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.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
SB 10-187 Impacts Claims on or after July 1, 2010
In Senate Bill 10-187 Colorado is making some significant changes in workers compensation claims. For a complete reading just look at the bill but here are the highlights as I see them (effective only for injuries on or after July 1, 2010):
1. If the claimant has to seek a hearing to continue to obtain maintenance medical care then should the other side give in within 20 days from the hearing the claimant can seek his costs to support his effort to continue maintenance care. I see this as trying to stop the other side from objecting to care and forcing the claimant at some expense to try prove his ongoing entitlement but then backing off. 2. Two matters pertain to calculating average weekly wage. One, stops the effort to not count the claimants cost of converting from employer health coverage when he gets medicaid or indigent medical care. A recent case said do not add or adjust for a claimants cost of health insurance when he gets indigent care for free. My view is that the employer health benefit was worth something and should be a wage benefit that is counted in calculating your wage. Second, any wage calculation is to be based on your accident date or based on a judge using his discretion to figure what is appropriate. To me this just codifies what is the law today anyway. 3. Permanent partial disability benefits are no longer to be reduced if you receive Social Security benefits or an employer financed pension/disability plan. I recall one case where the fellow had a reduction of his benefits to zero because of the statutory offset which is corrected by this bill. However these offsets do apply to other benefits such as permanent total disability. 4. A modified job offer may be refused under some circumstances and not result in job termination and asserting the claimant by refusing was responsible for his own termination so his temporary benefits should stop. Personally I wish they had simply repealed the existing law on this which triggers much litigation. In the old days if you were fired when disabled you were often not cut off your temporary benefits as you were still disabled and other work was not that simple to obtain. 5. The caps or limits of top dollar compensation are to be adjusted each year for any claim for injury on or after Jan. 1. 2012. 6. Lastly it is said that there is no waiver of your right to pursue permanent total disability by seeking a lump sum of all the admitted permanent benefits. Every point raised in the new law was important to correct problems or other interpretations of the law. I'd encourage all to look at the bill as this just represents my simplified take on it.
"...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.