November 8, 2018 Guest Post – Meuser Law Office, P.A. “What Should I do if I am a Peace Officer Injured While on Duty?”
If you have sustained an injury while on duty, it is important to contact an experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney right away. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to successfully establish a claim. Here are 5 important steps to follow when filing a claim to ensure you take advantage of the benefits you are entitled to under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act:
(1) Talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before you do a recorded statement or proceed any further in the workers’ compensation process.
Sometimes employers will tell employees that lawyers are “expensive” or say something else to discourage the injured officer from obtaining legal advice. This behavior is against the law! Intentionally obstructing an employee from seeking workers’ compensation benefits is not permitted under Minnesota Statute §176.82, subdivision 1. Employees can bring a civil claim for damages against his or her employer.
Work comp attorneys in Minnesota are not paid unless there is a dispute. Work comp attorneys are all paid the same in Minnesota and the pay is set by statute. Also, Minnesota work comp attorneys do not require a retainer.
An attorney is able to handle all aspects of the claim process, such as:
- Ensuring you receive the maximum benefits you are due, even if the insurer initially denies
- Correctly calculating wage loss benefits
- Managing any employer retaliation
- Handling the process of denied medical care
- Fighting an insurer who is attempting to terminate your wage loss or medical benefits
(2) File a First Report of Injury.
The First Report of Injury (FROI) puts your employer on notice that you have sustained an injury that you believe occurred in the course and scope of your employment. It is important to notify your employer sooner rather than later in order to avoid any notice or statute of limitations issues that could prevent you from being able to bring a workers’ compensation claim at all. Once you report an injury to your employer the employer is required to complete and file a First Report of Injury with the State of Minnesota.
(3) Keep track of out-of-pocket expenses and medical mileage.
Record and save all out-of-pocket expenses and medical mileage. Keep a log of your visits to physical therapy, medical appointments, and exams. Save all paperwork you receive from the Department of Labor and Industry, your employer, and the work comp insurance carrier regarding your claim.
(4) Request your own Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC).
A Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) is appointed to help the injured worker return back to work at the same rate of pay. Injured workers have the right to choose their own QRC, but the work comp insurer carrier will not inform you that you have right until it’s too late to elect a change of QRC. You have the right to change the Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant within the first 60 days of one being appointed. Some QRCs are more employee friendly while others are much more friendly to the insurance carriers. A biased QRC can minimize the nature and the extent of injures to your employer, push the treating physician to release you back to work or to reduce your restrictions, or not ensure the employer is accommodating all your restrictions during light duty. A biased QRC can hurt the value of your work comp claim which is why it is important to choose your own and not use the Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant appointed by the insurance company.
(5) Continue to treat with your doctor or medical professional if you are having issues.
If you avoid treating or delay treatment because you think that if you treat conservatively then the work comp insurance carrier will not cut off your benefits, you are actually hurting your Minnesota workers’ compensation claim. The employer and insurer will use the lack of treatment as an excuse to try to cut off your medical or wage loss benefits.
Don’t wait to get an attorney involved if you have a Minnesota workers’ compensation claim. The process can be complex and you want to be sure you receive the full benefits you are entitled. Contact Meuser Law Office, P.A. for a free no-obligation in person evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys to review any claims you may have under workers’ compensation, PERA/MSRS, or personal injury. At Meuser Law Office, P.A. we keep our clients informed of the process as well as what to expect each step of the way.