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, March 29, 2010
Average Weekly Wage Desk Aid
The Division of Workers Compensation has what it calls a desk aid to help compute a claimant's average weekly wage. You can view it here. The subject of average weekly wage is an ongoing matter in Colorado. Even now the Supreme Court is to review a case soon (soon means this year). The importance of the issue cannot be disregarded. Your wage calculations can play a very big role in your compensation benefits. A claimant wants it to be as high as possible and Respondents want it to be as low as possible. The reason is that it can increase your temporary and permanent benefits by a significant amount. As an example let us say you are making $10 an hour and get injured on the job. Does that mean the average wage is $400 for a 40 hour week? Not necessarily. Overtime does count. Having a second job may also count. Getting tips can also be counted (if timely reported to the IRS). Even health benefits from your job may be counted in many circumstances. The Desk Aid for wage calculations is actually more of a guide because a Judge has a great deal of discretion in calculating your average weekly wage. Do not blindly accept the figure provided to you as it may not be the only way to calculate benefits. Many insurers just take the last quarter's earnings (13 weeks) prior to the work injury and this may be way off. A judge may decide there is a different way to calculate it. Back to the example...if the $10 an hour employee worked overtime, or had tips or a second job or health coverage or even if there is another reasonable factor to consider the wage can go up. Even a figure just a few dollars higher can mean thousands more in temporary and permanent benefits. Always do your own calculations and your attorney should review the calculations considering the current caselaw and statutory law. This issue is a subject that is very current and often controversial so do pay attention to it. Look at my last post of March 20, 2010 where it is brought up in a proposed piece of legislation. See also this post where the wage calculation approach is to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
"...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.