Having practiced law in Minnesota over the last 20 years I am dismayed by the nature and extent of legal advertisements which bombard our airwaves. Watching television, listening to the radio or searching on Google, we repeatedly are subjected to ads from lawyers preying on what I would refer to as the “low information consumers”.
Unfortunately, with the rare exception, lawyers delivering ads that contain scare tactics or promises of large settlements are not particularly good lawyers and rely upon such advertising to generate their clients when they are unable to do so otherwise through client referrals, reputation, etc. In fact, many ads are placed by Chiropractors who then refer out the cases to lawyers in their “network” with little regard to the expertise and/or experience of the lawyer. Just ask Gary.
Your lawyer should come from a firm that practices exclusively in the area of Minnesota Worker’s Compensation, personal injury and, if you are a member of the police or fire department, PERA. While many cases are limited to one set of laws, an experienced lawyer will determine if there are other claims arising out of your injuries. Let me describe a recent case to demonstrate.
We recently represented a firefighter who had sustained numerous injuries in the line of duty but was able to continue working his regular duties. Unfortunately, he sustained a low back injury and was placed on light duty. While on light duty he was driving a city vehicle when he was struck by a third party injuring other body parts and further aggravating the low back injury.
Given the nature and extent of his injuries, we prepared and submitted an application on his behalf for PERA Duty Disability in accordance with Minnesota Statute 353.656. Duty Disability benefits are only available to peace officers such as police, fire and state troopers. Duty Disability requires that the applicant meet specific requirements and is rarely awarded. If awarded, the PERA member is entitled to substantially greater benefits. Given the uniqueness of PERA Duty Disability, very few lawyers are even aware of the law and its requirements let alone handle such cases. In fact, I am unaware of any other law firm representing police and fire in their PERA claims. At Meuser Law Office, P.A. we concentrate our practice around injured policemen, firefighters, state troopers, paramedics and corrections officers. To-date, we have successfully procured PERA Disability benefits for over 100 men and women. In the above mentioned case, we successfully procured monthly Duty Disability benefits exceeding $5,000 per month, tax free through age 55 at which time his benefits will be reclassified as retirement. Just as significantly, a PERA member who is awarded Duty Disability benefits qualifies for continuation of his health care benefits in accordance with Minnesota Statute 299A.465 through age 65. Because he was insuring his family at the time of his injury, his family is also entitled to continued health care coverage. Assuming that he is 50 years old and health care coverage for his family costs $1,250 per month that benefit amounts to $15,000 per year and over 225,000 over the next 15 years. In evaluating the Worker’s Compensation claim, it was necessary for us to separate the numerous dates of injury and respective body parts to determine which claims were previously paid, which additional claims remained open and how best to position the most recent injuries to maximize our client’s recovery. We were ultimately successful in settling the Worker’s Compensation Claim in excess of $90,000 on what is known as a full, final and complete basis with the City still responsible for his future medical care.
We then filed a lawsuit against the driver who struck his vehicle. We successfully procured the other driver’s $100,000 policy limits.
Given the extent of our client’s claims, we then brought a claim against the City for Under-Insured Motorist benefits procuring the $25,000 policy limits covering the City’s vehicle driven by our client at the time.
Finally, we filed a lawsuit against our client’s own insurer for excess Under-Insured Motorist benefits successfully procuring a settlement of $75,000.
This claim could not have been handled by a lawyer or law firm which only practices in workers compensation, or only personal injury. The lawyers at Meuser Law Office, P.A. are experienced in complex litigation involving multiple areas of the law. The timing and order of bringing the claims is essential and failure to give proper notice or bring the claims in the wrong order could have resulted in the loss or forbearance of literally hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Choosing the right lawyer in a dedicated law firm does make a difference.