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New Workers, Old Workers, Refresh your Knowledge on Workers Compensation (Part 2)

Continuing our discussion on the basics of worker’s compensation, let’s now get into a few details about the Colorado worker’s compensation program. There are terminologies that you need to be familiar about as they seem to be challenging to understand.

Below are some terms that you should know. Remember that being well-informed about the system can help you protect your rights.

 Medical benefits

All medical expenses incurred by an injured worker is covered by the worker’s compensation insurance or the employer. These include hospitalization, therapy, medical procedures, doctor’s appointments and other medical supplies needed by the injured worker.

 Temporary disability benefits

Also known as lost wage benefits. While seeking medical attention, you may not be able to return to work because of doctor’s restrictions. Thus, you are entitled to receive temporary disability benefits.

There are two types of this benefit:

  • Temporary total disability means an injured worker is fully restricted from working and will receive a pay 2/3 of the average weekly wage. This amount up to $800 per week and this limit may change every year.
  • Temporary partial disability means an injured worker can still perform limited roles at work most likely at a lower wage. You will then receive a pay 2/3 of the difference between your previous wage and your current reduced wage.

 

 

Permanent disability benefits

Can be classified into two: Permanent total disability and permanent partial disability. Permanent total disability means an injured worker is not able to return to any type of employment. In order to receive a permanent total disability benefit, an injured worker needs to be found totally unable to make any wages.

On the other hand, permanent partial disability means an injured worker has a permanent impairment that could be permanent to his life but still can perform a job and make wages. This is determined when you reach the maximum medical improvement (MMI) and your doctor assigns an impairment rating.

Your permanent partial disability benefit may vary depending on which part of your body is severely injured or non-functional. This could be best explained to you by an experienced Colorado workers compensation lawyer.

 

Monetary benefit for disfigurement

This is an amount given to an injured worker who suffers from disfigurement like scars that don’t fade away and atrophies. These disfigurements may affect your personal image in the workplace and your job performance as well.

 

Death and funeral benefits

If unfortunately a worker losses his life while on-their-job duty, their dependents are entitled to death benefits which pay 2/3 of the workers weekly wage. The surviving spouse will receive the death benefit for a lifetime or until he/she settles into another marriage. Children (including adoptions) will receive the death benefit until 18-21 years of age.

Meanwhile, other dependents like parents and siblings over 18/21, can receive the death benefits if they are proven dependent to the worker at the time of his death. More of that, funeral expenses are covered up to $7,000, and all other medical expenses by the workers compensation insurance or employer.

 

Worker’s compensation may sound complicated but it is a must that you understand the whole system for you to receive what you are due. Our attorneys at Kaplan Morrell will provide you more information. Call us at 866 356 9898 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Workers’ Compensation: A Mutual Benefit

In any company in the US, it is an important priority that workers are protected when they are on their jobs. Knowing that they are safe and can perform their duties would mean stability not only of the workforce but the company as a whole.

For this reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been tasked to enforce certain rules for workplace safety. Companies have to follow the rules to maintain a safe workplace and to keep themselves away from penalties and fines. But there are cases that accidents may still be possible because of negligence and outside factors. A worker might injure himself while doing his job or worst might lose his life.

You need to speak with an experienced Denver Workers Compensation Lawyer in order to get the benefits you are entitled to by law.

Workers Compensation Whats in it for you?

Benefits are being provided to workers who are injured on the job. The Workers’ Compensation system in Colorado provides benefits that include:

  • Medical treatment benefits
  • Lost wages benefits
  • Money for disfiguration
  • Money for permanent disability

Work injuries are classified into two: accidents and occupational diseases.

Dependents of workers who unfortunately lost their lives on the job can receive death and funeral benefits. Hardships may come after an injury or fatality while on the job that is why workers’ compensation is designed to protect workers and their dependents. Its intention is to benefit the employee and employer alike.

So it is also important to note that a worker can’t sue an employer or co-worker for the injuries. For an instance, you encountered an accident together with another employee or you acquired a disease over time because of the current working conditions, you cannot sue your co-worker, employer or anyone who works for your company. Protecting the employer from lawsuits is one of the main purposes of the Workers Compensation law.

The Right Things to do

Workers must follow certain rules and procedures in order to receive the benefits. Keeping your employer informed about your injuries is an important thing to remember.

It is stated in the Colorado Workers Compensation Statute that you have four days to inform your employer about your injuries through writing. Failure to comply will result to serious problems when collecting benefits at a later time. It is also stated that the employer has a choice of doctors who provide treatment to the injured worker. If the employer doesn’t send the injured worker to a doctor, the worker can go to any doctor that he chooses.

Expected Wage Increase

All the way from the Mountain States Employers Council, the latest annual Colorado Compensation Survey denotes that Colorado employers are expecting to raise the wages of their workers by an average of 2.8 percent in 2015, same increase they projected for 2014. This is a survey done to 444 Colorado employers with a combined 38,884 employees from different business sectors. The two consecutive years of projected 2.8 percent increases for 2014 and 2015 are the highest since 3.3 percent increase in 2008. This may lead to a positive outcome of an increased Workers’ Compensation as this is based on the workers’ wages. Taking the example of the Lost Wages benefit:

Temporary Total Disability Benefits – If an injured worker is not able to work for more than three days due to the treatment process, the insurance company is obliged to pay two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage. This benefit continues until the injured worker is capable of going back to work in full duty or the doctor states that he already reached the maximum medical improvement.

 

Benefits sound good in the workplace, however claiming your benefits is quite a tedious and painstaking process if one does not know his rights and responsibilities. Before you lose the opportunity of receiving what you deserve, it is best to have legal assistance. Speak with a Denver Workers Compensation Lawyer today.

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.