Wednesday, April 23, 2008

TV Advertising lawyer sued.

Today the local newspaper for Colorado Springs indicated that a Colorado attorney is being sued. He touts himself and the firm as the "Strong Arm". He does what I consider massive advertising. This is bound to lead to many cases and some are upset with the results obtained by him. Of course no one can guarantee results and such advertising is expensive. But it does mean a very heavy caseload is likely. Also it can be suggestive of a settlement mill where cases are moved along and settled fast. The article reports the cost of the ads exceeds $100000 a month. That expense and the overall expense of more then one office and staff does complicate a practice. My preference is a one on one practice where each case is handled thoroughly and the goal is to protect and maximize benefits. It is personal and labor intensive. I do see where that effort can be compromised if you have too many cases or too much overhead to feed. In any event a lawsuit is just a claim and we'll have to see what comes of it. My concern is not that there is heavy TV advertising. That is one way to get your name out there. My concern is with the content of some of the ads. In 15 or 30 seconds the lawyer may be made out to be a legal magician. And that is pure fantasy. Anyway here is the article.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Safeway Mileage Case decided today

Today the Colorado Court of Appeals decided a case in which Safeway appealed. They wanted to limit the mileage benefits owed to a claimant. It seems this claimant waited 3 years to submit to be reimbursed on her mileage to doctor appointments and the like. She submitted for over 5000 miles and Safeway disputed it. Safeway lost the appeal. Safeway said the claimant was limited to seeking reimbursement to 120 days of mileage not three years. If you looked at just 120 days the claimant would have received far less of a reimbursement. The Safeway theory was a technical one. They decided to assert the claimant was a "provider." All providers of services have to comply with the 120 day rule. So how could the claimant be a provider? They reasoned that since the claimant was driving herself to medical appointments she was providing the service to herself! The court disagreed with Safeway and ordered them to reimburse the claimant for the full 3 years. View the case here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

September 11th Responders still hurting

Here is a link to a recent article that tells us that many who responded with courage and dedication have not been compensated for efforts once they developed health problems. Many such problems seem related to their work and rescue activities at the 9-11 site in NYC. I expect it is relatively simple to defend claims made because the medical evidence can be subject to different interpretations. We all assume that injuries and disabilities will be taken care of but many cases are contested. The contest is often because insurers can question the cause of the injury or disability. Yet it is a shame when we see this happen to those who were involved with 9-11 efforts at the site of an American Tragedy. Click here for the article.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Customer Service in Workers Comp

In Colorado they have developed a customer service section at the state Division of Workers Compensation. They are there to help to the extent they can in some basic areas though of course they do not go to hearings or otherwise perform legal duties. In some cases the claimant cannot find an attorney or feels they do not need one and at least the customer service people try to help out. But the statistics maintained by the state also seem to tell us that claims or inquiries about claims in workers comp are down. Despite increases in population the customer service stats say that less people are calling them or dropping by. In 1997-8 there were over 83000 calls/drop ins at the office yet by 2005-6 the number had dropped to some 58000. As I noted back in July 2007 the number of hearings also went down. Why? Are there less workers in Colorado? Nope. My view is that we have to conclude that either less people are getting hurt or that more claims are not being prosecuted or pushed as hard as they could be. I do know that in the old days you'd almost always be able to find an attorney to take your case but that is changing. In any event if you wish to contact customer service click here for the number.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Injured Workers Bill of Rights

At another website they have posted the Injured Workers Bill of Rights. This is not Colorado law but perhaps should be. What concerns me is that the injured and disabled are not afforded fair benefits and treatment. What is provided is limited. For example the law has offsets so that if you are totally disabled you are not going to get a full workers comp check and a full Social Security disability check even if you are totally unable to work. The theory is why should you get double benefits. Therefore the state says there is an offset. You get one benefit check in full but the other is lowered. In Colorado you would have your ongoing workers comp checks reduced by one-half of your initial Social Security check. Is that really fair? If you had two life insurance policies is one reduced because you get the other? Plus once you can no longer work you lose the capacity to grow your income and receive other benefits of employment (such as stock options, retirement plans, medical insurance). Once you are totally disabled you are stuck in a rut. It is good to have the benefits but you receive fixed amounts although Social Security has a small cost of living increase. If the injured worker were getting a windfall I'd agree with offsets but that is not the case. Plus workers comp is capped meaning your checks have a dollar limit even if you made a very high wage. Sorry but I feel the truly disabled deserve full benefits. What I've commented on here is in there (Right 12). Maybe its too idealistic but it asks of we care about people or profits? Review the Bill of Rights by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tackling Colorado Health Insurance Rates

This is a bit off topic but it relates to a health issue just as workers comp and Social Security disability also have health issues. Rep. Carroll who I earlier posted on is active in trying to stem the uncontrolled hikes in health insurance rates. Personally I have come around to believe in a National Health policy. I just do not believe that our medical care should be in the hands of for profit companies. It forces conflict and waste. It should be paid for but under some universal system. In Colorado we are actually healthier then the national average and spend less then average on health care yet we are 7th highest in insurance rates. Rep. Carroll is introducing a bill to regulate this and not simply allow unlimited rate increases without going through the insurance commissioner. While I believe in free enterprise health like utilities or fire protection is too big a social concern to be left to profit making companies. The social compact we have as a country needs free enterprise but when it simply can't work and harms the country we need a different approach. Police, fire, the military and other safety minded agencies (FTC, FDA, SEC, the Fed etc.) exist because without them life would degenerate to survival of the fittest, wealthiest and most powerful. For now any approach to regulate health insurance is better than none so I support it. Intense lobbying will happen to kill this so watch for the insurance companies to try overwhelm us with fear ads as we get closer to a vote. For more information on this bill click here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Colorado Labor Market Services

Anyone hurt on the job or just with many health problems often is faced with worries. Aside from workers compensation or Social Security disability they often have to deal with seeking work or changing occupations. I have already provided an earlier link to the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. If you cannot return to your job most know they may be eligible for unemployment benefits after they reach maximum medical improvement (but don't delay on this and get going within 30 days). Yep...if you were laid off and received workers comp benefits you may still get unemployment afterwards if you act promptly. But aside from this many seem at a loss as to what to do besides just find work on their own. Well here is a link to the state site that may interest you. It even has career services information. Click here to go there and then look around there for helpful information. Apparently they let you know what is available in your areas of interest. They even have where you can try to figure out what are your career interests. Anyone losing a trade or job due to injury or health may want to see what else might look worthwhile. Explore the site. I noticed even the listing specific available jobs. Check it out.