Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pinnacol again seeks privatization

The Denver Post is reporting how once again there is an effort to privatize Pinnacol Assurance, the state's quasi public/private workers comp insurer. Pinnacol is also the largest insurer in Colorado in this area. Now they are reviewing the proposal that the state gets a 40% stake worth $340 million dollars in return for greater autonomy for Pinnacol. What sticks with me is that the state saw big cash amounts held by Pinnacol and wanted a piece of that to help with the state budget. Pinnacol then sought to get away from state influence and control. This is a story that reminds me of the old serial thrillers. This version is still controversial as I suspect some may question the wisdom of the state agreeing to this. Colorado created Pinnacol to make it easier for businesses, especially high risk businesses to obtain workers compensation insurance for a fair price. I remember getting claimant benefit checks from the state accounts but that was years ago. The point is that it has thrived and been effective in Colorado with state backing and now that it is doing well wants more autonomy. Control and money issues are involved so of course with such issues comes controversy.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Top Workers Compensation Blogs for 2011

This blog has again been honored by its 2011 selection into the top 25 worker's comp blogs in the country by LexisNexis. This is our fourth year in a row. But I really liked what they said about this blog because it brings home the point that good writing about this tough area need not be boring at all and perhaps even worthwhile to our readers. Here from the LexisNexis website is what was said:

" Who says workers' comp writing has to be boring? Colorado Workers' Comp Blog, offered by Colorado Springs Attorney Richard Falcone, is an excellent example of an attorney who writes with depth and clarity, all the while sprinkled with flair and even humor. Falcone, who writes from the perspective of the injured and disabled worker, continues to provide readers with commentary and analysis. Falcone's September 16, 2011 post, entitled "New Court Case on Medical Benefits," and his May 13, 2011 article, "Munoz Court Case on DIME waiver," sift through complex medical issues with relative ease. He also enjoys the hypothetical-his February 4, 2011, "Does Charlie Sheen Have a Workers' Comp Claim," reacts to a whimsical question posted on a satirical blog, "the Spoof," regarding the antics of the former star of television's Two and a Half Men."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Administrative Law Judge Orders for September 2011

I have indicated in the past that the Office of Administrative Courts will post just about all the orders issued in the state of Colorado following hearings in workers compensation cases. In September they posted the orders and it covers some 470 pages. I skimmed through all of them and many are quite interesting reads. A great many of them involve medical legal issues so they have opinions by numerous doctors. In one early case I counted 8 doctors. Often such cases involve causality questions pertaining to whether or not a claim is work related or questions regarding treatment. I should remind claimants to discuss all your complaints at every visit with the doctor. In my experience some of the doctors do not document as we would expect them to do. As such you can provide the doctor with your history in writing if need be. By history I mean a dated statement of your current problems which you bring to your doctor each visit. Always make a copy for your records. This can prevent any misunderstandings later on. In at least one of these cases it appears the claimant asserted he was telling and telling the doctor at every visit something which never was noted by the doctor. Of course the decision went against the claimant on that point. I have had clients take a written history into their doctor every time just to keep all the details accurate. A failure to complain can be assumed to mean an absence of pain or limitation. Anyway these cases tell us what sorts of issues are going to hearing in Colorado.