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Ron Meuser

Re-Introduced Bill Seeks to Help First Responders with PTSD

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PERA

Workers' Compensation

Personal Injury

PTSD_KSTP_billWhen the Minnesota legislature opened the 2017 session, a crucial bill that directly affects Minnesota’s first responders who suffer from PTSD was re-introduced. This bill was originally presented in April of 2016, and did not pass at that time although information has been communicated and much awareness has been raised about this important topic.
Meuser Law Office, P.A. understands the importance of legislature such as this and created a petition in April 2016 to help spread the word and gather support for this bill. We encourage all current and former law enforcement officers, firefighters, State Troopers, first responders, and family and friends of Minnesota's first responders to sign and share this petition and/or contact their legislators to urge them to support this important bill.

The bill’s author, Senator-elect Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, is also a police officer in Cottage Grove. Senator-elect Schoen recently called a meeting in the Senate Office Building to hear from Minnesotans affected by PTSD. Among the people who spoke was St. Paul firefighter and paramedic, Brian Cristofono. Brian, a current client of Meuser Law Office, P.A., says fire departments need to talk about PTSD more and take this issue more seriously. “We spend so much time learning how to save ourselves, how to rescue people, but we don’t give any training time to PTSD or mental health”.

Recently, KSTP Channel 5 Eyewitness News ran a story on this PTSD bill featuring Minnesotans directly affected by PTSD, including Brian Cristofono. Take a moment to watch the KSTP Eyewitness News story with emotions ranging from sad to tragic:

http://kstp.com/politics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-first-responders-state-legislature-minnesota/4349988/?cat=1

Continue reading the original article from our blog site below:

New Bill Seeks to Help First Responders with PTSD

This week, the Minnesota legislature issued a News Release announcing the introduction of a bill that could have major implications for Minnesota’s first responders who suffer from PTSD.

Since October 1, 2013, the Minnesota workers’ compensation law has recognized post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a “covered” injury for purposes of workers’ compensation law. In the 2 ½ years since the law passed, in our practice, we have unfortunately seen some workers’ compensation insurers take a “full court press” approach to defending against these cases – many involving police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers. We have seen cases where a police officer clearly and obviously suffers from profound PTSD as the result of terrible trauma, and yet the workers’ compensation insurer denies that it was “traumatic enough” of an event, or hires an adverse doctor to offer an outrageous opinion that the person doesn’t have PTSD.

This week, Rep. Dan Schoen (DFL – St. Paul Park) and Sen. Matt Schmit (DFL – Red Wing) introduced a bill that would include post-traumatic stress disorder under the “presumption” section of the Workers’ Compensation Act – meaning that post-traumatic stress disorder would be “presumed” to be work-related for some specific first responders, including police officers, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, conservation officers, and others.

While PTSD is currently covered under Minnesota Workers’ Compensation, this statute would change the burden of proof – meaning that it would no longer be the employee’s burden of proof to demonstrate that he or she has PTSD and that it is work-related – it becomes the employer/insurer’s burden of proof to disprove that the individual’s PTSD is work-related.

Seeing the practical realities of how PTSD claims are administered by some public employers, we at Meuser Law Office, P.A., are hopeful that this presumption statute will it easier for our state’s first responders to get the benefits they are entitled to under the law.

Representative Schoen commented that “It really just comes down to we’re at the point where there is just zero question whether this is a work-related injury…we know it is.”

Schoen, a Cottage Grove police officer, said police and firefighters have told him of their experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder. Public agencies send first responders into the “worst of the worst,” he said, and those experiences build over time.

“Everybody’s got a bucket and that bucket might be different sizes for different people, but it starts to fill up,” Schoen said.

Schoen and Schmit said they don’t expect their bill to pass this session. The GOP-controlled House has not scheduled a hearing, Schoen said. Instead, they want to hold an information hearing yet this session to raise awareness.

We at Meuser Law Office, P.A., have created a petition for you to easily show your support for this legislation. Click here to read and sign the petition. We encourage all current and former law enforcement officers, firefighters, State Troopers, first responders, and family and friends of Minnesota's first responders to sign and share this petition and/or contact their legislators to urge them to support this important bill.

Meuser Law Office, P.A., has proudly represented Minnesota's first responders for PTSD-related claims for over a decade. We encourage all current and former law enforcement officers, firefighters, State Troopers, first responders, and family and friends of Minnesota's first responders to contact their legislators to urge them to support this important bill.
Click here to find contact information for your state representatives.


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Ron Meuser

Ron Meuser and Jen Yackley Speak at The Law Enforcement Labor Services (LELS) Meeting

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PERA

Workers' Compensation

Personal Injury

peraOver-content2_copyRecently, Ron Meuser and Jen Yackley of Meuser Law Office, P.A. were proud and honored to speak at the Minnesota Law Enforcement and Labor Services (LELS) monthly meeting in August, 2016 held in St. Paul, Minnesota. Read More


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Ron Meuser

New Bill Seeks to Help First Responders with PTSD

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PERA

Workers' Compensation

Personal Injury

LawBooksThis week, the Minnesota legislature issued a News Release announcing the introduction of a bill that could have major implications for Minnesota’s first responders who suffer from PTSD.Read More


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Mary Beth Boyce

Symptoms of PTSD: When to Get Help

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PERA

Workers' Compensation

Personal Injury

peraOver-content_copyThe consequences and causes of PTSD are gaining recognition especially as the United States Military has implemented programs to treat soldiers experiencing Post-traumatic Stress Disorder after serving in Iraq and Iran. However, military personnel are not the only individuals at risk of PTSD. Read More


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Mary Beth Boyce

PTSD and Psychological Injuries: Eligible Benefits

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PERA

Workers' Compensation

Personal Injury

firefighter1According to the Mayo Clinic, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) is a “mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it.” PTSD onset can be unpredictable: it may occur after a single event or several events; it may occur in response to a dangerous or harmful event that occurred to a loved one; or it may occur soon after the event or several months or even years after. Additionally, some individuals who face traumatic events do not develop PTSD. Read More


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Jen Yackley

PERA Police and Firefighter Duty Disability Age and Service Limitations

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PERA

Workers' Compensation

Personal Injury

peraOver-content_copyI recently met with a firefighter who just had celebrated her 55th birthday. Over the past few years, she has experienced increased difficulty performing her normal firefighting duties due to the worsening effects of several on-duty injuries she had sustained. Even though this firefighter’s injuries clearly met the PERA Police and Fire Plan Duty Disability requirements, she was over the age of 55 and had in excess of 20 years of PERA-covered service, and she will not be eligible for Duty Disability benefits. Read More


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Mary Beth Boyce

Why Has My Work Comp PTSD Claim Been Denied?

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PERA

Workers' Compensation

Personal Injury

peraOver-content3_copySince October 1, 2013, workers who have developed PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as a result of exposure to traumatic events while in the course and scope of their employment are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in the state of Minnesota. Many of our clients with PTSD are police officers, state troopers, corrections officers, deputy sheriffs, 911 dispatchers, and firefighters.Read More


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Mary Beth Boyce

Part II: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Minnesota Work Comp is an Occupational Disease, Not a Specific Mental Injury

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PERA

Workers' Compensation

Personal Injury

firefightersThis second article in a two-part series on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder work comp claims examines how the courts should interpret PTSD claims in the context of the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation statute. The first article explained why the date of injury in work comp claims are crucial to the viability of many PTSD claims and illustrated the various types of injuries recognized by the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Act. Part II outlines the historical interpretation of psychological claims in work comp, how the statute defines compensable mental claims, and the mechanism of PTSD in further support of why PTSD is an occupational disease, not a specific mental injury.Read More


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Mary Beth Boyce

Part I: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Minnesota Work Comp is an Occupational Disease, Not a Specific Mental Injury

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PERA

Workers' Compensation

Personal Injury

firefightersUnder the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act, in particular Minnesota Statute § 176.011, subdivision 15, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) is defined as an occupational disease. Because PTSD is defined as an occupational disease, the date the employee became disabled is the date of injury, not a specific traumatic event(s). Employers’ and insurers’ reliance of the date of a traumatic incident, rather than the date of disablement, unfairly denies workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers suffering from PTSD.Read More


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Mary Beth Boyce

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

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PERA

Workers' Compensation

Personal Injury

Injured workers often contact our Minneapolis office after they receive a letter from their workers’ compensation insurance company notifyin
g them that they have reached Maximum Medical Improvement, or MMI. Clients are confused and don’t understand how the insurance company could possibly make this determination when they are still experiencing symptoms that their doctor assures them will improve with time.Read More


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