Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Police Officer Writes Testimonial for Their Case Involving PERA Duty Disability, Healthcare Continuation and Work Comp Claims

Since day one, Meuser Law Office, P.A. has represented injured clients throughout Minnesota making sure the best possible results are obtained for their claims. We take great pride in our reputation and feel honored when a satisfied client takes a moment to thank us. Read what a recent client had to say about his experience with Meuser Law Office, and specifically our attorney Ashley Biermann.

Hi Ashley,

It's Thanksgiving week and I've always been brought up to reflect on what
I'm grateful for and to give thanks to God. I still try hard to do that
regularly. As you know, I was as close as one can get to essentially losing
everything including my home. It was a process, but I trusted you and your
office and God that things would work out. They really have turned around
and words cannot express how grateful I really am. The money began flowing
exactly when it HAD to. My bills are now paid, my credit is rebuilding and
most importantly my sanity and PEACE has been restored. Man I love being at
peace again!

Without question this has been the most trying time of my life, and it's a
little weird to think that my attorney got me through it, but you really
did! I'm so damn grateful for everything you've done and all the work you've
put in. You also probably talked me off the ledge a couple times. I didn't
know what to expect going into this. All I know is that I'm grateful to you
and Meuser Law for everything you've done and continue to do. Thank you for
your honesty, integrity, wittiness, intelligence, professionalism,
promptness, compassion, and hard work. I greatly appreciate all you've done.


Please also thank Ron, Hannah, and anyone else at your office that played a
part. Feel free to forward. Thanks again. God bless and have a good
Thanksgiving.

—a Minnesota police officer

This particular client is a Minnesota police officer injured in the line of duty that we represented for PERA Duty Disability, healthcare continuation benefits and workers’ compensation claims. Meuser Law Office, P.A. is one of the few workers’ compensation law firms in the state of Minnesota that also handles PERA and MSRS disability claims. We’ve successfully represented hundreds of State Patrol, police officers and firefighters throughout the state for both workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability claims. We explain what rights you have and make recommendations to you in terms of how to best protect your rights to those benefits. The knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. can help make the process easier to navigate. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 1-877-746-5680.

Ashley Biermannby Ashley Biermann
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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meuser Law Office, P.A. is a proud sponsor of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis is the largest non-affiliated law enforcement union in the state of Minnesota with over 900 active members. Ron Meuser and the attorneys of Meuser Law Office, P.A. look forward to working closely with a Federation which operates with the goal of working towards a safer, more livable city and continually improving the working conditions as well as making sure the rights are protected for the police officers who work in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis has represented police officers who are employed by the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, from the new Academy graduates all the way to the rank of Captain. Since 1972 the Federation has served its members in the traditional role of negotiating and enforcing the collective bargaining agreement as well as critical incidents, investigations of officers conducted under the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights, and lobbying to advance the public policy interests of members at the local, state and federal levels.

Lt. Bob Kroll, President of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis had this to say about the sponsorship: “We really appreciate Meuser Law Office sponsoring our organization. We look forward to introducing them to our members and sharing their information that will assist police officers, should they become injured in the line of duty. Given their longevity and expertise, we believe they’ll be a valuable resource for the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.” Ron Meuser and his team also look forward to assisting Lt. Kroll and the members of his Federation and getting to know them better by attending events like their annual Minneapolis Police Federation Charities, Inc. Golf Tournament next summer.

Established in 1990, Meuser Law Office, P.A. is recognized as one of the top law firms in Minnesota dedicated exclusively to the integrated practice of workers’ compensation, PERA/MSRS disability, and personal injury law. With over 30 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Meuser Law Office have the depth of knowledge in these often closely-tied areas of law representing Minnesota’s police officers to ensure that their interests are fully protected. The attorneys at Meuser Law Office will share some of their knowledge with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis by posting blog articles on their website http://www.mpdfederation.com/category/blog/. Read a larger sampling of articles from Meuser Law Office at www.peraworkcompattorney.com.

Meuser Law Office, P.A. is one of the few workers’ compensation law firms in the state of Minnesota that also handles PERA and MSRS disability claims. We’ve successfully represented hundreds of Minnesota’s first responders, including police officers throughout the state for both workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability claims. Unlike other local law firms that only focus on one area or the other, the attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. will handle your case with a full understanding of all three areas and how they interrelate so you can be assured you will receive every benefit and all the compensation you are entitled under the law. Sitting down with us for a consultation to learn more about your potential claims is a lot like financial planning. We can explain what rights you have and make recommendations to you in terms of how to best protect your rights to those benefits. The knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. can help make the process easier to navigate. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 1-877-746-5680.

Ron Meuserby Ron Meuser
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Law Enforcement Labor Services (LELS) Steward Training

Earlier last month, Ron Meuser and Jen Yackley of Meuser LawOffice, P.A. were invited back by Minnesota Law Enforcement Labor Services (LELS) to share information that is important to its members. In August, 2016, Ron and Jen met with business agents as well as their legal department and spoke about the complex issues Minnesota’s Peace Officers face when they are dealing with an injury sustained in the line of duty.

Founded in 1977, Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc. is Minnesota’s largest law enforcement labor union specializing in representing law enforcement personnel. The mission of Law Enforcement Labor Services is to represent the interests and priorities of its members. LELS provides professional representation and advocates for its members in areas such as:
  • Legal matters
  • Competitive pay and benefits
  • Negotiating safer working conditions
Understanding the great risk Minnesota’s Peace Officers are in each day, Ron and Jen provided training to over 65 LELS stewards to ensure they know the steps to communicate and benefit eligibility if a peace or police officer sustains an injury in the line of duty. Oftentimes there are multiple benefit claim types involved with one injury so it is imperative the individual works with an attorney knowledgeable in Minnesota workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability law from the beginning. Topics covered included:
  • Overview of workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability benefits
  • Workers’ compensation wage loss benefits
  • Motor vehicle accident injuries
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder and other special situations
  • Continuation of health insurance benefits
These topics, general tips, and much more were discussed in detail. A laminated, 3-hole punched document was given to each of the LELS stewards attending the session. This document will be a great resource to any steward should they have to consult with a peace officer injured in the line of duty. If your organization would like a similar document produced, call 1-877-746-5680. Or, simply download it for your reference.


Meuser Law Office, P.A. is one of the few workers’ compensation law firms in the state of Minnesota that also handles PERA and MSRS disability claims. We’ve successfully represented hundreds of the state’s first responders for both workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability claims. Sitting down with us to learn more about your potential claim is much like financial planning. We can explain what rights you have and make recommendations to you in terms of how to best protect your rights to those benefits. The knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. can help the often complex process easier to navigate. Contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation by calling 1-877-746-5680

Ron Meuserby Ron Meuser
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Injured Police Officer and Firefighter Timing Issues for PERA Disability Benefits

If you are an injured police officer or firefighter in the state of Minnesota, there are some timing issues that you need to be aware of. First and foremost, if you are going to be applying for a PERA disability benefit you need to apply less than 18 months from the date of your termination. If you do not apply within 18 months of your termination, you are not eligible.



We do occasionally see this situation arise, unfortunately, where an individual has retained a workers' compensation attorney who does not practice PERA and who is not aware of PERA.  In fact, I am aware of one case I can think of as an example where the workers’ compensation claim was very heavily contested and it was very heavily litigated and during the pendency of the litigation her work comp attorney advised her to ‘just hold off on filing for PERA’.

Unfortunately, by the time all was said and done and the client’s workers’ compensation claim was over, the 18 months had passed, within which she would have had time to apply for her PERA benefit. So, this client may have received work comp benefits but she lost out completely on her PERA benefit because she did not file within that 18-month time period.

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 consultation and claim evaluation. 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. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680.

Jennifer Yackleyby Jen Yackley
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What Should I Expect From My Work Comp Lawyer?

At Meuser Law Office, P.A. we pride ourselves in the work we do and the commitment we make to our clients. We are one of the few workers’compensation law firms in the state of Minnesota that also handles PERA and MSRS disability claims. Our attorneys are experienced in these areas of law and have successfully represented thousands of clients, including State Patrol, police officers and firefighters throughout the state for both workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability claims.

When choosing an attorney to represent you, you should expect a free consultation. Work comp attorneys in the state of Minnesota are paid on a contingency fee basis, which means you will not be charged unless the attorney recovers benefits or monies on your behalf. All work comp attorneys are paid the same in the state of Minnesota pursuant to statute. Typically, you will meet in-person with an attorney before you make a hiring decision. Good attorneys spend an hour with potential clients in-person gathering information about the client’s potential case, explaining the law and providing recommendations for your case. If you are meeting only with a paralegal instead of an attorney, you should consider this a red flag and request to meet with a lawyer. Sometimes it’s not possible to meet face-to-face due to distance or work schedules so in that case, it’s appropriate to schedule a telephone consultation with the attorney.

Once the attorney has been hired, there are some basic things you should expect from your attorney going forward, such as:     
  • Client should expect an honest assessment and valuation of the case. It doesn’t help you if your attorney doesn’t tell you both the good and the bad parts of your case. All cases have “warts.”
  • Return phone calls and emails in a reasonable amount of time. At times it may be best to schedule a telephone call with your attorney for a status update through an office paralegal.
  • All communication to the insurance company’s adjuster and/or insurer’s attorney should go through your attorney’s office. Your attorney is the main point of contact for your case.

As the case gets underway, the client should expect to receive copies of work done on his or her behalf by their attorney, including correspondence to opposing counsel, claim petitions, and any paperwork sent to the court. Various phases of the case, including independent medical examination (IME), settlement conferences, formal hearings, and depositions will happen throughout the work comp case. The client can expect to be notified of these litigation events in advance and should know what to expect at each step of the way so there is no confusion. Other examples of what a client should expect from an attorney may be:
  • Prior to a mediation or settlement conference his or her attorney will create a demand letter that will outline the monetary claim for benefits. This demand letter must be approved by the client before being sent to the attorney for the insurer and employer.
  • If a client will be consulting with a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC) during their case, when appropriate, your attorney should choose and recommend a QRC, send job logs to help track your job search, and mileage logs for reimbursement.
  • Your attorney should never settle your case without your permission. You will be involved in the negotiation process and likewise you will not try to settle your case on your own without your lawyer. Your lawyer will give his or her recommendation but to settle or not to settle is your decision alone. 

Clients should expect that attorneys limit their practice to one or two areas of law. An attorney who deals with criminal law, including DUI cases and restraining orders, is not going to be up to date on the complex workers’ compensation and personal injury areas of law. You want an attorney that is experienced in this particular type of law. Even though all workers’ compensation attorneys are paid the same in the State of Minnesota, all work comp attorneys are not equal. Why choose an inexperienced or less knowledge attorney when you can choose a team of experienced attorneys who practice exclusively in the area of work comp and personal injury for the same amount of money. If clients want to change attorneys at any time of their case, he or she is not charged extra for a change of attorney.

At the very least a client should expect a team of knowledgeable attorneys who will work together on your case and bounce ideas off each other. This type of approach will benefit the client the most. 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 consultation and claim evaluation. 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. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680.

Mary Beth Boyceby Mary Beth
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Amazon Warehouse Injury Work Comp Claims

Amazon is a powerhouse company that was first known as “the world’s biggest bookstore.” It has since been given the title of America’s largest retailer (online or off) employing nearly 240,000 people worldwide. Therefore, it is not surprising that Amazon has become a large employer in Minnesota since opening a fulfillment center in Shakopee. The Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota is a giant warehousing and shipping facility, which will employ upwards of 1,000 workers. This is great news in terms of local job creation but also brings with it a host of other concerns. Amazon has been accused of mistreating its warehouse employees in a variety of ways, including in the realm of workplace injuries.

Most of the positions available at the new Shakopee warehouse will be for “fulfillment associates”, a position that requires employees to compete against one another by filling online shoppers’ purchases. This position requires employees to work as fast as they can for as much as ten hours at a time. Each fulfillment associate’s performance will be monitored closely and if the associate’s pace is deemed to be too slow, he or she will be terminated. Many of these positions will offer no job security and carry a very serious risk of injury. This is particularly concerning because of Amazon’s history where the safety standards of their warehouse employees have been questioned with its responsibilities under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Thousands of employees in Minnesota work in manufacturing, construction, and warehouses, which requires the operation of heavy machinery and exposes workers to the risk of serious injury, even including death. For example, warehouse employees, including those working in Amazon fulfillment centers, are required to repeatedly lift heavy objects, operate forklifts, pallet jacks and other tools. This can cause ergonomic injuries to the back, neck, shoulders or knees over the course of time. Injuries referred to as “slip and trip” injuries are common in warehouses due to the presence of loose material such as sawdust, and liquid or boxes on the floor. Fall injuries are also fairly common because employees frequently work on raised platforms. In addition, in 2014 a Boston workers’ compensation attorney posted an article on their blog site stating that according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), two workers were killed within a 6 month timeframe while on the job. In December of 2013, a man was crushed to death at an Amazon fulfillment center after getting caught in a machine while sorting packages. Less than six months later, a woman working at an Amazon warehouse operating a power jack was died when boxes fell on her.

Despite what Amazon, or any other employer may tell you, when you sustain an injury on the job (serious or otherwise) your employer has certain responsibilities, including a duty to report the injury to the appropriate workers’ compensation office. It is very important that you report any injury that occurs at the work place because this will protect your potential benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. A compensable workers’ compensation injury could be a knee injury after slipping or falling on the job or could be an onset of neck or back pain from repetitive lifting or bending without any specific incident.

If you sustain an injury on the job, it is important that you contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in the area of workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, your employer will not always give you full and accurate information about the workers’ compensation system and the benefits to which you may be entitled. For example, according to a 2011 article by LawyersandSettlements.com, one strategy that Amazon has tried to implement in an effort avoid workers’ compensation liability is hiring a third party staffing agency, such as Integrity Staffing Solutions (ISS). By doing this, Amazon claims it is not the injured person’s employer instead ISS is the employer, and therefore Amazon is not liable for the injured worker’s wage loss or medical benefits. Whether Amazon would actually be considered your employer for purposes of workers’ compensation depends upon the unique facts of your case. But either way, your eligibility for wage loss, medical benefits and rehabilitation assistance under the Workers’ Compensation Act would remain the same.

Meuser Law Office, P.A. has handled thousands of workers’ compensation cases in the state of Minnesota, including warehouse injury claims. If you have been injured on the job, call Meuser Law Office, P.A. for a free no-obligation consultation to understand your rights. We can explain what rights you have and make recommendations to you in terms of how to best protect your rights to those benefits. The knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. can help make the process easier to navigate. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680.

Ashley Biermannby Ashley Biermann
More posts by Ashley

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How do I Prepare for My Deposition?

A deposition is an on the record formal oral interview. In Minnesota workers’ compensation claims, attorneys for employers and insurers typically conduct a formal interview of an injured employee. Depositions are used in the discovery phase of litigations. The parties may learn important information about where and when the injured worker sought medical care, witnesses to the accident, and his or her current medical condition. The deposition may even be introduced at evidence at a hearing or work comp trial.

Who is Present During a Deposition?

Court Reporter: this person transcribes the interview while the parties are speaking and later produces a written transcript of the deposition.

Deponent: the person who is being deposed or questioned. This may be the injured worker, an expert witness such as a doctor, or a witness.

Attorneys: the attorney who is taking the deposition will be present as well as the attorney for the deponent.

Sometimes, an employee represented will be present. He or she is allowed to observe but not talk at all during the proceedings. They are not allowed to nod or shake their head or to intimidate the witness. If he or she behaves inappropriately the employee representative will be asked to leave. Spouses or partners of the deponent may be allowed to observed but he or she is also not allowed to participate. A spouse may not indicate or motion to the deponent.

What Happens During the Deposition?

The court reporter will administer an oath to the deponent. The deponent will swear to tell the truth just as if he or she was testifying in court in front of a judge.  The attorney who asked for the deposition will begin questioning or interviewing the deponent. Sometimes the attorney for the deponent may ask questions after the other attorney has finished his or her questioning. Typically, in a workers’ compensation case, rarely will an attorney object to the line of questioning. Attorneys are generally allowed free rein to ask the deponent a variety of questions and objections are reserved for a formal hearing.

Where Will the Deposition Take Place?

Generally, the deposition will take place in the office of one of the law firms involved with the case. In a work comp case, if an attorney is taking a deposition of an injured worker, the deposition usually takes place in the office of the injured worker’s attorney. If you have been sent notice of a deposition, you should check where and when the deposition will be held. You should also plan on arriving early to speak with your attorney and to ensure plenty of time so you are not late.

How Long Will the Deposition Take?

Work comp depositions last approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours, but can be longer or shorter depending on the complexity of the issues or if the deponent has been deposed before for the same date of injury. The duration of the deposition differs from attorney to attorney for the insurer and employer and depends on the style of questioning. Usually the attorneys take at least one break. If you need more, just ask.

What Kinds of Questions Will I be Asked?
  1. Are you looking for work? Attorneys for the employers and insurers want to know if you are conducting a diligent job search. They may ask for job logs and examples of positions for which you have applied. If injured workers do not actively seek employment, he or she may not be entitled to certain types of wage loss benefits.
  2. When do you intend to retire? Attorneys for the employers and insurer may try to pressure you to state you planned on retiring at a young age, which could cut off your entitlement to work comp benefits until age 65.
  3. Do you have any prior injuries?
  4. Have you been convicted of a felony or a crime of dishonesty in the last 10 years?
  5. When did you first seek treatment?
  6. When did you first report your injury?
Tips:
  1. Tell the truth. Lying can severely hurt your case. All cases have bad facts. You hired an attorney to help deal with the bad facts.
  2. If you don’t understand the question, ask the attorney to re-phrase.
  3. If you don’t know an answer, tell them you don’t know.
  4. Don’t guess. If an answer is an estimate or a guess say that before answering the question.
  5. Don’t ramble. Answer the question but don’t pontificate. If the attorney wants more information he or she will ask follow-up questions.
  6. Dress appropriately. While you do not need to wear a suit or formal clothing, sloppy clothes should not be worn. A button-down or collar shirt with hole free jeans are appropriate.
  7. The court reporter can only record oral responses. Don’t nod or shake your head. Answer yes or no.
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 consultation and claim evaluation. 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. Call us today at 1-877-746-5680.

Mary Beth Boyceby Mary Beth
More posts by Mary Beth