In the Line of Duty Injuries: Minnesota State Troopers
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Minnesota State Troopers are entitled to a variety of benefits to cover medical expenses and wage loss if they are injured in the line of duty. Whether the injuries are due to a car accident, a lifting incident, a slip and fall while chasing a suspect, or wear-and-tear over time, if the State Trooper’s work activities are a substantial contributing factor to the injuries, the Trooper is eligible for Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits.
Minnesota workers’ compensation covers all injuries arising out of and in the course and scope of employment. This includes physical injuries incurred as the result of a specific incident, physical injuries that occur over time due to repetitive use or wear-and-tear, injuries that aggravate or accelerate a pre-existing condition, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is the result of work-related traumatic exposures. Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits include medical expense benefits for reasonable and necessary medical care, including hospital charges, imaging like MRI’s or CT scans, diagnostic tests, surgery, prescriptions, physical therapy, mental health care, chiropractic care, and mileage expenses. If a Minnesota StateTrooper misses time off work or experiences reduced pay as the result of a work-related injury, workers’ compensation pays wage loss benefits including temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits, and/or permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. A State Trooper may also be eligible for rehabilitation services, including retraining benefits, if that Trooper cannot return to his or her former position as a Minnesota State Trooper as the result of a work-related injury.
MSRS State Patrol Plan Duty Disability Benefits
Minnesota State Troopers who suffer in the line of duty injuries may also be eligible for Duty Disability benefits under the MinnesotaState Retirement System (MSRS) State Patrol Plan. A Trooper who suffers an injury or illness that 1) prevents the Trooper from performing his or her normal duties for a period of at least a year, 2) that injury or illness occurred during the performance of inherently dangerous duties that are specific to Troopers, and 3) the duties that the Trooper was performing at the time of the injury or illness were specific to protecting safety and property. In short, if a Trooper suffers an in the line of duty injury while performing “inherently dangerous duties,” and that Trooper cannot return to full duty as a result of the injury, he or she is eligible for Duty Disability benefits. Duty Disability benefits are payable at a base rate of 60% of the Trooper’s high-five salary. Unlike State Patrol Plan retirement benefits, Duty Disability benefits are non-taxable through age 55 or 5 years, whichever is longer. There are extremely complex rules regarding the coordination of Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits and Duty Disability benefits for State Troopers. Discuss these coordination issues with an attorney experienced in handling both workers’ compensation and MSRS pension benefits.
Health Insurance Continuation Benefits Under Minn. Stat. § 299A.465
Minnesota State Troopers who qualify for MSRS State PatrolPlan Duty Disability benefits are also eligible for continued health insurance benefits under Minn. Stat. § 299A.465. This statute requires the Department of Public Safety to continue to provide health insurance coverage to the disabled Trooper and his or her family, if applicable, as though the Trooper remained on the payroll. This means that the state continues to pay its share of the Trooper’s health insurance premiums. This benefit continues through age 65.
Civil Liability Claims – Auto Accidents
Given the sheer amount of time Minnesota State Troopers spend on the state’s roadways, unfortunately injuries as the result of crashes are quite common. If a Minnesota State Trooper suffers injuries as the result of an auto crash that is the fault of a third party, that Trooper may be able to pursue a civil liability claim against the at-fault driver, in addition to workers’ compensation and MSRS Duty Disability benefits. A civil auto liability claim allows a Trooper to assert claims for losses that are not covered by workers’ compensation, including:
- future wage loss beyond the time limits available under workers’ compensation
- future loss of earning capacity
- pain and suffering
- loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of consortium
Coordination of benefits for disabled Minnesota State Troopers is complex. This is a very specialized area of law, and it’s easy to overlook claims or to make mistakes that can cost the Trooper hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits. For Minnesota State Troopers, to ensure you are maximizing all potential sources of benefits, contact Meuser Law Office,P.A.
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. 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.