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.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Court of Appeals Rules in Snook case Feb 5, 2009
Snook was an independent contractor and sole proprietor who was hired by a subcontractor working on residential homes for Joyce Homes in the Highlands Ranch area of Denver. He was hurt on some scaffolding and sued Joyce Homes for negligence. Snook was supposed to have workers compensation insurance but did not. Joyce Home said it was a statutory employer under the workers comp act and as such its exposure was limited to $15000.00 The appellate court agreed that the point of this statutory employer law is to encourage you to obtain workers compensation insurance when you are a independent contractor. Thus when you don't have it you are limited to $15000.00. Snook tried all the arguments such as it is too low a figure to be stuck with and that it is a denial of due process and more. All the arguments failed. The lesson here is to always have workers comp insurance even if you are a small business if you want to be safe. If not your claim for injury, no matter how valid, may be limited no matter how serious your injury. The workers comp law is designed to protect employees and not independent contractors who really should have insurance because liability is limited to $15000.00. Unfortunately some small businesses in construction try to get by and save money on workers comp insurance. Often they are one man operations and in many ways are like employees but this is the way construction works. The plaintiff may seek to appeal this to the Colorado Supreme Court. Of all his arguments the one that strikes me as sad is that any claim he has is limited to $15000.00. That amount was placed in the law over 20 years ago and you have to wonder if it is so outdated and low that it is now unacceptable. In any event the case is here. One additional point...the Treasury Department is concerned about misclassifying workers as independent contractors to save money as noted here.
"...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.