Not very much happening in my field. We still have the monthly Brown Bag seminar which is posted online for anyone to watch and read the cases. But then I have posted about this excellent source of updated cases for quite a while. And you can access what is posted in Colorado workers comp at this website. I thought it best to just remind you of this as the website contains a great deal of information. However there have been no newly published decisions in the area lately so this blog has been quiet for a while. Still there are cases which the Brown Bag does address to keep you apprised of issues coming up in the field. At the website you can also see what is the latest legislation and treatment guidelines and much much more. Anyway I did want you to know that the system keeps rolling along. Sometimes that means good things happen and sometimes bad things. Since this will probably be the last post for 2016 let me wish all of you the very best in the new year.
As we have previously indicated the Brown Bag seminar has been held once a month and it is designed to review new cases. Those cases may be court cases or appeals from the original workers comp hearing which goes to the Industrial Claim Appeals Panel (ICAP). In August 2016 we had another review. The August case decisions can be read and are available for all interested people. Additionally the
seminar lecturer has a video where you can see his own review of each case. When you are seeking any of this material including the video you can access it here. In this latest month I read several interesting cases but I point out two in this post. Hutchison is an ICAP case which is a very unfortunate situation. The claimant was only able to cover one-third of his medical expenses for a surgery. He had pre-existing causal factors such that only one-third of his work aggravation came from work activities. My view is that his need for surgery came from the aggravation from his work activities so it should have been fully covered but the case reminds us that apportionment can occur in workers compensation. Read the case for the analysis of ICAP. The other case is the Hoff case which was a court of appeals decision. You can read the case and see that the Colorado Supreme Court reversed the earlier decision by the Court of Appeals. The facts relate to a cancelled workers comp insurance policy so it is not a common circumstance but it does let us know that the appeal of a workers comp decision at hearing can sometimes reach the Supreme Court.
In June the Division issued another newsletter and it is quite significant. The June newsletter contains quite a bit of information on the latest legislation concerning
workers compensation. It is very detailed and includes some changes in requesting expedited hearings and in requesting a change of physician. It lets you link to the form to be used for change of physician. Use of the form is now mandatory. You are encouraged to print out a copy of this newsletter and review it carefully. The newsletter also has a chart on the maximum rates and indicates there is a new settlement agreement form which you can link to see. So this newsletter is packed full of current information and you should review it in its entirety. I held off posting about this until now because some of this is just now becoming effective. As always the Division has issued these newsletters from time to time as a way to keep us all updated on workers comp developments.
As usually happens there was a Brown Bag lunch seminar presented by Judge Eley. The presentation is in a Part 1 and a Part 2. The reading material which consists of the actual cases for March 2016 is
. available here. These materials include the recent published case of Youngquist which concerned an out of state company being held to the Colorado Workers Compensation law of Colorado. The employer Youngquist said it was not subject to Colorado law because it conducts no business in the state. However it was determined that the claimant was hired in Colorado and by statute if injured within 6 months of leaving Colorado then Colorado has jurisdiction over the claim. In the case the claimant was injured within days of starting his job. There was a denial in the state where the claimant was injured so he filed in Colorado and had a hearing where it was determined to be compensable. The defense was the claimant had a preexisting condition but claimant asserted it worsened with the injury and Colorado agreed. Then a 50% penalty was imposed because the employer had no Colorado insurance. The employer appealed and asserted a denial of due process but the court upheld the hearing judge. This included the 50% penalty which is mandatory by law.
From time to time the Division issues a newsletter. The latest newsletter is issue number 44 and once again it seeks to bring us up to date. It alerts us to a new prehearing judge, John Steninger. It also discusses certain medical fees
and generally provides other information such as a link to a new adjusters guide. For those with claims or those in this field you should always read these newsletters. They are informal but still insightful on topics of interest to many of us. At the Division website they even have archives of such newsletters for your perusal. It is quite nice to give us a heads up about matters of importance to many of us.
In January 2016 the Colorado Court of Appeals decided the Keel case. The case involved someone from out of state coming into Colorado to work. He died in an
on the job injury. He received benefits in his home state. Colorado also had benefits which were applied for. The case concerned the offset that was given for his receipt of the out of state benefits. The court determined that the statutory law mandates only a partial offset so the Colorado benefits would be higher then that calculated by the lower decision. While this issue seldom comes up it does point out that most of the time a statute will be enforced as it is literally written. Benefits for claimants are sometimes reduced by the receipt of other benefits but often not as much as you might expect. It is always worthwhile to double check the math so that a claimants benefits are maximized.
"...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.