illness. In most cases, workers’ comp insurance for independent contractors does not exist. This means that independent contractors are not usually eligible for workers’ compensation, but there are some exceptions. If you disagree that you’re an independent contractor, workers’ compensation benefits may be available if you can prove you’re an employee. To learn more about workers’ compensation for independent contractors, contact a skilled Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney.    Are Independent Contractors Covered by Workers’ Comp? The law doesn’t require employers to purchase workers’ compensation for independent contractors. This coverage is typically reserved for employees only. However, some employers choose to buy coverage that would extend to independent contractors. Independent contractors can also purchase their own policy that would cover them in the event of an injury on the job.   Sometimes, employers try to classify workers as independent contractors who are actually employees. In some instances, the misclassification is a mistake, but other times it’s intentional. By categorizing employees as independent contractors, employers get out of paying benefits and additional taxes.   Independent Contractors and Employees Answering some questions can help determine whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor. The most critical factors to look at are:  Payment—Is payment by the job, or do you receive wages, either hourly or salary? Control and Direction—How much control do you have over your own work? Equipment—Do you provide your own equipment, or does the employer provide it? Training and Character of Work—Is your work highly skilled, and do you only perform a single job while working for multiple companies? Answering these questions can help determine whether you are an employee who is misclassified as an independent contractor. If you find that your employer dictates these factors, then you are likely an employee. Some employers might have you sign an agreement that says you are an independent contractor, but that’s not enough to override the laws that determine whether you’re an employee or not. If you feel your employer wrongfully denied your benefits due to independent contractor status, you need to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney right away.   When Are You Entitled to Workers’ Comp in Minnesota? You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you are an employee who suffers a work-related injury or sickness. Workers’ comp can cover some expenses like your medical and rehabilitation costs, and it can replace a portion of your lost wages.

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What Happens If I Miss My Court Date for a Misdemeanor?

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Missing a court date for a misdemeanor is not something to take lightly. Courts take missed court appearances very seriously. Depending on the reason you missed it, the judge could take additional legal action against you. Defendants who have legitimate reasons for missing a court appearance could have their hearing rescheduled, but you want to take immediate action. If you missed a court date for a misdemeanor, please contact a Minnesota criminal defense attorney right away.   What Happens If I Miss My Court Date for a Misdemeanor? Understandably, people want to know what happens if you miss a court date for a misdemeanor. Depending on the charges, you could be required to appear in court several times. Failure to show up to any of the scheduled hearings could result in the judge charging you with contempt of court or marking you as a failure to appear. You could be facing fines, jail time, and more. Possible Consequences of Missing Court Date for a Misdemeanor Consequences for missing a court date for a misdemeanor will vary depending on the circumstances and the judge. The judge will mark you as a failure to appear, and they could also order any of the following: Bench warrant—this is a warrant for your arrest, which means if the police stop you, you could be arrested; Bail revoked—the judge could revoke your bail, which means you would forfeit your original bond and remain in jail until your trial; Harsher sentence—the judge could impose a harsher sentence in your case if you failed to appear at a sentencing hearing and a negotiated plea agreement was contingent on your appearance Driver license suspension—Often used in traffic offenses, the judge could notify the DMV of your bench warrant, which could give you a deadline to resolve your case or they will suspend your license. There’s no way to know what the judge will do until you appear in court again. Please don’t risk your future by missing a court date, even for a misdemeanor, unless it’s an emergency. What Should I Do If I Just Missed My Court Date? If you just missed your court date, act quickly to show the court you are serious about your case. Waiting will only make your situation worse. If you don’t get it resolved, you could be arrested at your job, at home in front of your family, during a routine traffic stop, etc. Courts tend to be more lenient if you can show you are committed to resolving an outstanding bench warrant, rather than just ignoring it. If you do not have a lawyer on your case, you should call the court clerk’s office and ask if your case can be rescheduled to a future court calendar. This is not always possible, though. Your best option may be to hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you and resolve the outstanding warrant. Can an Attorney Help Me? Contacting an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney is crucial in these situations. At Arechigo & Stokka, we know how best to handle a missed court date. We can immediately contact the court clerk and try to get your case rescheduled. Our goal is to minimize any legal repercussions and get your appearance rescheduled. If you missed a misdemeanor court appearance, contact our office right away. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start working with the court to get a bench warrant dismissed and your hearing rescheduled.

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Public Defender vs Private Attorney | Which Is Better?

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Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience. You may be thinking about legal representation and wondering what the differences are with a public defender vs private attorney. There are pros and cons to each, which is why it’s imperative to weigh your options carefully. In most cases, hiring a private attorney is better, especially if you are facing serious charges. To learn more, contact a Minnesota criminal defense attorney today. What You Get with a Public Defender One of the most common things people ask at their initial consultation is, Is it better to have a public defender or a private lawyer? With a public defender, you are represented by someone who is paid by the government. You cannot choose who your public defender is. The upside with a public defender versus private attorney is you are not paying out of pocket for legal fees. Public defenders also work with the same prosecutors regularly, so they may be well-positioned to negotiate favorable plea agreements. Unfortunately, public defenders are almost always overworked and underpaid. With a heavy caseload, you aren’t likely to get a lot of time with your attorney. You may find yourself feeling like you have not had enough time to discuss your case with your lawyer. And not everyone is eligible for a public defender. You must fill out an application asking for a public defender to represent you. A judge will review your personal financial circumstances and determine whether you qualify for a public defender. What You Get with a Private Attorney When you hire a private attorney, you can choose your own lawyer. That means you can interview multiple attorneys and find the one you connect with most. You can also choose someone with experience defending clients with charges similar to yours. With a public defender, you have no idea what types of cases they’ve handled in the past. A private attorney may have a lower caseload, and they can devote the time necessary to get a favorable outcome in your case. Usually, you will have an easier time contacting a private attorney than a public defender. The only real downside with a private attorney is the cost. You will be paying for legal fees and expenses, whereas a public defender is assigned to those who can’t afford to hire their own counsel. Why a Private Criminal Defense Attorney May Be Your Best Choice In almost every criminal matter, hiring a Minnesota criminal defense attorney is the better option. You have the benefit of an attorney who has the necessary skills and experience, and they aren’t struggling with unmanageable caseloads like most public defenders are. Your private attorney should have more time to investigate your case. Most public defenders are rushing from case to case, and may not have the time to carefully consult with each client. Serious criminal offenses require serious choices to be made during the course of the case. It’s important that you have time to talk through options with your lawyer before making impactful decisions. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Minnesota, contact Arechigo & Stokka today to schedule an initial consultation. We have over a decade of experience helping clients just like you. Let us put our knowledge and expertise to work for you and build the best defense possible.

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Understanding Minnesota Pre-Existing Conditions in a Workers’ Compensation Claim

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If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, you’re probably already experiencing the unfortunate effects.  Do you have a pre existing injury and being denied your workers compensation benefits? Read on to understand how a MN workers’ compensation attorney will be able to help you with your case. Beyond the physical pain, there are financial consequences of being unable to work and earn an income to support your household.  Plus, you will also incur medical bills for treatment, including costs related to surgery, physical therapy, pain medications, and others.  When you suffer injuries that make you unable to work in your chosen occupation, you may need to learn new skills.  For medical conditions that render you permanently disabled, you may never be able to work again. Fortunately, Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws provide you with rights as the victim of a workplace accident.  However, the process of filing a workers’ comp claim can be daunting, especially when your employer’s insurance company denies payment on the grounds that you suffer from a pre-existing injury.  As such, you may believe you’re not eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits, but the system does cover work injuries that aggravate a nonwork-related medical condition.  A Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney can explain the legal issues and assist with the claims process. You can also read on for some important information regarding your rights. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to setup a consultation. Why Pre-Existing Injuries Matter in a Minnesota Workers’ Comp Claim There are two key requirements you must meet to be eligible for workers’ comp: You must be a covered employee, as opposed to an independent contractor; and, Your injuries must be the result of a work-related accident, or some other workplace conditions in the case of an occupational disease. When you have a pre-existing injury, workers’ compensation rules can be complicated because of factor #2.  The line between on-the-job and non-work injuries can be blurry.  It’s common for workers’ comp insurers to deny benefits based upon any reason they can find, and a pre-existing medical condition offers a way out of their legal obligation to pay your claim.  Even when there’s scant evidence that you suffered from a condition that was exacerbated by a workplace accident, the insurer will claim that you weren’t hurt in the course of your normal job duties. As it relates to workers’ comp, a pre-existing condition is subject to a legal standard by law in Minnesota. You’re still eligible under the legal system if the work-related accident was a “substantial contributing factor” to your current medical condition.  This means you can still qualify to recover monetary benefits, such as: Your medical bills, covering your current treatment and costs you incur in the future for care; Wage replacement for lost income while you’re out of work; and, Vocational training, if your medical condition – including a pre-existing injury – makes it impossible for you to work in your current position. Your Workers’ Comp Claim and the IME When an insurance company is processing your claim, it may request that you participate in an independent medical exam (IME).  However, even though you’re seeing a doctor, the purpose is not the treatment of your injuries. Plus, the exam is typically anything BUT independent.  The physicians who conduct these exams are paid by the insurer, so their goal is to please the entity that’s paying them.  he IME is an opportunity for the insurance company to discover enough information about your pre-existing condition to justify a denial. Still, an IME is common for other reasons and it’s critical for you to keep the appointment. Failure to participate alone could be grounds for the insurer to reject your claim.  The point of the IME is to determine the nature of a pre-existing injury, and report on whether it’s an aggravation or not related to work. What to Do If You’re Denied Workers’ Comp Benefits for a Pre-Existing Injury As part of their denial of your claim, your employer’s workers’ compensation or work accident insurer will issue a Notice of Primary Liability stating your pre-existing condition as the reason.  At this point, your situation becomes highly complicated because you’ll need to ask the State of Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to reconsider liability.  Instead of trying to represent yourself in connection with the proceedings, your first order of business should be consulting with a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer that has experience in pre-existing conditions.  Your attorney will: Assist in gathering medical records that include details on any pre-existing condition; File the appropriate forms for officials to reconsider your claim; Represent you in connection with any hearings regarding your rights under workers’ compensation laws; and, Take the next steps as necessary to protect your interests. Contact a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your Claim If you’ve been denied workers’ comp benefits or are required to participate in an IME, please contact the St. Paul, MN Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka, P.A.  You can call 651-222-6603 or check us out online to set up a no-cost case evaluation.  We’re happy to answer your questions about workers’ comp and pre-existing conditions and provide assistance with the claims process.

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Minnesota Self-Defense Laws | What Are They?

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In Minnesota, if you are facing a threat of imminent bodily harm or injury, in certain circumstances, you have a right to use force to defend yourself. Minnesota self-defense laws describe the conditions in which you can lawfully use force in self-defense. Knowing self-defense laws can help you understand your rights and responsibilities.  Minnesota Self-Defense Laws Self-defense is one of the most commonly used defenses in cases involving assault, battery, or other crimes of violence. To prove self-defense in Minnesota, an accused person must show: The alleged victim was the aggressor, The accused person had a real or perceived fear of harm to their person, The accused person’s belief was reasonable, The accused person did not use aggression or provoke the attack, and There was no reasonable opportunity to retreat or escape. A claim of self-defense has some important limitations. A person’s use of force in self-defense must appear reasonable to a judge or jury. Further, a person may use only the amount of force necessary to prevent the attack or to protect themselves from harm. The amount of force used in self-defense must be proportionate to the threat posed by the victim. Duty to Retreat Before a person can use self-defense outside of their own home, Minnesota law imposes a duty to retreat.  If a person is facing a threat of bodily injury or harm, he or she must first attempt to retreat to a safe location. The concept of retreat includes any attempt to de-escalate or otherwise avoid violent confrontation. However, if retreat is not available or the person cannot do so safely, he or she may then use force or otherwise act in self-defense. In addition, Minnesota allows a person to use deadly force only as a last resort. You may use deadly force outside the home only if there is no reasonable opportunity to retreat and you reasonably believe that you face imminent danger of great bodily harm. A person who uses deadly force in self-defense may still face criminal charges, including murder, if he or she had an opportunity to retreat.  No Stand-Your-Ground Law in Minnesota Stand-your-ground laws remove the duty to retreat. If a state has a stand-your-ground law, a person may use force, including deadly force, without first attempting to retreat from the danger. Unlike many other states, Minnesota does not have a stand-your-ground law. In Minnesota, a person must first attempt to escape a dangerous threat before resorting to force.  Castle Doctrine  Although Minnesota does not have a stand-your-ground law, the state still applies the castle doctrine.  This doctrine removes the duty to retreat if a person is threatened in his or her own home. Minnesota courts have decided that a person should not be required to retreat from his or her own home. Thus, in certain circumstances, you may use force, including deadly force, in self-defense when threatened in your own home. The castle doctrine, like other forms of self-defense, is available only in certain circumstances and is subject to limitations. When to Contact a Lawyer If you are accused of a crime or were involved in a violent confrontation, you should contact a qualified attorney to represent you. Self-defense laws depend on a variety of circumstances and a complex set of rules and legal definitions. Understanding self-defense laws requires experience and familiarity with the criminal justice system. Cases involving self-defense often deal with serious crimes that carry potentially severe consequences. Even if you have a legitimate self-defense claim, if you fail to meet the legal requirements and provide sufficient evidence, you risk losing your case. Hiring a criminal defense attorney will improve your chances of establishing self-defense and winning your case.   Contact a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney Today If you are facing criminal charges or were involved in a violent confrontation, contact the law firm of Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., today. Our dedicated team has extensive experience defending our clients in criminal cases. We will thoroughly investigate your case, help you understand your legal options, and determine the best course of action. We know how difficult this process can be, and we will support you every step of the way. For a free consultation, call our offices at 651-222-6603 or fill out an online form today.  

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Understanding 2nd-Degree Assault in Minnesota

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An Overview of Second Degree Assault in MN Criminal assault can happen in a variety of circumstances. The types of charges vary depending on the circumstances and the severity of the harm. Second-degree assaults involve a dangerous weapon and carry serious penalties. If you are facing 2nd-degree assault charges, contact a qualified Minnesota criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options.  MN SECOND DEGREE ASSUALT FAQ What Is Second-Degree Assault? Under Minnesota law, second-degree assault is a felony offense. Second-degree assault charges fall into two different subdivisions: Subdivision 1, assault with a dangerous weapon, and Subdivision 2, assault with a dangerous weapon that causes substantial bodily harm. A “dangerous weapon” can include numerous different objects if used as a weapon to harm another person. Dangerous weapons include: Any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded; Any combustible or flammable liquid; and Any other object that is used or intended to be used to cause great bodily harm or death. Under subdivision 2, if a person causes substantial bodily harm to another person while using a dangerous weapon, the aggressor will face heftier penalties.  Minnesota law defines “substantial bodily harm” as bodily injury that: Involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, Causes a temporary but substantial loss of function of a body part, or Causes a fractured or broken bone. It is important to remember that a person can face 2nd-degree assault charges even if substantial bodily injury does not occur. Even threatening someone with a dangerous weapon may be sufficient evidence to prove guilt. MN SECOND DEGREE ASSUALT FAQ 2nd-Degree Assault Sentences  People charged with 2nd-degree assault face felony charges and serious consequences. Under subdivision 1, if you commit an assault with a dangerous weapon, but the victim does not suffer substantial bodily injury, you may face: Jail time up to seven years, A fine of up to $14,000, or A combination of jail time and monetary fines. Second-degree assaults that cause substantial bodily harm carry harsher penalties. Subdivision 2 second-degree assault sentences include: Imprisonment of up to ten years, A fine of up to $20,000, or A combination of jail time and fines. Second-degree assault charges are very serious and can substantially disrupt your life. A criminal defense attorney can help you assess your options and figure out the best course of action. MINNESOTA SECOND DEGREE ASSUALT FAQ How Will It Affect Me?  In addition to the possible legal penalties, felony convictions can affect you long after you pay your fines and serve your jail sentence. Felony convictions may: Prevent you from securing a job, Limit your ability to find housing, and Prevent you from obtaining student loans for education expenses. Because second-degree assault charges carry such severe penalties, it is critical that you seek an experienced attorney to help you defend your interests. Your attorney can help you understand your legal options and craft a defense that improves your chances of success. MINNESOTA SECOND DEGREE ASSUALT FAQ Defenses to Second-Degree Assault Charges Depending on the facts of your case, several different defenses may be available. The most common types of defenses to second-degree assault are described below. Self-Defense and Defense of Others Self-defense is one of the most common defenses to second-degree assault. A person can claim self-defense when: The alleged victim initiated the confrontation, You reasonably believed you faced immediate bodily injury, You could not escape or retreat to a safe location, and They used only enough reasonable force to stop the attack. Defense of others is another common defense to second-degree assault. Also, defense of others is the same as self-defense except that you may use reasonable force to protect others from imminent bodily injury.  Defense of Property A person may also reasonably defend their property, but only in limited circumstances. For example, if someone steals your property, such as a wallet, directly from your person, you may use reasonable force to protect your property. Other Defenses Other types of defenses to second-degree assault include: Lack of sufficient evidence, Consent to the contact, Voluntary or involuntary intoxication, and An alibi. A strong defense can result in dismissal of all of your charges, or the defense can help reduce your criminal sentence. However, successfully proving your defense is a complex process. Working with a skilled Minnesota criminal defense attorney will improve your chances for success and help you return to your normal life as quickly as possible.  MINNESOTA SECOND DEGREE ASSUALT FAQ Should I Hire an Attorney? Experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorneys understand the nuances of the criminal justice system. The attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., have a comprehensive understanding of the relevant laws and decades of experience defending clients in state and federal courts. Our attorneys will advise you on what to do after an arrest to avoid making the situation worse. In addition, our team of attorneys and staff will handle all of the steps necessary to create a strong legal defense. Our team of attorneys and staff can help you by: Performing factual investigations, gathering witness statements, and other relevant documents; Gathering medical records and hospital reports; Collecting police crime scene reports; Negotiating agreements and pleas with the prosecutor; and If necessary, defending you during trial. As soon as you are arrested, you have a right to a lawyer, and you should exercise that right. Working with an attorney improves the chances the court or prosecutor will dismiss your case or reduce your charges.  Contact an Attorney Today If you are facing second-degree assault charges, contact the law firm of Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., today. Our dedicated staff cares deeply about our clients, and we will assist you every step of the way. We provide hands-on, personalized legal services, and we will fight aggressively to defend your interests. Call our offices at 651-401-7926 or fill out an online form today. 

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Understanding First Degree Assault in Minnesota

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Disagreements or confrontations involving physical violence often lead to assault charges. Depending on the extent of the injuries and who is involved, charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies. In Minnesota, first-degree assault is a felony offense and carries serious, long-term consequences. If you were arrested for first-degree assault, you should speak with a qualified Minnesota defense attorney. Your attorney will help you understand your case and defend your interests in court. What Is First Degree Assault?  Under Minnesota law, a first-degree assault typically occurs when a person assaults and causes great bodily harm to another person. “Great bodily harm” means bodily injury that:  Creates a high probability of death,  Causes serious permanent disfigurement,  Causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or  Causes other serious bodily harm. A person may also face first-degree assault charges if he or she assaults one of the following people by using or attempting to use deadly force: A peace officer, A judge, A prosecuting attorney, or A correctional employee who works in a jail, private prison, or workhouse. First-degree assault charges carry significant penalties, including hefty fines and prison terms.  Penalties and Charges for First Degree Assault Under Minnesota law, a first-degree assault charge is a felony offense. First-degree assault penalties may include up to 20 years in prison, a $30,000 fine, or both.  If you are convicted of assaulting a peace officer, judge, prosecutor, or correctional employee, you must serve your entire sentence. This means you are not eligible for: Probation, Parole, Discharge, Work release, or Supervised release. A felony conviction can affect you long after you serve your prison term and pay your fines. First-degree felony assault charges may prevent you from: Getting a job, Obtaining housing, and Securing loans for education tuition assistance. While first-degree assault charges are very serious, you may have some legal options available. Minnesota law has several defenses to first-degree assault. An experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney can help you identify any available defenses and develop a strong legal strategy. Defenses to First Degree Assault Depending on the circumstances of your case, several different defenses may be available. However, it may be challenging to prove your defense. A skilled criminal defense attorney has an in-depth knowledge of the law and understands how to develop and successfully raise a defense. Self-Defense and Defense of Others Self-defense is one of the most common defenses used in first-degree assault cases. Self-defense may apply when: The alleged victim was the initial aggressor, You believed you faced an imminent threat of bodily harm, That belief was reasonable, You had no reasonable opportunity to retreat or escape, and You used only enough reasonable force to stop the attack. Defense of others is similar to self-defense, except that it involves a person acting in defense of another person who faces a threat of unlawful harm or force. Unlike some states, Minnesota does not have a “stand your ground” law. This means that a person facing a threat of great bodily harm must attempt to escape the situation if it is reasonable to do so. A person can use deadly force in self-defense only as a last resort. Defense of Property A person may also use reasonable force to defend his or her personal property. However, this defense is available only in limited circumstances, such as when the property was stolen directly from your person. As with self-defense and defense of others, you may use only the amount of force reasonably necessary to defend your property.  Other Defenses Other types of defenses to first-degree assault include: Consent, Necessity, Intoxication, and An alibi. Some types of defenses are considered complete defenses. If successfully proven, the court will drop the charges against you. The court may also decide that a particular defense acts only as a partial defense to a charge. In these cases, the court may reduce or lower your sentence but not completely dismiss the charges against you. Even partial defenses can significantly reduce your criminal penalties and help you return to your normal life faster after a conviction.  How Can a Lawyer Help? Facing a first-degree assault charge alone can be intimidating. Even if you have a strong defense, successfully proving a defense in court can be complicated and time-consuming. Experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorneys understand the nuances of the criminal justice system. The attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., have a comprehensive understanding of the relevant laws and extensive experience defending clients against first-degree assault charges. Our team of attorneys and staff can help you by: Thoroughly investigating your case, Collecting police and medical reports, Gathering witness statements, Filing documents in court, Negotiating agreements with the prosecutor, and If necessary, defending you at trial. First-degree assault cases can be highly complex and require a thorough understanding of the law. It is critical to retain a qualified criminal defense lawyer to defend you. Contact Our Offices Today If you are facing first-degree assault charges, contact our office today. Our dedicated staff will answer your questions, research your case, and help you choose the best legal strategy. We understand how difficult this process can be, and we will help you every step of the way. Call our offices at 651-401-7926 or fill out an online form today. 

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Do All MN Workers’ Comp Cases End in a Settlement?

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Most workers’ comp cases end in a settlement. Workers’ comp, or workers’ compensation, is financial compensation for your lost wages, medical expenses, disability, and other expenses you face as a result of a job-related injury. Some factors that might affect your settlement value include: The severity of your injury, Whether you can return to work, and Whether evidence exists that contradicts your claim. If you have been injured as the result of a job-related injury, you should talk to a Minnesota workers’ comp lawyer today. What Is the Workers’ Comp Process in St. Paul, Minnesota? The Minnesota workers’ comp process can become complicated and intimidating. Hiring a lawyer can make the process less stressful for you. File Your Claim The first step in the MN workers’ comp process is to file your claim by completing and submitting the appropriate paperwork. We recommend hiring a St. Paul workers’ comp lawyer to ensure the paperwork is filled out properly. We offer free consults for such occasions. Deposition Next, the insurance company’s lawyer takes your deposition. During a deposition, the lawyer will ask you questions about your claim to gather information. Your deposition is part of the evidence your insurance company will consider when deciding whether to offer a settlement. Independent Medical Examination After taking your deposition, your insurance company schedules a medical exam. Your insurance company and employer choose the doctor that will perform the exam. The purpose is to have a third-party doctor to assess whether your injuries are consistent with your statements.  Settlement Most of the time, your insurance company will next offer you a settlement. It is usually in the form of a lump sum payment. Your attorney can help you negotiate the final settlement amount. Hearing If your insurance company does not offer you a settlement or if you cannot reach an agreement, the next step is a hearing before a judge. At the hearing, both sides present evidence of why you are or are not entitled to workers’ comp. Unlike with a settlement, the judge will ultimately make the decision.  Appeal If the judge denies your workers’ comp claim, you can file an appeal within 30 days of the date of the decision. Things to Keep in Mind When Considering a Settlement Offer It is important to wait until you have fully recovered from your injuries to accept a settlement offer. You want to make sure you don’t accept a settlement that is lower than you deserve because you don’t yet know the total cost of your injuries. If you accept a settlement that does not cover all of your expenses, it is very difficult to set aside. However, it is possible to accept a settlement while leaving open the possibility of additional claims if you have more medical expenses or your impairment changes in the future. You just need to be sure to include that language in your settlement agreement. Additionally, it is important to understand that you won’t receive a settlement offer if your insurance company denies your claim. If applicable, a lawyer could contest the denial by providing additional evidence of your injuries or correcting any errors in the paperwork you’ve submitted. How Can a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Help You? The Minnesota workers’ comp lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka, P.C., can help you navigate the complex workers’ comp process. Working with us can minimize your chances of making a mistake and give you leverage against your employer’s insurance company. Whether your case settles or goes before a judge, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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Can I Get a Settlement From Workers’ Compensation If I Go Back to Work?

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If you sustain a work-related injury, you may be entitled to receive worker’s compensation benefits. But when should you return to work, and how will this affect your settlement? The attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you answer these questions and more. Read on to find out what you need to know before returning to work after a work-related injury. Workers’ Compensation Settlement After Returning to Work If you are injured in an on-the-job work accident, you might be wondering what you need to do to receive your settlement. The answer may not be so simple, and there are often many factors to consider.  On one hand, your employer might be eager for you to get back to work as quickly as possible. But, on the other hand, this might not be what is best for your health or your workers’ compensation case. Knowing and understanding the relevant factors is crucial to making sure you receive your settlement.  When Should I Go Back to Work?  Before going back to work, you should make sure you are cleared by a medical professional. Even if you feel prepared, or your employer has encouraged you to come back, it is important to be sure. Returning to work before you are physically and mentally ready could lead to further injury and other negative consequences. Do I Need To Be Fully Healed?  Although you might not need to be fully healed to go back to work, there may be consequences if you return before you are. Before returning to work, you should first reach what is called “maximum medical improvement” (MMI).  Maximum medical improvement is the point at which an injured person’s condition has stabilized. This is essentially the point where a doctor determines that the condition or injury cannot be improved any further.  What Puts My Settlement at Risk? Returning to work before you are ready can put your settlement at risk. Workers’ compensation claims help compensate individuals who sustain work-related injuries. The idea is that the injured worker cannot do that same job with the injuries they sustained, and as a result, they need compensation.  If you return to work before reaching maximum medical improvement, a workers’ compensation insurance company might take this to mean that your injuries were not that serious or that you do not need the entire settlement that was offered. Can I Get a Settlement If I Work With Restrictions? In some cases, your doctor may consider you to be at maximum medical improvement. However, you might still be partially disabled as a result of your injury. If this is the case, your doctor might clear you to work under certain restrictions.  As a part of your workers’ compensation settlement, your employer might offer you a less strenuous position that you can perform at your MMI level. In this scenario, you may still be entitled to settlement payment after returning to work, as long as you have been medically cleared to do so. When You Should Get a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you protect your rights in the aftermath of an on-the-job injury. The team at Arechigo & Stokka will give you the time and attention your case deserves. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you with your workers’ compensation case.

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