Monday, November 09, 2009
Supreme Court to decide on 2 workers comp issues
Today the Colorado Supreme Court granted certiorari in 3 Court of Appeals cases. That means they have decided to address the issues in those cases. In fact there really are just two primary issues. Two of the cases involve one specific issue. That issue is what is called "time of disablement" and was addressed by the Court of Appeals earlier this year. One of the cases was published and is the Simpson case. What is important is that some claimants want another date to apply in making the average weekly wage calculations for permanent benefits. The lower court said there was date of injury and also what is called date of disablement. In any event it was a big enough issue for the highest Colorado court to want to review further. It should be noted that the Supreme Court did last year in Avalanche also address this so maybe they want to clarify something. Next in Nelson the issue was a claimant seeking a higher lump sum then was the law at the time of his injury. The Court of Appeals decided that the law passed after his injury can be used by the claimant to obtain a bigger lump sum. Its reasoning is that the law was procedural which can be applied at anytime in a case. This as opposed to a substantive law change which you cannot backdate in a case. The claimant had previously collected a lump sum (advance on his benefits) that had a limit of $26292.00 and returned seeking another advance that was increased (to $60000.00)after the date of injury by a later law. No doubt some wonder how can a later law be applied against a party but the law did not change the permanency calculations only that another advance of money to become due could be sought. Neither of these two issues affects very many claimants or respondents but it will be interesting to see the arguments fully addressed and decided. It may be several months before we know but both issues are novel enough for the Colorado Supreme Court to take on.