What Should I Do If I am a Minnesota State Trooper and I am Injured in the Line of Duty?
For State Troopers who have suffered an on-duty injury, there are specific initial steps that need to be followed for purposes of complying with the Minnesota workers’ compensation rules:
- Immediately call 911 and/or seek emergency medical care for any serious or life threatening illness or injuries.
- Report your injury to your supervisor. There are several forms that your employer must provide to you, including the Workers’ Compensation Information and Privacy Statement, which you must sign and return, and the Employee Statement Regarding Injury/Illness/Incident, which you must complete and return. Your supervisor will also provide you with a packet of information called the Workers’ Compensation Employee Information Packet, which contains several informational documents.
- Your supervisor must then complete an Incident/Injury/Illness Data Form, and submit it to the workers’ compensation claims administrator.
- Seek medical care. Minnesota State Troopers are covered under a managed care program administered by Corvel. You can seek initial care through a Corvel-network medical provider for your initial medical evaluation, or you can seek care with a provider with whom you have treated twice in the last two years. In other words, you can seek initial medical care with a family physician or other medical practitioner with whom you have previously treated. The managed care program administered by Corvel has specific rules about when a change in treating physicians can take place, and when medical care can be sought outside the network.
- Procure a workability report from your physician and provide it to your supervisor. If your doctor takes you off work, or places restrictions on your work activities, provide a copy of the workability report to your supervisor.
- If your injury is serious – i.e., is expected to result in more than a few days off work, is expected to result in a surgery, or may result in long-term limitations, consider contacting an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for a free no-obligation consultation.
Even if it doesn’t seem like a serious injury at the time, report it! All too often we meet with State Troopers who had injuries that they failed to report because the injuries didn’t seem serious at the time. Failure to report an injury can preclude you from claiming it at a later date if it turns out to be more serious than you realized at the time.
If you have questions about how to report your injury, the attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. can assist you with the process.
Helpful Hints for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim:
1. If you miss time off from work as a result of your injury, you may be eligible for the assistance of a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC). You have the right to choose your own QRC, and it’s imperative that you exercise the right to select your own! If the State assigns you a QRC, you are allowed to change QRC’s as a matter of right within 60 days. Beyond that point, it becomes much harder – if not impossible to change QRCs.
2. Workers’ compensation wage loss benefits are payable when you’re completely off work as the result of a work-related injury, or if you’re experiencing a reduction in your earnings as a result of your injury. The State may pay out IOD and/or sick or vacation time to cover the difference between your workers’ compensation benefit and your normal salary.
3. If your workers’ compensation claim is denied by Risk Administration, contact a workers’ compensation attorney. It is extremely unlikely that you will be able to get them to reverse their decision without filing a formal claim.
4. If you receive notice of being scheduled for an “Independent Medical Examination,” (IME), it’s time to speak with an attorney. Generally, you are required to attend an IME. Being scheduled for an IME is a huge red flag warning that workers’ comp is looking for a way to cut off your benefits.
5. Keep track of all mileage and out of pocket expenses associated with your medical care. These expenses are generally 100% reimbursable under Minnesota workers’ compensation laws.
6. If you have suffered an in-the-line-of-duty injury that prevents you from returning to full duty as a State Trooper, you may eligible for MSRS State Patrol Plan Duty Disability Benefits. There are extremely complex rules that apply to the coordination of workers’ compensation benefits and MSRS Duty Disability and/or retirement benefits. Before you file for State Patrol Plan Duty Disability Benefits or Retirement Benefits, consult with an experienced attorney to ensure you are maximizing your benefits.
7. If your injury was sustained as the result of a motor vehicle collision, in addition to your workers’ compensation claim and MSRS disability benefits, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for additional damages, including unreimbursed wage loss, medical expenses, and intangible losses such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
In cases involving serious injuries, it’s advisable to speak with an attorney experienced with the nuances of Minnesota workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS law as soon as possible to ensure that you are following the necessary steps to protect your rights. 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. Sitting down with us for a consultation to learn more about your potential claims is a lot like financial planning. We can explain what rights you have and make recommendations to you in terms of how to best protect your rights to those benefits. 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.