Sunday, July 29, 2012

Is My MN Workers' Comp. Claim Denied?

In our Minnesota workers’ compensation law practice, we regularly see even the most legitimate workers’ compensation claims being denied by workers’ compensation insurance companies. If primary liability is denied on your Minnesota workers’ compensation claim, you should strongly consider consulting with a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer. 

If you’ve sustained an on-the-job injury in Minnesota, your employer is supposed to report your injury to their workers’ compensation insurance company by filing a First Report of Injury form within 10 days of the date they had knowledge of your injury, or 10 days from the date that you reported your injury. If you miss more than three calendar days of work, the insurer is required to file the First Report of Injury form with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

The workers’ compensation insurance company has up to 14 days from the date your employer had notice of your injury within which to file a Notice of Primary Liability Determination in the event that the insurer is denying primary liability on your claim. In some cases, the insurance company may make initial payments on your case, and then after conducting an “investigation,” retroactively deny primary liability.

A Notice of Primary Liability Determination which denies liability requires a statement setting forth “a specific reason for the denial which must be in language easily readable and understandable…and a clear statement of the facts forming the basis for the denial.” If primary liability is denied on your Minnesota workers’ compensation case, it generally starts the running of a three-year Statute of Limitations. Unfortunately, not all employers or insurance companies follow these rules. Moreover, an insurer’s denial of primary liability on a workers’ compensation case is not always justified. In many cases, the basis for the denial is questionable or just plain wrong.

A Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney can help you contest a denial of primary liability on your workers’ compensation case. For a free, no-obligation case consultation, call Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Diagnostic Tests for Cervical Herniated Discs

If your doctor suspects that you have a herniated disc in your cervical spine (neck) as the result of a work-related injury, you may be referred to undergo diagnostic tests to confirm a diagnosis. 


An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is the most common test used to diagnose a herniated disc. An MRI scan can image disc bulges, herniations, and nerve root impingement.

CT Scan

A CT (computerized tomography) scan combines x-ray views from many different angles to produce cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body. A CT scan may also performed using injected contrast dye, called a CT myleogram, to better visualize nerve root compression.


Discography involves the insertion of a small needle into the discs to inject contrast dye. If the injection reproduces your pain, it confirms that the injected disc is the source of your pain.


An EMG (Electromyography) is an electrical test involving stimulating specific nerves and inserting needles into various muscles in the arms and legs that may be affected by a pinched nerve. An EMG can help confirm the presence of nerve impingement, and help pin-point which nerve is causing you trouble.

In Minnesota, if you’ve sustained a work-related injury, and your doctor directs you to undergo an MRI, a CT scan, a discography, or an EMG to help diagnose your injury, these tests are often covered by Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance. Referrals for diagnostic studies such as MRIs, CT scans, discograhpies, or EMGs, are commonly the source of disputes in Minnesota workers’ compensation cases.

If the workers’ compensation insurance company is refusing to authorize the diagnostic procedure your doctor has recommended, a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer can help you get the medical care you need. Call Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email for a free, no-obligation Minnesota workers’ compensation legal consultation. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Is Skin Cancer Covered by Workers’ Comp. in Minnesota?

That’s a tough question. While skin cancer, in some instances, could arguably be an occupational disease that was substantially caused by a workers’ sun exposure at work, the difficulty is in proving the medical causal relationship between the skin cancer and the work activities.

While there are a few cases in other states awarding benefits for work-related skin cancer, I’m not aware of any case law in Minnesota awarding workers’ compensation benefits for skin cancer as a result of a workers’ exposure to the sun. Please, if I am incorrect, and you are aware of a case awarding benefits, let me know by emailing me or posting a comment below.

In my opinion, some factors that would come into play in determining the compensability of sun-exposure related skin cancer would include:
  •  The strength of medical causation opinions, both for and against. 
  • The length of time the employee worked in an occupation involving sun exposure. 
  • Alternative personal risk factors, including smoking, family history, etc. 
  • The location of the skin cancer, i.e., did it develop in a particular spot that is always exposed to the sun as a result of work activities? 
  • Other sun exposure history, i.e., outdoor recreational activities, tanning, sun bathing, etc. 
Sun exposure is without question, a cause of skin cancer, whether that exposure is during work hours, or outside of work hours. Because it is so difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of skin cancer in terms of which period of sun exposure caused the cancer to develop, workers who develop skin cancer are probably going to have a difficult time in establishing these occupational disease claims for purposes of Minnesota workers' compensation coverage.

Regardless of whether skin cancer is covered under workers’ compensation or not, it is preventable. Employees who work outdoors should always take precautions to avoid excessive sun exposure.
  • If possible, avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 2 pm. 
  • Apply high SPF sunscreen prior to sun exposure, and re-apply often. 
  • Wear a hat and a long-sleeve shirt. 
  • Wear sunglasses. 
For a free, no-obligation Minnesota workers' compensation case consultation contact Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Material Handler and Order Picker Workplace Safety

Order picking and material handling is an important task in most manufacturing industries, and unfortunately, on-the-job injuries are not uncommon. 

Back injuries incurred while lifting are among the most common hazards for order pickers. But order pickers also face risks of other types of injuries, including trips and falls, shoulder, elbow or arm strains, injuries from falling objects, and injuries involving forklifts and other material-handling equipment.

Order pickers and other material handlers should observe the following precautions to avoid the most common types of on-the-job injuries:
  • Use material-handling aids, such as hand trucks and four-wheeled carts whenever possible to minimize heavy lifting and carrying. 
  • Keep materials and supplies stored at a level between the knees and shoulders. It is much more physically strenuous to lift things from below knee level or from above shoulder height. 
  • Slide, push, or pull materials and supplies whenever possible to avoid heavy lifting and carrying. 
  • Avoid twisting the body while carrying a heavy object. Ask a co-worker for help when carrying a heavy object. 
  • Use both hands when carrying loads and keep the load lose to the body. 
  • Rotate heaving lifting duties with lighter work to reduce the wear and tear on the body. 
Many of today’s warehouses also store supplies and materials on high shelving units, sometimes up to 30 feet in height. Employees often perform order picking using operator-up lift trucks, which increases the risk of serious injuries due to a fall. Order pickers working at heights should be equipped with and wear proper fall protection, which usually means a full-body harness with a fixed-length or retractable tether. The working platform should be elevate only when actual order picking is in progress, and employees should understand load capacities and stability requirements of the equipment to avoid tip-over accidents due to overloads or unstable loads. Employees should also watch out for overhead obstructions, and the operator should avoid turning while the platform is elevated with a load to avoid tip-over accidents.

Warehouse or manufacturing order picker or material handler injuries commonly include back injuries, musculoskeletal sprains and strains, and injuries due to falls.

In Minnesota, workers who sustain injuries in the course and scope of their employment may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expense benefits, wage loss benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits, and permanent partial disability benefits.

If you've sustained an on-the-job injury in Minnesota, call Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email for a free, no-obligation workers' compensation case evaluation.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Help in Settling Your Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you’re suffering from a work-related injury, you not only have to deal with the physical symptoms of your injury, but you have the added stress of trying to deal with the workers’ compensation insurance company, trying to understand your rights and avoiding mistakes, and maybe even dealing with the uncertainty as to whether you’ll be able to continue working or not. Often times, injured workers want to settle their workers’ compensation claims in exchange for a lump sum, and in many cases, this is a good option. 

Unfortunately, trying to settle your case on your own is usually not a good idea. Minnesota workers’ compensation law is extremely complex. Workers’ compensation insurance adjusters deal with workers’ compensation law all day, every day. They know the rules; you probably don’t. They can spot potential problems on your case; you may not even be aware these potential problems exist. They recognize potential claims you may have, but they are not obligated to tell you about them. To make the playing field even less equal, insurance adjuster often hire defense attorneys to give them advice and guidance, particularly if there are disputes on your claim.

The deck is stacked against injured workers. 

A good Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer can help you level the playing field, particularly if you’re exploring settlement of your case. There are literally dozens of factors that come into play in determining a fair settlement value of a workers’ compensation case, and a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you evaluate these factors. In order give yourself the best chance of securing the best results on your case, or increasing your odds of protecting your rights, you will want a legal ally on your side with just as much experience and knowledge about the workers’ compensation system as the other side has.

Educating yourself about your Minnesota workers’ compensation rights is the first step in protecting those rights. For a free, no-obligation workers’ compensation case consultation, contact Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys. 

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