Tag Archives: Denver Disability Lawyer

Things You Should Know if you’re 420 and an Employe in Colorado

The use of marijuana has been steadily increasing in the past few years. This has been brought about by the move done by several states to legalize its use in addition to the sensationalized effects the “420 culture” can do to the user. However, one must not deny the fact that this drug can also be harmful and may even cause accidents in the workplace. It is important to understand what an employee is getting into and the consequences he might suffer by continuing to be a marijuana user whether it is for medical purposes or otherwise.

What the law says about the use of marijuana


Colorado has passed a number of amendments to the law in relation to the use of marijuana in the state. In 2000, Amendment 20 was approved which is a comprehensive measure that allows the lawful use of medical marijuana for those that are suffering certain conditions. In 2012, Amendment 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana by adults. However, employees should not use this as a security blanket. A part of the amendment states that an employer is not required to permit or accommodate the use of marijuana in the workplace. Neither does this law affect the ability of the employee to enforce policies that restrict the use of marijuana by its employees.

Despite the number of states that have approved similar legalization rulings, federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal schedule-1 drug together with heroin and ecstasy under the Federal Controlled Substances Act.

The famous case of Brandon Coats

The case of Brandon Coats sheds light on the true status of marijuana use in the country. He was a telephone operator for Dish network. He was paralyzed in a car accident and had to resort to marijuana to control his leg spasms. He possesses a medical marijuana card and consumed cannabis off-duty. He was then fired in 2010 upon failing a random drug test. He challenged the company’s zero tolerance drug policy claiming that his use was lawful under state law. He also argued that the medical marijuana is what allowed him to perform his job. His case was upheld in both trial court and the Colorado court appeals. It was then escalated to the State Supreme Court. Nine months after oral arguments from the two sides were heard, the court sided with the firing of Mr. Coats. It ruled that the term “lawful” refers only to activities that are legal under both state and federal law.
Workers’ compensation can be difficult, confusing, and very complex especially when use of drugs such as marijuana is involved. Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of employees since 1997 to get the benefits that they deserve. Contact us here or call us at (866) 356-9898 for your free consultation.

Firefighters Compensation : Denver workers compensation

Firemen, also referred to as firefighters, are important to public safety. Unfortunately, they have one of the highest rates of wounds, injuries, and illnesses of all professions. Their job issimply to pull out people from burning cars, building fires, and other dangerous situations. While those who want to get involved in the fire department often think of the encouraging side of the job, including a pay of over $50,000 as of 2014, there is also a setback.

Being a firefighter is having your one leg buried in the ground, always on the brink of death.Firefighters work in often dangerous and complex environments that boost their threat of on-the-job death and injury. A fireman normally puts himself at risk because of fire but most eminently, from exposures to many other job-related infections and hazards. Although many died on duty, firefighters face a relatively high chance of being injured even under training.

Surprisingly, burns, an injury commonly associated with fire, are not the major cause of their wounds.

Below are circumstances and incidents that result to firefighters obtaining wounds, injuries, and long-time diseases:

  • Exposures to infectious diseases

In 2014, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimated that around 10,000 firefighters were exposed to infectious diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis, and meningitis. Hospitals that encountered medical runs by firefighters name infectious diseases as one of the common causes of death among firemen.

  • Exposures to hazards

NFPA said that approximately 25,000 injury cases related to the firefighting profession are caused by hazardous conditions. Trying to control fire and respond to medical emergencies, firefighters’ lives are put to risk often due to exposures to fumes, asbestos, radioactive materials, and hazardous chemicals.

 

  • On fireground operations

Firefighter injuries are often incurred while rescuing people and saving properties from structure fires, vehicle fires, and brush fires. Major types of injuries obtained from fireground operations are strains and sprains, wound cuts, bleeding, bruises thermal stress, and burns.

 

  • During non-fire emergencies, training activities, and on-duty activities

Over the past few years, NFA noted a relevant rise in the number of non-fire emergencies. Yet in spite the quick increase, the number of injuries that occurred as such incidents lowers by the minute.

Wearing heavy equipment such as thick coats, face masks, and combat boots does not guarantee complete safety for firefighters. It is imperative to be aware of the said risks before choosing firefighting as a career. Whilewider understanding of how these fatalities, injuries, and illnesses arise can assistin recognizingremedial actions that could help reduce the intrinsic risks, it is also important to consult trusted Denver workers compensation attorneys.

Workers’ compensation can be tricky, perplexing, and very complex. However, Colorado firefighters can rely on Kaplan Morrell to help you and thousands others who are looking to claim the benefits you deserve. Call your Denver and Greeley workers compensation attorney sat (866) 356-9898 for a FREE consultation and learn how a Denver disability lawyer could further assist you fight for your rights.

Top 5 Reasons Disability Claims are Denied in Colorado

Greeley Workers Compensation LawyerA disability claim filed before the Social Security Administration may be approved based on two findings: (1) that the claimant has a medical condition which satisfies the requirements in the listing of impairments, and this condition lasted, can, or is projected to last for a minimum of one year; and (2) that the medical condition that a claimant experiences must be severe enough to limit his capacity to work and earn a considerable income. These findings must coincide with each other.

Every year, the Social Security Administration approves around 32% of disability claims and denies approximately 68%. Here are some common reasons why disability claims are denied. Find yourself a Denver disability lawyer to avoid these mistakes.

  1. Failure to provide sufficient medical evidence.

You must ensure that you have all the pieces of evidence to show that you are entitled to the claim. Doctors’ notes, x-rays, and other medical records should be submitted to the proper office. If they cannot be submitted because they are with the hospital, make sure to give the Social Security Administration permission to view your medical records. Remember that it is not you who will evaluate but the Social Security Administration. Prepare the records based on their standards, not yours.

 

  1. Incorrectly completed forms.

When you apply for a disability claim, you will meet various kinds of forms which need to be completed. Take your time in answering the forms. Do not rush, and make sure you input the correct pieces of information. Otherwise, the Social Security Administration assessor might mistake your improperly filled out form as an act of fraud. If you are not confident in filling up those forms, visit a Denver disability lawyer who will explain to you what you should and should not write.

 

  1. Failure to conform to other medical requirements.

Depending on the listed disability, the Social Security Administration would often require you to visit a third-party medical expert who will conduct a consultative exam on you. Comply with this requirement. Otherwise, you will get your application denied.

 

  1. Your case is not just strong enough.

Your claim will be approved if you can prove that your disability does not permit you to work at all. Should the Social Security Administration discover that you can perform other types of work, your application will surely be denied.

 

  1. Failure to talk with a Greeley disability attorney.

A lawyer specialized in handling social security benefits claims will help you prepare the necessary paperwork and pieces of evidence. Find one to help you especially in the critical areas of your application to ensure that your claim will be approved.

Preparing a disability claim is very taxing, and complicated. Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of clients since 1997 to get the disability benefits they truly deserve. Contact our Denver Workers Compensation attorneys now or call us at (866) 356-9898 for your FREE CONSULTATION.

Workers Compensation Trends: What to Expect these Days

In recent years, the workers compensation market has shown its propensity to maintain a steady incline. This upward trend is brought about by a lot of factors – both national and local in scope – and continues to trigger workers compensation costs to rise beyond limits. Higher compensation costs result to higher business expenditures and, as history always proved, bigger employment issues eventually. Let’s take a look at the top three most critical issues hounding the workers compensation market today and see how these affect the way business is done in and outside the state.

 

Re-entry of Middle East war veterans into the workforce

Out of the 2.4 million Americans deployed during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, more than 50,000 soldiers sustained injuries and are now returning in droves to re-enter the US workforce. And with the Administration’s promise of getting all US soldiers out of combat by 2016, the reintegration of these veterans, injured or not, will certainly affect the workers compensation market.

 

The effect will fall on the companies that will have to employ veterans, though those who will employ veterans with service-related injuries will still enjoy the support of the Veterans Administration (VA). The VA’s coverage ensures that veterans with service-related injuries are continuously addressed even when the veterans turn to private employment.

 

That saying, the issues are still many. First, how will a private work injury be treated when there is a pre-existing service-related injury? While it could easily be treated as any other work injury superimposing a pre-existing work injury (from a previous employer), it is reasonable to expect that the veteran would prefer to seek assistance from the VA as it is where he or she is getting service-related injury treatments. In such a case, the question of reimbursement for the work injury to the federal government looms.

The Affordable Care Act

The much awaited implementation of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (‘Affordable Care Act’ or ACA) finally started this January 2014. The ACA will definitely have an impact on workers compensation costs as medical expenses have been shown to take up a huge chunk of the market.

 

The predictions with regard to ACA favor the businesses as it has aspects that are expected to reduce workers compensation costs. First, the removal of lifetime caps on medical insurance coverage (typically pegged at $1 million) will change the way workers apportion the costs between their health insurance and the workers compensation carrier.

 

Second, the mandatory coverage of employees with pre-existing conditions such as hypertension or diabetes would shift treatment costs to the insurer. An illustration: A hypertensive worker who suffers a fall and would need hypertensive treatment prior to orthopedic surgery would normally turn to the workers’ compensation carrier for treatment of both hypertension and orthopedic injuries. Under the ACA, it is the health insurer who is liable.

 

The ACA is generally favorable to both employees and employers. After all, a healthier workforce will ultimately yield to a lower workers’ compensation cost.

 

Return to litigation from mediation of workers’ compensation claims

The shift has reversed. Ten years ago, the trend has been towards mediation. Today, given the way mediation has not favored them, businesses have started to demand their cases to be litigated instead. From settlement of dubious injuries to paving the way for some unwritten worker benefits, mediation has proved to be a dangerous way of doing things. This reversal will definitely affect the number of workers compensation claims in the future.

The Difference between Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability

Denver Workers Compensation and Disability Lawyers Explain The Difference between Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability

Thanks to established labor policy, compensation systems have been set up for when an employee or a worker suffers a bad injury at work such as a fall or a blast. In the state of Colorado, there are two types of compensation which an injured worker may avail: the Social Security Disability from the Social Security Administration or the Permanent Total Disability under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Law. Don’t know which one you can avail? Below is a simplified guide which compares and contrasts the difference between the two compensation options.

 

Qualifications

The qualifications for availing either the Social Security Disability or Permanent Total Disability vary.

Anyone who has been a member in good standing (meaning, all fees have been religiously paid) in the social security system for at least five years preceding an injury may avail of Social Security Disability. This option is more comprehensive in scope and considers all major prescriptions like hypertension, diabetes, etc., as well as injuries, whether work-related or not, in assessing your case.

 

On the other hand, the Permanent Total Disability option may only be availed of when returning to work is made absolutely impossible by the work-related injury. It is more restrictive in the sense that pre-existing conditions like hypertension etc. are not covered and should not be the main injury that prevents resumption to work.

Age as a factor of eligibility is also one of the stark differences between the two compensation systems. Social Security Disability uses a grid system, starting at age 45 and ending at age 65 in increments of five years. In simple terms, the older applicants are more likely to qualify under the SS Disability system. This is not the same with Workers’ Compensation. Permanent Total Disability will only look at one thing: whether an injured worker is fit to work. Any work, at that. This includes casual jobs with minimum wage salary.

 

Application and processing

Another difference lies in the presentation and processing of claims. Social Security Disability cases are filed with the Social Security Administration. This is a national office and the merits of claims are processed by a federal SSA judge in comparison with other national cases.

 

Meanwhile, Permanent Total Disability under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Law is a state-administered institution and it would be best to consult a Colorado lawyer when filing a claim in order to prepare its merits. As discussed above, the most primary criterion for qualifying under Permanent Total Disability is capacity to work in general. The claim will be heard by a judge who will consider the findings of doctors and vocational specialists. This is where a Colorado disability lawyer comes in hand. When the claim is heard and the judge decides that you don’t qualify, a competent lawyer can still argue on your behalf for some compensation to cover your medical bills and loss of earnings, or make you qualify for some other compensation more fitting like a Permanent Partial Disability.

 

As it stands now, the process can be overwhelming with all its complexities. Depending on the preparation of the claim, an injured worker may qualify for both Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation, either of the two, or none at all. It is most recommended to consult a competent and experienced legal counsel.

Denver Workers Compensation Lawyer
Still confused? Kaplan Morrell, Denver disabiilty attorneys and Denvr workers compensation attorneys are here to help you understand further these two concepts. For many years, we have been helping workers claim what is due to them from their employers and/or other concerned parties.