Tuesday, October 21, 2008
After Your Rating...Now What?
Many people go through the workers compensation system in Colorado and eventually get rated (they receive an impairment calculation). Often they are then faced with a Final Admission by the insurer who seeks to close out the case. Perhaps they are to receive some permanent benefits if they did get rated but do they have any further remedy? Absolutely YES! In Colorado workers comp it is not over if you promptly act to protect yourself. You have 30 days from the date of mailing of the Final Admission to act and this deadline is strictly enforced. Your first choice is often to proceed with a DIME (Division Independent Exam) to obtain a new opinion on MMI and the rating. Often more is needed or the rating is higher then what you were given by the authorized physician. Also if you are severely disabled then you need to look into whether you are employable. If not you may be entitled to lifetime benefits or a much higher settlement then the admitted amount. Recently someone posted a comment on this blog and was concerned about getting a 12% rating yet being in much pain. I responded but it is an important enough comment to make sure everyone realizes that you do not have to accept the rating given to you by the doctor as all you are entitled to despite pain and other problems. While workers comp does not always compensate you for all your losses it is important to know that anyone unable to work may be entitled to much more then a rated award. Also you can also be entitled to more treatment. DO NOT ACCEPT A FINAL ADMISSION without carefully reviewing it (hopefully with an attorney). Do not accept one doctors rating as the end of your case. That may be the worst thing you can do. Those with severe disabilities really need to consult with an attorney wherever possible. Almost always much more can be done but at least check into it further. I've seen cases where doctors have said there is a zero rating receive substantial benefits. Sure I want law changes to provide more help for the injured but don't think the existing law is worthless. It is not at all. Pursue your options but do so with promptness.