Monday, November 27, 2006
Schedule or Whole Person?
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.