Sunday, December 11, 2011
Ron and I had the honor of being invited to speak at the Annual Minnesota Conservation Officer’s Association meeting in St. Cloud on December 1, 2011. We gave a short presentation and held a question and answer session. We also had the pleasure of meeting several conservation officers and Mr. Bruce Lawrence, president of the MNCOA.
Our talk addressed the importance of reporting your injuries, making sure you plan ahead if you're suffering from an injury or condition that may prevent you from returning to your career as a conservation officer, and hearing loss claims.
Most members of the MNCOA are sworn law enforcement officers of the Minnesota DNR enforcement division. As peace officers, Minnesota conservation officers are subject to many of the same dangers as local police officers – injuries from altercations with suspects, injuries from dealing with dangerous individuals, injuries sustained while pursuing suspects. Conservation officers also face some unique dangers associated with performing a substantial portion of their enforcement activities outdoors – injuries from ATV and snowmobile accidents, slip and fall accidents due to rough outdoor terrain, exposure to the elements, and animal and insect bites.
Minnesota conservation officers are eligible for workers’compensation benefits, including medical benefits, wage loss benefits, permanency benefits, and rehabilitation benefits for on-the-job injuries.
As licensed peace officers, Minnesota conservation officers are also eligible for MSRS duty disability benefits and continuation of healthcare insurance under Minn. Stat. §299A.265 for in-the-line-of-duty injuries expected to prevent that officer from performing his or her normal duties for a period of a year or more.
We STRONGLY recommend that if you are a Minnesota conservation officer, or any other peace officer in the State of Minnesota, and you have a work-related injury, and you are concerned about your ability to continue performing your job, BEFORE you make any major decisions, talk to a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer that is also knowledgeable about MSRS and PERA duty disability benefits. There are things you can do to maximize your eligibility for both your workers’ compensation benefits, and your MSRS benefits. Unfortunately, there are also simple mistakes you can make that can cost you thousands and thousands of dollars.
We are happy to provide a FREE, NO-OBLIGATION consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation benefits, as well as your eligibility for MSRS and/or PERA duty disability benefits.