Types of Injuries for Work Comp

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MINNESOTA WORK COMP LAWYER  An injured worker can be entitled to Minnesota work comp benefits if an injury is work-related as the result of work duties.  The employee may be injured on the employer’s property, while at another worksite, when traveling on the job, or doing anything that is work-related while “on the clock.”  With the help of an experienced Minnesota workers’ comp attorney, you will receive the help that you need to fill out and file a complete and accurate claim. UNDERSTANDING THE TYPES OF WORKPLACE INJURIES An injury incurred on the job is not considered a valid injury for work comp purposes if it was an injury that occurred due to committing a crime, did not occur while on the clock, was self-inflicted, was due to a pre-existing condition unless worsened by current work, or resulted from the use of alcohol or drugs.  An injury may also not be covered by workers’ comp if it is determined that the injury occurred due to violating company policy. Injuries that are covered under Minnesota work comp typically include physical injuries, including broken bones, head injuries, spinal injuries, amputated limbs, paralysis, eye injuries, burn injuries, repetitive motion injuries (carpal tunnel),  and many others. Illnesses may also be covered if the illness was caused by a hazardous job condition.  For instance, exposure to a toxic substance and exposure to substances that can cause cancer or respiratory illnesses can usually trigger Minnesota work comp benefits. Mental illnesses or traumatic emotional experiences at work are tricky.  These areas have gained some recent momentum under Minnesota work comp.  A person who experiences an event at work that causes emotional trauma resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD could possibly qualify for Minnesota work comp benefits if it is deemed impossible for a person to return to work or a person can only work in a limited capacity because of the traumatic experience. HELPING YOU GET THE COMPENSATION YOU DESERVE When you have experienced any of the aforementioned types of injuries, it is important to notify your employer, your doctor, and your Minnesota workers’ comp attorney.  That way the process toward filing your workers’ comp claim can begin.  Minnesota work comp benefits are designed to help you get through your injury, recover, and return to work. CONTACT A ST. PAUL WORK COMP LAWYER As noted, several types of injuries are excluded from Minnesota work comp benefits. It is not uncommon for an employer or the insurance company to claim a legitimate work comp injury falls under one of the excluded categories and thereby attempt to deny work comp benefits. If you have been injured on the job, our experienced St. Paul workers’ comp attorneys can help you obtain your benefits as soon as possible, as well as remove a great deal of stress from the process. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.  There is no upfront fee if you decide to hire our St. Paul work comp lawyers to help recover your Minnesota work comp benefits.

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Injured At Work In Minnesota– What Should I Do?

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If you are injured at work in Minnesota, the first thing that you must do is report the injury to your employer.   Report the injury to your supervisor.  If you do not have a direct supervisor, report the injury to someone in a management capacity.  Report the injury regardless of the severity.  This is important because sometimes what you believe is a minor injury can develop into a serious injury. Failure to report the injury when it occurs can complicate matters.  If you are injured at work, go home, and then the next morning realize that the injury is much more severe than you realized, the employer may not believe you were injured at work.  Even very severe injuries may not seem severe when they occur.  Report any injury. If needed, go to the emergency room.  After reporting the injury at work, any treatment necessary to treat that injury will be compensated.  Do not worry about the expense at this time.  Tell your doctor you were injured at work.  Your employer may attempt to direct you to a doctor.  You do not have to go to the doctor they tell you to go to.  You may choose your doctor.  If needed you should get a restriction from your doctor.  The restriction can be different depending on the nature of the injury.  It can be a time-per-day restriction, a weight restriction, or anything your doctor deems appropriate. After you receive the restriction, if any, give it to your employer.  Ask your employer to complete a First Report of Injury.  If your employer refuses, fill out the document yourself.   Contact the law firm of Arechigo & Stokka, LLP, for a free consultation at 651-222-6603.

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Injured at Work Going Up or Down Stairs

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STAIR INJURY AT WORK If you were injured at work going up or down stairs, you deserve Minnesota work comp benefits.  The issue is whether this is compensable under the workers’ compensation law.  Generally, an employee who was injured at work going up or down stairs are work injures that are regarded as compensable injuries.   In one case, a delivery driver’s knee went out while descending three flights of stairs.  The doctor’s report indicated the delivery driver was injured at work going up or down stairs because that activity put more stress on the knee than would have occurred on a flat surface.  Consequently, this work injury was held to be compensable under Minnesota workers’ compensation law. In another workers’ compensation case, a woman with preexisting knee problems ran up a set of stairs and her knee buckled.  Despite the preexisting injuries in her knee, the court held that the work activities accelerated or aggravated the preexisting injury and, therefore, it was held to be compensable under the workers’ compensation law. IF YOU WERE INJURED AT WORK GOING UP OR DOWN STAIRS, AT A MINIMUM, SOME LEVEL OF WORK CONNECTION MUST BE ESTABLISHED IN ORDER FOR THE INJURY TO BE COMPENSABLE UNDER MINNESOTA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAW. Whether it is going up and/or down a large number of stairs, work boots that cause a fall and resulting work injury, or going up and down steep stairs at work that is above and beyond what someone may encounter at home, something about the stairs must be tied to work duties. HIRE WEST ST. PAUL’S BEST WORKERS COMP LAWYERS Because more and more employees are injured at work going up or down stairs, workmans comp cases involving resulting injuries from stairs are becoming more common.   If you have a stair injury from work, you need an experienced West St. Paul workers’ compensation lawyer to help prove your case.   If you have any questions, please contact our attorneys for a free consultation.

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How Can Facebook Affect My Employee Benefits?

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Just the other day, a St. Paul work comp client came into my office to discuss his case. I asked him how the church volunteering project went. He looked at me with surprise.  I showed him the pictures, sent to me by the insurance company. They showed him clearing brush, moving rocks, and working around the grounds of the church.   This employee had restrictions that restricted his ability to work AT ALL.  At the time he received full employee benefits allowed under the Minnesota workers’ compensation system while recovering from surgery. My client explained that he really had not worked.  He walked around the grounds while his wife helped the group, visiting with the other parishioners.   Unfortunately, he posted pictures of the day on Facebook.  The insurance company had been monitoring his social media.  If you examined the pictures more carefully it was clear that he was not “working” in any of them.  He was standing in front of the camera in most and doing nothing.  In one he was holding a piece of brush. THE INSURANCE COMPANY USED THIS AS AN EXCUSE TO DENY HIM EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. Although the work comp case eventually settled for a significant amount, the pictures the employee posted on Facebook made it much more difficult to obtain employee benefits.  I now tell all my work comp clients to stay off social media pending resolution of their case.   Innocuous pictures can be used to suggest that an employee is lying about the nature and extent of their injury, which may give the insurance company support to deny Minnesota work comp employee benefits. HIRE SOUTH ST. PAUL’S BEST WORKMAN’S COMP ATTORNEYS If an insurance company is using your social media to deny you work comp employee benefits, your case is not over.   Despite what the insurance company may tell you, our St. Paul work comp employee benefits lawyer will make sure we secure the employee benefits you are entitled to.   Our South St. Paul work comp employee benefits lawyer will explain to a judge, at trial if needed, the truth behind the seemingly damaging pictures.   If you need to speak with a Minnesota work comp attorney about obtaining your Minnesota workers compensation employee benefits, please contact our St. Paul work comp employee benefits lawyer at 651-222-6603, for a free consultation.

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MN Work Comp Attorneys Fees

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Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney Fees Are Governed By Statute This means that unlike in, for example, a personal injury case, where the attorney has some discretion over what to charge for a fee, the Minnesota legislature heavily regulates what a Minnesota work comp attorney can charge.  There are several different types of work comp attorney fees: 1. Contingency Fee  This is one of the main methods for payment of Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney fees.  These fees are permitted under Minnesota Statute § 176.081, subd. 1(a).  For injuries from 1995 to October 2013, this section permitted a Minnesota work comp lawyer a fee of 25% of the first $4,000 and 20% of the next $60,000 of compensation awarded to the injured employee so long as the fees are calculated on genuinely disputed claims or portions of claims.  All fees for legal services related to the same injury are cumulative and may not exceed $13,000, and fees for obtaining disputed medical or rehabilitation benefits are included in the $13,000 limit. In October 2013, the statute was amended to state that a fee for legal services of 20% of the first $130,000 of compensation awarded to the employee is the maximum permissible fee 2. Irwin/Roraff Fees   These are examples of Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney fees paid for by an employer.  The statute was modified in 1995 to provide that the $13,000 limit on work comp attorney fees was the maximum possible fee for all legal services related to the same injury, including attorney fees paid for by the employer/insurer.  In Irwin v. Surdyk’s Liquor, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that the limitations on attorney fees in the 1995 amendments to the Minnesota Statute were unconstitutional in that they impinged upon the court’s inherent power to oversee attorneys and attorney fees. 3. Fees in Excess of Maximum  Under Irwin, in order to obtain a fee in excess of the statutory limit, the court set forth a list of factors to be considered by the compensation judge in the determination of Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney fees: 1)  The amount involved; 2) the time and expense necessary to prepare for trial; 3) the responsibility assumed by counsel; 4) the expertise of counsel; 5) the difficulty of the issues; 6) the nature of the proof involved; 7) the results obtained. 4. Fees on Intervenor Recoveries  These are usually companies that have provided medical treatment or wage replacement benefits such as a short term disability plan.  Minnesota Statute § 176.361, permits any “person” who has an interest in any matter before the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, Commissioner or compensation judge, such that the person may either gain or lose by an order or decision, to file an application or motion to intervene.  Issues arise whether and to what extent an intervenor must contribute to the attorney fees or costs incurred in establishing the injured employee’s entitlement to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits that result in a recovery for the intervenor.  The main case involved in this issue is Edquist v. Browning-Ferris. The Statutory Scheme That Outlines Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney Fees Is to the Benefit of Injured Workers. A Minnesota work comp lawyer is only entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation attorney fees on genuine disputes.  This means that if you hire a work comp lawyer at the beginning of your claim, and the employer/insurer do not dispute anything (wage loss, medical, etc.), the work comp attorney cannot make a claim for fees.  Also, many of the attorney fees are paid for by an employer/insurer.  For example, if an injured worker’s doctor requests that an MRI be performed, the insurer denies payment, and the Minnesota work comp lawyer succeeds in getting the MRI paid for, those fees will be paid for by the insurer/employer. Because of this, it is important for an injured employee to obtain a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer at the beginning of the case for a few reasons.  One, there are many different time deadlines that must be adhered to and failure to adhere to them can adversely effect the case.  Second, if a dispute does arise the work comp attorney has all the information and can make a quick decision and take quick action on the case. Our  lawyers will review your work comp case to make sure you are getting all the benefits you deserve.  Our Minneapolis/St.Paul work comp lawyers will take the time to explain how workers’ compensation attorney fees factor into your case so you can make appropriate decisions regarding your work comp case.

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How Long Can You Collect Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

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Workers’ compensation benefits provide a lifeline to injured workers and their families. Workers’ comp not only covers medical bills to treat a workers’ injuries, but can also provide wage loss benefits when the worker cannot return to his or her old job. One question we receive is “How long can you receive workers’ compensation benefits?” This is a perfectly valid question, especially if you have been so injured that you are not earning as much as you did before. Many workers are rightfully afraid that their benefits will run out. Wage Loss Benefits Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system provides for four types of wage loss benefits that can replace some or all of the income you have lost because of an injury. Temporary total disability: the worker cannot return to work temporarily because of an injury. Temporary partial disability: the worker has temporary physical restrictions due to the injury that keeps him or her from making the same amount as before the accident. Permanent partial disability: the worker has lost the use of a body part, such as a hand or foot. Permanent total disability: the worker cannot return to work at all because of a disability. Remember that wage loss benefits only replace a portion of your lost wages, so even under the best circumstances, injured workers lose money. Duration of Temporary Disability Benefits Temporary wage loss benefits don’t last forever. Instead, the following limits apply: Temporary total disability: maximum of 130 weeks Temporary partial disability: maximum of 225 weeks Workers should talk with their doctor about their expected recovery time and what they need to do to reach maximum medical improvement. If you have a partial disability, you can hopefully pick up new skills so that you can transition to a new job. Duration of Permanent Total Disability Workers with the most severe injuries will be out of the workplace possibly forever and can draw permanent total disability benefits until retirement. (If you have a permanent partial disability, you might receive payment in a lump sum.) Under the law, the age of retirement is presumed to be age 67. Of course, a worker can try to rebut this presumption by proving to a judge that he or she would have continued working past age 67. In reality, though, this is very hard to do, and most people who are totally disabled see their benefits end at age 67. Get all the Benefits You Are Entitled To It should come as no surprise that many employers and insurers try to force injured workers back into work, or they try to cut off benefits early. You might need an attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve. At Arechigo & Stokka, we have helped countless injured workers maximize the amount of compensation they can receive. Doing so affords them peace of mind, as they know their expenses and their loved ones will be taken care of. Contact us today. We offer a free, no-risk compensation where we can learn more about your accident and injuries.

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Can You Collect Workers’ Compensation and Short-Term Disability at the Same Time?

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Workers’ compensation insurance and short-term disability (STD) insurance are very different. Workers’ compensation covers injuries that are sustained on the job or illnesses that a worker contracts because of their job. By contrast, short-term disability insurance covers injuries that happen outside the workplace. For example, if you fall at work and get a concussion, you might be out of work for 8 weeks. You can receive workers’ compensation wage loss benefits during this time because you were injured on the job. However, you can’t get STD benefits because they don’t cover on-the-job injuries. Conversely, if you were injured in a skiing accident while on vacation, then you will probably draw STD benefits because you were injured outside work. You were not injured on the job. For these reasons, the answer to the question “Can you collect workers’ comp and short-term disability at the same time?” is usually “no.” Why is My Employer Telling Me to File for Short-Term Disability? Short-term disability insurance is usually offered through an insurer as an employee benefit. Your employer probably picks the insurer and you have the option of selecting short-term disability insurance. You might pay all or part of the premiums for the STD policy. If you were injured, your employer might tell you to apply for STD benefits—even if you were injured on the job. Clearly, this is the wrong advice. Most STD policies contain provisions stating that workers’ comp is responsible for wage loss benefits when you are injured on the job. Sometimes, an employer is confused about how workers’ comp and short-term disability relate to each other, so perhaps the wrong advice was in good faith. In other situations, however, an employer wants to file for short-term disability benefits precisely so you don’t make a claim on their workers’ comp insurance policy. Often, an employer is afraid that your claim will cause the insurance premiums to increase. To keep that from happening, your employer tells you to file for STD benefits instead. This is not a legitimate request, and you should meet with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options. What if Short-Term Disability Pays More? Unfortunately, you can’t make a false claim to receive STD benefits, so you can’t say you were injured outside work if that is not true. Furthermore, most short-term disability policies only provide benefits for a year. The workers’ comp system, which is much larger, could potentially pay permanent wage loss benefits, depending on your injury. It is to your benefit to go through the workers’ compensation system if you were injured on the job. Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorneys If you have been injured, you are probably worried about how you will replace your lost income. Contact Arechigo & Stokka today. Our firm has helped many workers receive the benefits they need after a terrible workplace accident. We can guide you through the workers’ compensation process and handle any appeal. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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Undocumented Workers and Workers Compensation

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Many undocumented workers in Minnesota who suffer injuries at work are nervous about filing a work comp claim. They do not know whether filing a work comp claim will alert authorities to their illegal presence in the United States. Minnesota law has addressed this issue. Status as an undocumented worker does not prohibit an injured employee from receiving workers compensation benefits. MINNESOTA SUPREME COURT SAYS UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS CAN RECEIVE WORKERS COMPENSATION BENEFITS. In 2000, an employee by the name of Fernando Correa suffered a lower back injury while at work.  Correa underwent several surgeries and received wage loss benefits.  In 2001, Correa’s employer and insurer terminated the Correa’s position based on his lack of legal authority to work in the United States.  They also petitioned to discontinue his wage loss benefits. Following a work comp hearing, the workers compensation judge rejected the employer’s argument that the employee’s wage loss was due to his unauthorized status and the employee was awarded wage loss benefits. The matter was appealed to both the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court.  The Minnesota Supreme Court held that as long as the employee was able to document a diligent job search, then he was entitled to workers compensation benefits even though he was an undocumented worker. The case was then sent back to the Minnesota Work Comp Court of Appeals to decide the case in light of the decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court. The issue became whether undocumented workers can conduct diligent job searches under Minnesota workers compensation law to trigger receiving work comp benefits.  Correa’s employer argued that there is a fundamental and insurmountable problem in providing appropriate rehabilitation and job search assistance to undocumented workers, and further argued that it is a federal crime under the Immigration Reform Control Act for an individual to recruit or refer an undocumented worker for employment. The Minnesota Work Comp Court of Appeals held that the employee’s undocumented status does not by itself prohibit him from receiving workers compensation benefits.  The Court of Appeals held that a workers compensation judge, in determining the eligibility of workers compensation benefits for undocumented workers, must conduct an analysis of the employee’s physical condition, level of permanent partial disability, age, training, experience, and the type of work available in the community. In summary, an injured employee’s status as an undocumented worker does not, by itself, prohibit receiving workers compensation benefits. However, status as an undocumented worker is a factor a judge can consider as it pertains to wage loss benefits because it could impact the ability to conduct a diligent job search. HIRE FARMINGTON MINNESOTA’S BEST WORKERS COMP ATTORNEYS If you are an undocumented worker and have suffered a work injury and have reservations about filing a claim, please contact our office for a free consultation

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Workplace Injuries

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One of the key ideas behind workers’ comp laws is that the employer provides a benefit to an employee that covers any on-the-job injury, regardless of what that injury may be and without having to determine who was at fault. The fact is that there are real limits behind the type of injury and even how the injury occurred. Such an exclusion occurs when an employee is injured while engaging in an illegal activity or if the injury was self-inflected. If the injury occurred while the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then they will not be covered. An employee may also not be covered if they were engaging in a restricted activity. However, there are many injuries that are covered by workplace accidents and they can happen on or off the employer’s property. If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits to help you pay your living expenses, as well as provide you with the medical care and vocational services that you need. OBTAINING COMPENSATION FOR YOUR WORKPLACE INJURY A work-related injury doesn’t need to occur on the employer’s property. If an employee is at another facility, traveling on the job, working off-site, in an automobile during a work-related activity, or doing anything that is considered related to their job, then the injury can be classified as work-related. Even if an illness doesn’t show up for years, it may still be considered compensable. This can include respiratory issues, mesothelioma, or cancer. Illnesses that include the flu, a headache that is believed to be the result of something on the job, or complications from a mosquito bite are examples of illnesses that are not considered compensable through workers’ comp. Mental illnesses may also be covered if they are the result of an event that occurred on the job. There is a great deal of scrutiny when it comes to these cases. However, what is not compensable are emotional injuries that occur from something such as defamation or discrimination. PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS When you do decide to file a workers’ comp claim, what an employer can’t do is retaliate against you for filing a workers’ comp claim in the way of firing or demotion. If a claim is denied due to bad faith, then your Minnesota work comp attorney will get to the bottom of the matter as soon as possible and be able to get results for you. Throughout the entire process, your rights will be protected, your interests will come first, and everything will be done for you to receive the benefits that you deserve. CONTACT A ST. PAUL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER Workplace injuries can be devastating. You go to work as usual and expect to come home as usual. Instead, something happens that results in a serious injury. From there, medical care is needed and so is financial support in order to pay for living expenses. If you need to file your claim, the help of a workers’ comp attorney will improve the accuracy of the claim. If you have been denied, then you can appeal that denial. To learn more about your workers’ comp filing options, contact Arechigo & Stokka at 651-222-6603 to schedule a free consultation.

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What Happens at a Work Compensation Hearing?

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In most work injury cases, the injured worker’s attorney and the representatives from the workers’ compensation insurance provider negotiate a settlement for past wages, medical bills and any other benefits you may be eligible for. In a small percentage of cases, where the insurance company and the lawyer representing the injured worker cannot come to an agreement, the case will go to a hearing. Purpose of a Workers’ Compensation Hearing The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether the injured worker is eligible for work comp benefits. Both sides (the injured worker and the insurance company denying their benefits) present their evidence to a work comp judge who will decide whether or not the requested benefits should be awarded to the injured worker. Process of a Workers’ Compensation Hearing The process is similar to a court room but less formal than a traditional court of law. While it’s not required, it is certainly suggested that you have an attorney for the hearing.  Before the hearing, both sides will typically exchange whatever evidence they are bringing to the hearing. The hearing is overseen by a workers’ comp judge; there is not a jury present.  When you have the workers’ compensation lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka on your side we will help you prepare for, and successfully work through your workers’ compensation hearing. Evidence that will Be Introduced at a Work Comp Hearing During the hearing both sides will present evidence including medical records, statements from the hospital, witness testimony, reports, photos or videos. The judge will then make a ruling within 60 days of the hearing.  Outcomes of a Workers’ Compensation Hearing After the hearing either you will have been granted the benefits that you requested, or if they were again denied, then we can work towards filing an appeal.  Free Consultation for Injured Workers Only a small percentage of work injury claims go all the way to the point of having a hearing. You do not have to wait until the point of the hearing to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer.  You can hire an attorney to help you through the entire process. This can often put you in a much better position to negotiate a favorable settlement before the need for a hearing even arises.  It costs $0.00 to hire a work comp lawyer to represent you. We are paid a percentage of the recovery we secure on your behalf, so if you do not win, you pay nothing. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options and the benefits that may be available to you.

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