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, February 20, 2009
The Ortega case or 20 days means 20 days!
Just decided by the Colorado Court of Appeals on Feb. 19, 2009 the Ortega case involved a request for a continuance made during a hearing. It seems the Claimant received a medical report less then 20 days before the hearing and wanted to submit it although the law (Colorado statute 8-43-210) says it must be submitted to the other side no later the 20 days before the hearing. The report was from a family doctor who said the injury was related to work activities when this was hotly disputed. The other side also had late medical reports. They also had a medical witness at the hearing. The judge denied all the late reports. He then denied the request of the Claimant for a continuance. The hearing led to a decision denying benefits to the Claimant. The Claimant appealed and finally the case went to the Court of Appeals. Essentially the court said that 20 days is the law and there was no reason to say the local Judge committed any legal error which would justify reversing the decision. I will say the Claimant had a chance to submit his late report if the other side's reports also came in but that is really not well detailed. Apparently the Claimant's lawyer felt he had a solid reason to be excused from the 20 day law since the doctor did not even get it out timely. I cannot see what the reason was for the other side to be late. In any event a continuance was denied in part because the other side had a medical witness they had to pay. The court commented on the law but here is what is strange to me...the law does permit the Judge to order the case be continued but lets the Judge go forward with part of the hearing. Strict compliance with the law is not always necessary. It is hard to second guess the local Judge's decision but on the facts presented I question the decision to deny a continuance. The Court also seemed to suggest that the Claimant's lawyer should have acted sooner since there was an earlier report by the same doctor on the issue. I am just not sure why, in a search for the truth, when the medical report was really late that we say it's the lawyer's problem to anticipate the doctor sending a late report. Given part of the hearing could have gone forward and also continued for more evidence why insist on the 20 day law? Anyway read the Ortega case here. Hearings are administrative proceedings and many times they start one day and finish a month later.
"...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.