Monday, September 24, 2007

The Failure of Workers Compensation

Over at the website for the Center for Justice and Democracy they take on the current workers comp system. By and large they speak accurately in pointing out the flaws in the system. Here is a link to the summarized version of their criticism:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cost of Living Increases

Colorado workers comp benefits do not have a cost of living benefit. Someone left a comment and I thought it deserved a post by itself. There was a brief period when there was a cost of living benefit but that ended with claims which arose by 1994. In Social Security there are cost of living adjustments made yearly. Such is life and the only way to change it is to change the law.
It is regretable if not shameful that we limit benefits to those injured at work. It seems as if the old and disabled are pushed to the side by society despite being there and shouldering the load for us. Then we so limit benefits that we impoverish many of them. Taking care to honor and protect them is not part of our system. The recent VA problems at a VA Hospital indicate it even pertains to our soldiers. Sorry but that is simply wrong. The workers, the soldiers and the old did so much for us that they should be honored and made as comfortable as possible. When I handle a case I know I try to maximize benefits but I also know that it is often not enough. They deserve our respect and laws which provide significant benefits.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Other Types of Claims from work injuries

While we only handle work injuries and disability claims if you have a workers comp claim it does not mean that you are limited to just that claim. Sometimes from a work injury there may be other types of claims. One easy and common example is when someone is severely hurt at work and obtains workers compensation benefits. That person may also have a claim for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI). If so the workers comp insurance company gets a credit of a portion of your SSDI benefits (this may also apply to some other types of Social Security benefits too so check with a lawyer). Still you may get both benefits if you are totally disabled even if one of the benefits is somewhat reduced. It is always better to get two checks then just one. Of course when and if you should apply for SSDI is a matter to discuss with your lawyer so don't just go for it without checking further. There are many situations where it is a big mistake to apply too soon for Social Security benefits. Now aside from SSDI or even other Social Security programs can there be other claims? Yes. For example if you are delivering for your job and hurt in an auto accident you may also have a personal injury claim. Again do not handle this on your own because it does affect other benefits. Or, let's say the equipment which injured you is defective....again this can lead to another claim on top of the work injury or disability claim. In that this is quite complex you will need a lawyer. Don't do it yourself. An injured worker may even be able to file for unemployment benefits especially if workers comp benefits are delayed or disputed. Also if you are totally destitute there may be other social programs to assist you. Colorado has aid to the needy disabled. If you are fired it may lead to a wrongful termination claim or claim for discrimination. So don't think you can only have one claim when you are hurt at work. Other claims or benefits are possible though each type of claim or benefit may also affect your workers comp benefits. Your attorney may have to concentrate on what his area of expertise is but he can make suggestions in the other areas so discuss this with him. In my practice we maximize the workers comp benefits and then also pursue Social Security disability benefits for those severely disabled. If other claims are discussed or known to us we suggest other attorneys who can help in those areas.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Initial Denials in Social Security cases

Colorado has one of the highest denial rates for those first applying for SSD or SSI benefits. In Colorado almost 70% are denied. Where is the best state to apply for benefits? DC also known as the District of Columbia is the lowest but Hawaii is the best place to live and apply as it grants more then half who initially apply. Tennessee denies 77% so it gets the worst place award. California? It denies 56.6% of those who first apply. Of course after any denial a claimant should consider appealing the denial. It is important to realize that the burden is always on the claimant to show he or she is unable to work and satisfy the requirements to obtain benefits. When you go down to apply on your own there are many forms to fill out but key factors are all your doctors and all the places you've worked in the past 15 years or so. Records are sought by the agency but be aware that it really is your burden to make sure all the important records are submitted to the agency. Sometimes doctors forget to submit records or there are recent records for recent treatment. Make sure all this is given to the agency and if you are not sure go get the records yourself and submit them. Expecting others to care about you and take care of you and be diligent to protect your rights is true if you've retained a lawyer but don't expect the agency to do so.