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.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Totally disabled 74 year old denied permanent total benefits
In a recent ICAP case the claimant Lane was 74 years old and admittedly totally disabled. However he was denied permanent total disability benefits after a hearing and this was affirmed by ICAP. The claimant was injured in September 2008 and eventually received an impairment of 13% of an upper extremity which equaled a 8% whole person rating. There was some dispute on his restrictions but both vocational experts provided credible opinions the man was not likely employable. The claimant did have multiple non-work related conditions such as hip pain, hearing loss, balance problems and an abdominal aortic aneurysm. So what happened? The ALJ determined the claimant had failed to show that the industrial injury was a significant causative factor in his inability to earn wages. In the case there was evidence presented that the claimant had no restrictions from his work injury and also evidence he had restrictions. The claimant was working for the employer after maximum medical improvement (MMI see glossary) but was let go for an alleged failure to do something and this was given weight by the hearing judge. So being no longer employable at the conclusion of a workers compensation case does not mean permanent total benefits are awarded. The key is whether the work injury is a significant causative factor. In this case the medical evidence of post injury restrictions was not present so claimants should always focus on obtaining medical restrictions and establishing the work injury was a significant factor in being unemployable. Often with older workers they do have many health problems and actually those problems plus a significant work injury can make for a good case of permanent total disability but it is not an automatic award as the Lane case points out.
"...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.