Wednesday, November 29, 2006
This may be a blog on workers comp but since I mentioned our grandson it is my perogative as a grandfather to show him off! Max is now almost 10 months old and reminds us all that there is so much more to enjoy in life and be grateful for despite our adversities.
Just a quick note to post here the link to the Colorado pamphlet for Employee's. It is in pdf format so it can take some time to load but it contains answers to frequent questions put out by the Colorado Division of Workers Compensation: http://www.coworkforce.com/DWC/PUBS/employees_guide_2005.pdf
Monday, November 27, 2006
There is nothing more frustrating to an injured worker with an hand, arm , shoulder. or leg injury then to find out that Colorado may consider such injuries as worth less in permanent benefits. A construction worker who must live with pain, restrictions and stress because of an arm injury is often going to lose his trade. At a minimum he may need an easier job which also may mean less pay. Yet in Colorado benefits for a permanent arm injury may be small...perhaps a few thousand dollars. Unless the person is totally unable to work to be told benefits are low is simply not good news. This concern is called a scheduled injury and believe me all insurers will attempt to treat such injuries noted above as scheduled. This is quite different from the whole person injury calculations which often result in significantly higher benefits. Let me give you a specific example. Mr. Jones has a shoulder injury and if the schedule is used the calculations for his permanent injury are around $11000.00 but if converted to whole person the figure is over $40000.00. So same injury but if the schedule is used the amount is lower. There is no logic to this at all when you are permanently hurt especially if it affects your wages. But years ago Colorado decided on a mathematical formula for benefits and arms or legs can be paid less then backs and necks. What to do about it: if possible seek out an attorney or if you are on your own try to show that your injury extends beyond the arm or leg. Either anatomically or functionally when your impairment affects more then the extremity a judge may agree and provide you with the higher benefits (whole person benefits are usually higher the scheduled benefits). Most important of all...DO NOT ASSUME THE INSURANCE IS RIGHT ON ANY CALCULATIONS.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Here is a very good overview on backs...anyone with a neck or back injury can gain some insight by reading the info posted at this website: http://www.spineuniversity.com/public/spinesub.asp?id=32
Monday, November 06, 2006
The Colorado Supreme Court just issued opinions in two related cases today. These cases arise from the procedure used in Colorado to review an authorized treating doctors opinion on MMI (maximum medical improvement) and permanent impairment. Usually the claimant pays $675.00 for that review because the claimant questions the opinion of the treating doctor (often selected and approved by the employer/insurance). My experience has been that often an independent exam reveals a person needs more treatment or has a greater impairment then allowed by the treating doctor. These independent exams are important because they help to protect the claimant from a premature discharge from treatment or they add to the permanent impairment award. Colorado courts were divided on the problem of what happens if the independent doctor says you at not at MMI and after further treatment the treating doctor again says you are done. Who pays for the next visit to the independent doctor? Claimants seldom have the money to pay again. The decisions today determined that the insurer must pay not the claimant. My view has always been that when you seek this independent exam to address MMI, permanency and other items that you pay for it once not over and over again. In any event here is the link: http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?OpinionID=5858
Friday, November 03, 2006
While the best advice is to obtain an attorney to assist you with your work injury claim there are many cases where you either don't want or can't find an attorney to take your case. Sadly some claims have become small claims and lawyers are hard to find to handle it. If the state of Colorado told us they would pay all legal expenses then everyone would likely be represented even in the smaller cases. But some claims nowadays have had benefits so reduced or limited that a claimant may have to represent himself or herself because lawyers are not available. I do like the customer service unit at the Colorado Division of Worker's Compensation for trying to help out here but when you need a hearing you may find this guide provided by Colorado helpful (but please consult with an attorney if at all possible especially when you have a serious injury) : http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/oac/Non-Lawyer_WC.htm Also it is available in English or Spanish!