Friday, July 27, 2007

New Court Case on Apportionment

In Colorado apportionment relates to reducing a permanent impairment calculation or reducing benefits because of previous impairment(s). The law has changed by caselaw and statute over the years. The issue remains a complicated one. In this case the claimant had multiple back problems but returned to work until his latest injury. His treating doctor did not apportion but the DIME doctor did. A DIME is a Division Independent Medical Examination and has special value and weight in a workers comp case. Here the DIME doctor reduced the impairment rating because of what he considered some prior impairment that allowed apportionment. The claimant appealed and in this Court of Appeals case tried to assert this was wrong and there should be no apportionment. The case is troubling in that there was no actual previous impairment issued in his prior injuries. Also he was working without further treatment or symptoms from those prior injuries. The claimant argued how can it now count against him? Nonetheless the Court ruled that apportionment was proper and that it is more a matter of there is not enough evidence to overturn the DIME opinion to apportion. I do understand that this is a complex matter but I have to question the speculative nature of a DIME doctor finding prior impairment when there was no documented or objective evidence of prior impairment. In any event here is a link to the court decision just issued on July 26, 2007:

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