This week the Colorado Court of Appeals decided a case involving mental injury. In Kieckhafer
the claimant asserted a claim for work related emotional distress. She did not succeed and the appeal followed. In Colorado stress cases are difficult to handle. All work has some measure of stress and claims would be immense if the standards for recovery were loose so Colorado has tightened up on them. In this case the claimant lost the appeal because the court determined that you need evidence from a physician or psychologist to establish the claim. The claimant only used a licensed social worker and a physicians assistant. That is simply not enough. The claimant alleged that the law makes it impossible to prove the claim because you have to prove a permanent disability before you can get benefits so it forces you to pay for your own treatment. Once you reach MMI then you are permanent so the law prevents coverage until you reach MMI (maximum medical improvement). The court disagreed with that view but a claimant still has to provide proper evidence. In any event a full reading of the case is wise because it is a bit complicated and involved. Anyone with a pure stress case has a tough road to obtain benefits so obtain an attorney if you can.
While not applicable in most work injury cases these two cases remind us that a work injury can lead to additional claims and that offsets are still a complicated matter. Decided on April 26,2012 the Zerba case involves offsets. That is, what can be deducted from your workers comp benefits. Social security benefits can be an offset to permanent total disability benefits and the case goes into the subject of offsets. Military retirement benefits are not typical offsets for Colorado employers as is noted in the case. The claimant also did assert constitutional matters so we shall see if an effort is made to take the case to the Colorado Supreme Court. In the Schuessler case
the decision addressed claims that came from a work injury claim. The claimant sued a doctor for malpractice and the workers comp insurer for bad faith. The insurer raised many issues to include subrogation or its right to seek reimbursement. The case addresses many matters but this was not a workers comp appeal. It more involved matters which came from the underlying workers comp case.
"...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.