August 15, 2018 Guest Post – Meuser Law Office, P.A. “What I wish My Clients Knew”
Report, report, report your injury!
Let’s say you have been a St. Paul firefighter for 18+ years and you have lived through numerous explosions or a Minneapolis police officer who has wrestled numerous suspects or kicked in doors, that does not mean the lingering ache in your low back or sharp pop in your shoulder will go away. You must report your injury, even if you think your injury will heal with some rest and ice, the injury may become more serious. Trying to save yourself some paperwork might actually cost you thousands of dollars in the end.
Don’t lie to your attorney.
Holding back or editing out important details just makes the attorney’s job harder. We take the facts as we have them and it’s my job to take the facts and make a legal case. It’s not your job to massage the facts for me. If I know that you’ve treated with a chiropractor for the last 8 years before your low back injury, I can work with that! If you have a pre-existing condition, that doesn’t mean your injury is not compensable under Minnesota work comp, PERA or MSRS. What hurts your case is when you don’t disclose that to me or the court and I find out about it 8 months into your case from the defense attorney.
Don’t play up or down-play your pain level.
A tough upper lip may help you gain respect at the fire station or at the precinct but it will not help you receive adequate medical care. If you don’t tell your doctors about your pain or what is bothering you, they cannot address your treatment or issue appropriate work restrictions. Similarly, if in a deposition the defense attorney asks you to describe your pain level and you look them dead in the eye and say 10/10 as you sit here today, that is not helpful and now they think that you are exaggerating to your doctors as well. If you experience pain spikes to a 7/10 level in the evening or sits at a dull 3/10 during the day, say that! You do not need to be in absolute agony in order to receive benefits.
Don’t argue with the adjuster.
The adjuster might be the most smug, obnoxious jerk on the planet. It may kill you to call and calmly remind them that you’re still missing your last work comp check, but screaming, swearing, or threatening the adjuster just makes my life harder. Once you have an attorney you should not be in contact with the adjuster at all. Everything goes through the attorney’s office – leave the fighting with the adjuster to us.
I’m not kidding when I said you have to document your job search.
When I tell you to keep job logs and provide you with the form to use, I need you to actually do them. No job logs, no money. It’s really just that simple. If you are off work due to a work injury I have to show the court that you are in fact conducting a diligent job search. The best way for you to do that is for me to walk in and be able to drop a stack of completed job logs in front of the defense attorney.
If I did not have a say in choosing your QRC, do not trust your QRC.
If the insurer, city, or county assigns you a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC), they won’t tell you that you have the absolute right to elect your own. However, you must do so in a strict time period or you forfeit that right. The QRC chosen by the insurance company might seem sweet and friendly but rest assured, he or she is not your friend. She is reporting everything you say and do right back to the insurer and employer and is looking to minimize their exposure so they will assign her to their next case.
If you or someone you know has suffered from a work injury contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. We will explain your rights under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act, PERA, MSRS, or personal injury. We will work to inform you of your rights and maximize your benefits under the claw. Contact us today for a free confidential, no-obligation case consultation at 1-877-746-5680.