A blog by a retired Colorado attorney on legal news, views and tips on Colorado Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability. Written from the point of view of the injured or disabled worker.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Scheduled Injuries the latest way to figure benefits
Anyone who hurts their arm, leg, hand, foot at work is often shocked to learn that in Colorado there is a separate way to figure their permanent impairment benefits. So unless it can be considered a whole person injury by a judge or it results in a possible claim for permanent total disability Colorado law says it is paid by using the "schedule" for the injury. The problem is that these injuries are treated as not as important so they are paid lower benefits. At least that is how Colorado law makes it out. It is ironic but some people lose their trade and have a horrific drop in earning ability but insurers pay following the schedule. Roughly for every one percent of your arm or leg that you are permanently impaired means $500 for you. So ten percent of your arm is about $5000.00. You can figure this out yourself by looking at the chart here. You multiply the doctors rating by the number of weeks in the chart by the amount shown based on your date of injury. I assure you if your entire arm were to be amputated or useless the permanent benefit would be under $52000.00. Again there are exceptions. Also much more can be considered in a settlement but insurers relish the low payouts. I've said this before...Colorado should abolish this terrible way of calculating a permanent injury. Imagine a carpenter who can no longer grasp a hammer and do his job. His earnings loss over his lifetime could be enormous even if he goes to work in another field. Or, consider the fellow who plays a musical instrument and makes good money but loses his trade because of the work injury. The problem with the schedule is that it completely disregards your pre-injury earnings and pays a flat amount even when you lose your trade/occupation. I can say if the injury affects both arms or hands or both legs we do seek to make it a bigger case whenever possible. There are variables where even a small injury can mean a major claim but this is not true for everyone. In contrast if you hurt your back it can mean much higher benefits because the permanent figures do use your wage rate and your age. These variables often make the calculation much higher.
"...this is the cause of my life, new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American -- north, south, east, west, young, old -- will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege." Ted Kennedy Aug 26, 2008 (Update: June 28, 2012 the US Supreme Court upholds Obamacare)
Do We Pass the Test?
"It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
I've been living in beautiful Colorado and practicing law for over 35 years. It's been a great place to raise a family. Originally from New York I settled here, married here and raised two daughters, Jenny and Mary. I practiced near downtown Colorado Springs but now consider myself "retired" so I am not taking any more legal matters, clients or cases but I appreciate being able to help as many clients as I could for so many years. Now I especially enjoy my retirement time with family including 4 special ones...a grandson, Max, twin granddaughters, Penny and Cici and last but not least grandson Eliot. You can contact me at my email address which is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the past we offered free consultations in cases but we are not taking any more legal matters or cases as retirement calls. You can email us at email@example.com. We've been protecting injured workers for many years and truly went the distance for many people. We made a difference for most of them and stood up for right not might. If you need an attorney I suggest you find someone where you live who offers free consultations. Also I urge you to discuss your case with an attorney if at all possible. This field is technical and complex. I would even call it tricky so seek advice from an attorney. If that is not possible call the Colorado Division of Workers Compensation customer service section for helpful information.
The information in this blog is intended to represent my personal views and opinions. It is not intended to be specific or personal legal advice which should only be obtained by a consultation with an experienced attorney. All this blog provides is general information I consider important to me. It may be of interest to others but for any advice or advisory statements consult with an attorney not a blog.
Special Personal News on Cici, our grandaughter (September 2011)
Nearly 3 years ago our grandaughter Cici had a serious medical problem. Her survival was at risk and she was deprived of oxygen because of a tragic choking/swallowing problem. It is known as an anoxic brain injury. The recovery has been challenging and slow but some progress has been made. We are thankful to be part of her recovery. I remain truly grateful for the prayers and touching support provided by so many people to my daughter and the family. We are actively committed to Cici's recovery and to her loved one's for as long as it takes. You can follow this difficult but amazing journey on my daughter's and husband Matt's Blog. Where there is life there is hope. We've had tough times but we have also seen courage and love in action for her and also for others. For examples look below.