It seems that a claimant was picking up trash when he saw a $5 dollar bill in the trash. In the act of getting it he scrapped his hand on a Yucca plant. The skin was not broken but it became infected. The Respondents disputed the claim by bringing in a doctor who questioned the infection because the skin was not broken. They also alleged the act of picking up the $5 was a personal deviation and was not within the course and scope of his employment so it's not a work injury at all. In other words he was to pick up trash not cash. The case did not get into what is trash or is dirty money really trash or if he didn't pick it up isn't it then litter and on and on. The hearing Judge determined it was a work injury and also used a doctor for the claimant to determine the skin need not be broken for infection to get in at the spot of the scrape. The Industrial Claim Appeals Panel also known as ICAP affirmed the hearing judge. Of course we never get the answer to the question...can cash be trash?
Just announced by the Director of the Division of Workers Compensation is the first educational conference in what may likely become an annual event. Aside from educational information on the law, rules and the like there will be workshops and an Exhibit Hall so that all manner of professionals and more may interact and learn from each other. This event is set for September 16-17th, 2010 and may be well attended. I know I am interested in it so will try to attend and gain insight although it would be nice to obtain some continuing education credits. You can view the announcement here.
In the Denver Post Pinnacol is again in the news for making what is said to be a $200 million dollar offer to Colorado. It is said they want a number of things but in return would pay the state $75 million one year, $75 million the next year and then $50 million over 30 years. In return it wants certain concessions and to have some of the currently pending legislative efforts go away. Although the details remain to be worked out and there is much criticism of Pinnacol the state is in a financial bind so I am sure that negotiations will continue. What if anything that will be worked out remains to be seen. Pinnacol Assurance handles a majority of the work injury claims in Colorado and while I realize Colorado like much of the country is financially strapped I do think any deal should not harm the best interests of injured workers. Time will tell how this all plays out. UPDATE...FEB. 23, 2010...Senate President pans the idea for now but we shall see as it may depend on further negotiations or how bad off the state budget may be.
Colorado workers compensation claimants who reach or seem to have reached MMI (maximum medical improvement) are often rated by an authorized treating physician or if requested by another doctor in an Independent Medical Examination. The Division has just issued its new Impairment Rating Tips. These are recommendations primarily for the use of the rating physicians but they are useful to others. The tips are 7 pages so quite a bit of ground is covered. One tip concerns the use of what is called contralateral measurements. This tip seems to allow a doctor to measure the uninjured side and compare it with the injured side. My view is that this seems to disregard the AMA guides for Colorado which set forth how to rate impairment. By statute (see CRS 8-42-107(8)) the Guides instructions seem to be required. Setting them aside for another way to calculate in my view conflicts with the law but the contralateral tip is there to read. These new Tips are an interesting read and I'd suggest spending a few minutes to look them over. While these are not legally mandatory since they are written primarily for physicians we may see them referred to and followed by them.
Here is a link to Pinnacol's viewpoint on the currently proposed bills at the Colorado legislative level. They have expressed disapproval of the proposed bill to limit surveillance by saying an investigation is not just to stop fraud suggesting the bill is too restrictive. However my experience is that surveillance is sought to try show the claimant is exaggerating. Some investigators will follow claimants almost everywhere. They follow when you enter the supermarket, or pump your own gas, or go for walks or trim your weeds. Then they allege you can work or are not that disabled because you are seen as functional in the video. Hours of surveillance are edited down to minutes which fail to disclose all the poorly functional moments. Doctors and Judges may be faced with a tough problem when determining what is the truth. Some claimants have told me that they had taken an extra pain pill or took hours to do the task or then had to lay down but none of that is on video. But the video suggests they were doing fine. But the biggest problem I have with surveillance is the level of stalking it implies. Big Brother is watching you! Also Pinnacol is opposing the bill on conflicts of interest by claiming this is already disclosed but many would disagree with that. In any event Pinnacol does set forth its viewpoint on all these proposed bills.
"...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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.