How Does House Bill 1119 Stack Up For Workers’ Compensation In Colorado?

How Does House Bill 1119 Stack Up For Workers’ Compensation In Colorado?

Denver Workers Compensation Greeley Workers Compensation Lawyer Workers Compensation Blog

The Colorado General Assembly has proposed new legislation that would address the issue of worker injuries when their employers have no workers’ compensation insurance. If passed, the proposed law packaged in House Bill 1119 will create the Colorado Uninsured Employer Act.

Colorado’s HB 1119 Overview

This legislation is a show of bipartisanship with support from Democrat Senator Cheri Jahn and Democrat Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Republican Senator Jack Tate and Republican Representative Lang Sias. The Act would create a fund from which eligible injured workers can draw benefits. Employer penalties and fines imposed by the Division of Workers’ Compensation for no insurance coverage will help fund the account. Other financial sources may include grants, donations, and public and private gifts.

The bill also directs the establishment of a governing board to cover a range of duties for the uninsured employer fund. Some of these responsibilities include the setting of criteria for rates, claims adjustments, rules adoption and benefit payments. The Board must establish a plan of operation for fund administration duties and money collection procedures for the fund.

The Plight of the Injured Worker and No Workers’ Compensation Coverage

As a worker, when you are considering employment, you may look at several different factors. While stable work hours, healthcare benefits, paid leave, and retirement plans are frequently considered, whether your potential employer has workers’ compensation coverage rarely comes up.

Because it’s the law, most workers assume their employer has the necessary coverage. They only discover a lapse if they experience a work injury that leads to a Colorado workers’ comp claim. A seriously injured employee who is unable to receive benefits under workers’ comp due to their employer’s negligent insurance oversight is left in a precarious position.

Workers’ comp covers medical treatment for your injury or illness. It also pays a percentage of your wage loss if you are unable to work due to your injury. With no workers’ comp coverage, these and other benefits are no longer available.

Seriously injured workers find themselves struggling to receive desperately needed medical treatment and facing overwhelming unpaid bills due to their lost wages. In the event of a resulting disability, the injured worker is unable to receive the temporary or long-term disability benefits that would otherwise be available to him under the workers’ comp program.

Related: Passage of Amendment 69 Could be Bad News for Colorado Workers’ Compensation

One option in this situation is to sue your employer in civil court for the losses associated with your injury. A big problem with this method of reimbursement is the length of time it typically takes to recover damages in civil court. The process is lengthy, and your medical and financial needs are immediate. The biggest problem is that most employers don’t have the assets to pay the benefits due injured workers. Bankruptcy is declared – or the business stops functioning – and the injured worker is left with an order he or she cannot collect.

The proposed Colorado Uninsured Employer Act is a far more effective solution to the uninsured employer problem. Many other states already have these funds set up for these types of injured workers. Some have temporary disability insurance programs instead.

Uninsured Employers’ Workers’ Compensation Fund Examples

Several states, such as California, New Jersey, and New York, have some form of compensation funding for injured workers whose employers have no coverage. California has two funds, the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF) and the Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund (SIBTF).

New Jersey also operates two funds, the Uninsured Employer’s Fund and the Second Injury Fund. In New York, their Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) assigns direct liability to the employer for compensation payments and medical costs.

HB 1119 was introduced on January 20, 2017 and is currently under consideration. Meanwhile, if you have suffered a work injury and subsequently learned that your employer has no workers’ compensation insurance, contact a seasoned Colorado Workers’ Compensation lawyer like Kaplan Morrell to explore your options.

Need help now? We’re here for you. Contact our Denver Workers’ Compensation Attorneys here, and if you’re out in the “burbs” you can reach our Greeley Workers’ Compensation Attorneys here.  We’re here to help- and we will fight to get you the benefits you are entitled to!

 

 

Social Security Recipients Second Amendment Rights preserved Having a Representative Payee No Longer Prevents You From Owning a Firearm

Social Security Recipients Second Amendment Rights preserved Having a Representative Payee No Longer Prevents You From Owning a Firearm

colorado gun laws Denver Disability Denver Workers Compensation gun laws Social Security Blog Workers Compensation Blog

In February 2017, the House of Representatives voted to “overturn an Obama administration rule” that required the Social Security Administration to “forward the names of all Social Security Disability Insurance . . . benefit recipients who use a representative payee . . . to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System . . ..

Reaction sadly was over-the-top and exaggerated as some gun safety advocates characterized the vote as the House permitting “severely mentally ill” people from getting guns and will make Americans less safe.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED

The Obama Administration required the Social Security Administration to send the records of Social Security Disability (SSDI) recipients who need a representative payee to the FBI for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.  This meant these particular SSDI or SSI recipients were deprived of their right to purchase a firearm.

What’s a Representative Payee?

Individuals are required to have a representative payee for mental impairments when a beneficiary is “legally incompetent or mentally incapable of managing benefit payments.”  An injured and disabled worker who has difficulties remembering deadlines, properly doing math, or any other significant inability to spend their SSDI benefit properly may be required to have a representative payee even if his or her disability has nothing to do with a mental impairment.

Having a Representative Payee does not mean that your inability to mange finances is because a disabled worker is violent, or poses a risk to themselves or to others.

Because of the myriad of impairments that could require a representative payee, even the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) spoke out against the rule, saying “A disability should not constitute grounds for the automatic per se denial of any right or privilege, including gun ownership.”  Republican House Judiciary Chairman, Bob Goodlatte opposed the rule because “it paints all those who suffer from mental disorders with the same broad brush.”

Congress has now revoked that rule.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Because of this vote, if you are awarded Social Security Disability benefits, SSDI or SSI, and have the need for a Representative Payee – the Social Security Administration will no longer automatically report you to the NICS.

Have Questions?

Navigating the Social Security Disability process is not always easy.  Circumstances are always changing, and we are happy to answer questions and help navigate the process.  Email – Tre Eyden, EDPNA, or call 970-356-9898.

Top Ten Most Costly Work Injuries Of 2016

Top Ten Most Costly Work Injuries Of 2016

Denver Workers Compensation Workers Compensation Blog

The Liberty Mutual Research Institute revealed 2016’s top ten causes of the most costly work injuries.

Here they are:

1. Overexertion involving outside sources. $13.79 Billion (Examples include lifting, pushing, pulling objects.)

2. Falls on the same level. $10.62 Billion (Slip and falls on slippery surfaces)

3. Falls to a lower level.  $5.50 Billion (Scaffold, ladder, stair falls)

4. Struck by Object or Equipment. $4.43 Billion

5. Other Exertions or Bodily Reactions. $6.5 Billion

6. Roadway incidents involving motorized vehicles.  $3.7 Billion

7.  Slip or trip without fall.  $3.8 Billion

8. Caught in/Compressed by Equipment or Objects. $1.95 Billion

9.  Struck against object or equipment.  $1.94 Billion

10. Repetitive Motions involving micro-tasks. $1.81 Billion.

Some work injuries cost more because of the nature of the injury.  Injuries requiring surgery will be more costly, not simply because of the medical care, but also because of the additional lost time during the recovery.  Injuries from lifting, in this study, may be more costly simply because those kinds of injuries are more common and numerous.  The injuries in this study included only those injuries where the employee missed six or more days of work.

When you’ve been injured on the job in Colorado, your primary concern is getting healed and back to your life. For the vast majority of injured workers that happens, but some workers sustain serious injuries that continue to interfere with their lives.  We’re here to help seriously injured works get the medical care and the Colorado Workers’ Comp benefits they deserve.  Don’t wonder, “What are my rights under Colorado Workers Compensation?”  Instead, call us and meet with an experienced Denver Workers’ Compensation attorney for a free consultation. Let us help with filing your Colorado Workers’ Comp claim- we can help get it approved.

 

 

 

Source:  http://imag e.email-libe rtymutual.com/lib/fe541570726d02757312/m/1 /2017+WSI.pdf

Case Update: If The Insurance Carrier Shuts Off My Lost Wage Benefits – Can I Get Penalties?

Case Update: If The Insurance Carrier Shuts Off My Lost Wage Benefits – Can I Get Penalties?

Denver Disability Denver Workers Compensation

MacDougal v. ICAO, Bridgestone Retail Tire Operations

The Court of Appeals put out an (unpublished) opinion affirming the denial of penalties against an adjuster for failing to reinstate lost wage benefits (TTD). On February 6, 2015, a Physician’s Assistant (PA) – not the actual Authorized Treating Physician – placed the injured worker at maximum medical improvement (MMI) and removed all restrictions – effectively clearing the worker for regular duty. However the section for permanent impairment was left blank..

The Insurance Carrier filed a Final Admission admitting to zero impairment that day. However eleven days later, on advice of counsel, the adjuster filed a General Admission of Liability (GAL). The GAL did not reinstate TTD benefits – relying on the PA’s release to regular duty.

On February 23, 2015 the Authorized Treating Physician (ATP) wrote a letter raising concerns about the PA’s medical note and noted that the injured worker would need permanent restrictions and an impairment rating. Because the ATP did not rescind the PA’s release to regular duty – the carrier did not reinstate TTD Benefits. When the ATP saw the injured worker in April, he placed the injured worker at MMI and impairment. (It’s unclear if the ATP provided permanent restrictions.)

The injured worker sought penalties against the carrier’s refusal to reinstate TTD benefits. The Administrative Law Judge determined that while the Final Admission was invalid because there was ambiguity of what, if any, impairment the injured worker had – the release to regular duty was not vague. Further, the ATP’s letter of concern did not expressly impose restrictions or retract the release to regular duty.

Given that confusion, the Court of Appeals agreed that claimant had failed to show that the adjuster acted unreasonably.

Work injury claims in Colorado are complex and fast paced. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t need an experienced fighter in your corner. With everything there is to worry about when you suffer an on-the-job injury – let us make sure you are getting the benefits the law provides you. Get a free consultation on your workers compensation case here.

Case: MacDougal v. ICAO, Bridgestone Retail Tire Operations, 16CA0705 (Colo. App. 2016)

NPR: Working ‘The Chain,’ Slaughterhouse Workers Face Lifelong Injuries

NPR: Working ‘The Chain,’ Slaughterhouse Workers Face Lifelong Injuries

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Our very own Britton Morrell weighs in with NPR on slaughterhouse work injuries:

“Teresa stuffed 7- to 10-pound hams in bags, at times up to 50 hams a minute. Starting with a wage of $11.50 an hour, she worked 12-hour shifts, sometimes seven days a week. She was awarded employee of the month four times.

Then, she started experiencing problems in her right shoulder. After reporting the pain to her supervisors, they told her that if she was injured, she should go home.

“The supervisors were very nasty,” she says. “They wanted everything fast, they wanted to produce a lot of quantity. They didn’t care about the people.”

She says she went to the company doctor, who told her the shoulder problem was a bone spur. Finally, her shoulder got so bad, she was diagnosed with injuries from repetitive motions and had to have surgery.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 2014 data that showed repetitive motion injuries among beef and pork processing workers were nearly seven times that of other private industries. And 76 percent of workers in a Maryland plant had abnormal nerve conditions in at least one hand, according to a 2015 report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Britton Morrell, an attorney in Greeley, Colorado., represents workers who file and are denied a workers’ compensation claim for “cumulative trauma.”

Credit to: NPR.org

Credits to: NPR.org

The claims are hard to prove, he says, because a worker must apply a checklist of risk factors. How many repetitive motions are required on the job? Does the worker hold his extremities at an awkward posture? Is there a vibratory mechanism attached to the job?

“It’s a Byzantine checklist,” Morrell says.

Experts have to be hired, which is expensive, he says. Calculations for claims are complicated and involve a worker’s age, body part and pay rates. And these calculations vary between states because of workers’ compensation laws.

“At some point for serious injuries there’s an acknowledgement: We’re never going to get these things back to the way they were before,” Morrell says.”

Read the entire article on NPR’s Website

 

 

Passage of Amendment 69 Could be Bad News for Colorado Workers’ Compensation

Passage of Amendment 69 Could be Bad News for Colorado Workers’ Compensation

Denver Workers Compensation Workers Compensation Blog

Colorado has long been a sort of “proving ground” for new and tentative legislation. Some reasons for this is our status as a swing state and the ease of getting initiatives on our voting ballots in the first place. National groups frequently test proposals in our state, and often the proposed legislation is quite extraordinary. Take legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, for instance. This election year will be no different, and there will be several controversial initiatives on the ballot for voters to decide upon, such as “right to die” and raising the minimum wage to $12. One such ballot initiatives that is of particular interest for Colorado’s workers’ compensation system is universal health care.

Amendment 69 – ColoradoCare Ballot Initiative

This proposed amendment is an attempt to introduce a single payer system, also called universal health care, to Colorado. The proposed program, named ColoradoCare, would replace the Affordable Care Act. Estimates place the yearly price tag for ColoradoCare at around $25 billion dollars. A business and worker tax, along with an increased state tax rate, is meant to pay for the program. This tax option does away with deductibles and medical insurance premiums. However, this tax increase would practically double the current state budget, and saddles Coloradans with the highest income tax rate in the nation.

Accountability is questionable. This program is to be run by a board of 21 members who will be elected by plan members. Furthermore, there are no real specifics about what the new plan will cover, just what programs it will replace. The board will retain sole authority on coverage decisions. Hospital and doctor reimbursement levels are uncertain, calling into question continued quality care under the new system.

Potential Impact on our Workers’ Compensation (WC) Program

ColoradoCare will collect funding and administer the Colorado Workers’ Compensation program, as well as all other state and federal programs, with the exception of Medicare. This has the very real potential of destabilizing a well-functioning system. Our Workers’ Compensation program in Colorado is widely viewed as one of the best in the nation, as it efficiently balances affordable premiums for employers and the provision of fair benefits for injured employees. Denver Workers’ Compensation attorneys are a big part of this system.

– Overhaul of how the Colorado Workers’ Compensation program works

Currently, the system both replaces lost wages and provides medical care for injured workers. The proposed single-payer system will remove the healthcare portion of this system from the program and move it under ColoradoCare. It’s not known how the new set-up will work with only wage replacement under WC, but confusion and disarray are far too likely. There is also the question of cost. Employers currently pay for Workers’ Compensation insurance to cover all of the benefits for injured employees. They will now pay a higher tax rate for ColoradoCare and still be on the hook for the indemnity portion of Workers’ Compensation. It’s a quagmire.

– Unsettles a working system

Workers’ Compensation in Colorado does more than pay out benefits. It promotes worker-safety programs and encourages employers to prevent workplace injuries. Providers and established Workers’ Compensation health professionals are experienced in managing worker injuries. They collaborate with employers and workers to help them get to maximum medical improvement and get back to their jobs safely, whenever possible.

– Eliminates subrogation

Workers Compensation is a no-fault system. But sometimes, there is fault, due to a non-employer third-party. In these cases, Workers’ Compensation insurers can pursue monetary recovery from the negligent party through subrogation. With the passage of Amendment 69, first rights to subrogation cedes to ColoradoCares. This loss of funds impacts the insurers and injured workers ability to recover for injuries.

– More Unknowns

At this time, it is not even known whether ColoradoCare will cover the incidental expenses that Workers’ Compensation in Colorado addresses, such as transportation to medical appointments. And there is no guarantee that injured workers will continue to be able to see qualified professionals in occupational medicine and other specialties that are required to give injured employees the best possible specialized care in a timely manner. Overall, there are simply too many variables and unknowns to enthusiastically support Amendment 69 for implementation of ColoradoCare in our state this November. For individuals who are injured at work, the best thing they can do is seek a qualified attorney. Our top rated Denver workers’ compensation attorneys can help injured workers file their claim, get the medical care they need, and help them seek lost wages to help cover living expenses and medical bills.

Sources:

Amendment 69

https://www.ciab.com/uploadedFiles/Advocacy/Grassroots/Prop_69_2016/No_onAmendment69_1pgr.pdf

Key Differences Between Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Personal Injury Awards

Key Differences Between Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Personal Injury Awards

Denver Disability Denver Workers Compensation Greeley Workers Compensation Lawyer

People are often confused about workers’ compensation benefits in Colorado. Many believe that recipients are paid in a manner similar to personal injury lawsuits. Others may understand that there is a statutory standard, but are unaware of the parameters. Let’s try to clear up some of this confusion with an overview on what workers’ compensation pays employees who have been injured in work-related accidents or have fallen ill due to their job duties.

Many of you are aware that personal injury awards can range into the hundreds of thousands of dollars based on the type of injury sustained and the fault of the negligent party. These awards and settlements are often boosted by the careless or negligent behavior of the company that led to the injury. In many cases, the amount of money received is increased due to punitive damages. Workers’ compensation benefits operate quite differently.

Negligence or fault is not a factor in workers’ compensation cases. Instead, these benefits are set up as insurance for instances when your work duties lead to injury or illness. The benefits are meant to replace the work income that you would have normally earned had your injury not prohibited you from working and gaining employment income. Rather than assigning blame and seeking to compensate you for what you have lost and suffered, workers comp pays you a percentage of the wages you have lost due to your injury. This can range from a temporary timeframe to a permanent arrangement based on the unique circumstances of your injury and outcome.

You Won’t Believe These Unusual Workers’ Compensation Cases

In some cases, you may be eligible to receive education or vocational benefits to help you learn a new skill or trade when you are no longer able to perform the job you were doing prior to your injury. And if your injuries are so severe that you can neither return to your previous work nor perform the duties of some other job, then you may be eligible for long term disability payments. These benefits seek to compensate you for the income you will lose out on for the duration of your remaining working days. Experts apply extensive and complicated formulas to determine what this lifelong work income would be. Benefits are then paid out as either a lump sum or periodic payments over time.

These benefits also cover medical bills related to your injury, to include treatment, surgeries, therapy, rehabilitation and some associated costs, such as mileage to and from your medical appointments.

Workers’ Compensation Fee Schedule and Benefit Payments

The Colorado Workers’ Compensation fee schedule is reviewed annually. For the July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 time period, the maximum amount you can receive for lost wages is $939.82 per week. This may apply to workers who’s weekly earnings were at least $1,409.73. If you are determined to be disabled and your impairment is 25 percent or less, the maximum lump sum you may receive is $86,697.04. If your impairment is rated at higher than 25 percent, the maximum amount is $173,391.90. This applies to workers who were injured after January 1, 2014. These are the maximums. To determine the specific amount you are eligible to receive, your employer’s workers’ comp carrier determines your average weekly wage and multiples it by 66 and 2/3 percent. There is no minimum weekly benefit.

These formulas are often complicated and confusing. You may also be eligible for scheduled or non-scheduled impairment and/or body disfigurement. Our experienced Denver workers’ compensation lawyers can help you understand these benefits and work to ensure you receive the maximum amount that you are entitled to under law.

Worker’s Compensation Fraud 101

Worker’s Compensation Fraud 101

Denver Workers Compensation Workers Compensation Blog

 

Workers’ compensation entitles employees to certain financial assistance when they experience job-related injuries or health problems. However, some people take advantage of this system by falsifying the compensation claims for personal gain or for the benefit of another party.

While a Denver workers’ compensation lawyer can help you with your claim, it is still important for you to be able to recognize and identify possible false information in compensation claims to avoid being a victim of fraud.

Defining Workers’ Compensation Fraud

When an individual makes false statements or representation regarding important details in a worker’s compensation claim, he or she can be charged with workers’ compensation fraud. In Colorado, this is considered as a serious criminal offense that is punishable by up to 3 years of imprisonment, $100,000 in fines, community service and a permanent criminal record.

It’s important to note that compensation fraud does not only take place when the claimants fake and exaggerate their condition. Sometimes, the employer or a third party can misreport information in a claim. Whether the wrong information is a result of an honest mistake or is done intentionally, it could lead to workers or claimants being falsely accused of fraud, risking their chance of acquiring the benefits.

Common Types of Workers’ Compensation Fraud

The whole process of claiming workers’ compensation involves more than just the employer and the employee. It also includes health service providers, claim adjusters, and workers compensation lawyers. Compensation fraud can be committed by any of these parties.

Workers’ compensation fraud by applicant or claimant

This can include a worker exaggerating symptoms or an injury, making multiple claims possibly under multiple identities, claiming injuries that did not happen or were obtained outside of work, and failing to report secondary jobs and additional income.

Workers’ compensation fraud by the employer

It involves intentionally falsifying information to avoid compensating the employee for the injury, lying to prevent a worker from filing the claim, and misclassifying employees and under-reporting payroll for lower premiums.

Workers’ compensation fraud by the adjuster

This includes insurance adjusters tampering with paperwork to account for the denial of a claim or accepting payment in exchange for referrals to certain healthcare providers.

Workers’ compensation fraud by the provider

This can entail health care providers overbilling the services provided, billing for treatment or services that were never provided, or performing tests or treatment that are unnecessary to earn more money.

Workers’ compensation fraud by the attorney or lawyer

This can involve lawyers soliciting or helping an employee in filing false compensation claims. If you have an attorney that is filing false claims on your behalf, you need to find a new attorney to represent you and your case!

Related: Top 10 Workers Compensation Fraud Cases of 2014

Workers’ compensation fraud does not only cost companies huge amount of money; it could also result to legitimate claims being delayed or not being paid out properly. If you’ve been injured, you need to have a Denver workers compensation lawyer on your side. Our experienced lawyers, who have a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the workers’ compensation law, as well as the different issues and obstacles related to it, can help you file your claim properly. To learn more about workers compensation fraud and other workers compensation issues, consult with a Denver workers compensation attorney today for FREE.

Workers’ Compensation can be difficult, confusing, and very complex. Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve. Contact our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys here or call us at 866-356-9898 for your free consultation.

 

 

Pinnacol Privatizing: Insurer of Last Resort for Multiple States?

Pinnacol Privatizing: Insurer of Last Resort for Multiple States?

Workers Compensation Blog

 

In the current political climate, it’s important to pay attention to more than just the presidential race. While that certainly calls the most attention to itself in terms of politicizing and polarizing people, other measures on the ballot and future legislation can affect Colorado voters significantly. Specifically, Denver workers compensation lawyers are looking at Pinnacol Assurance, which released proposed language for a law that would let it sell workers’ compensation policies outside the state of Colorado.

Greeley workers compensation lawyers will probably be the first to tell you that Pinnacol, as a state-chartered workers’ compensation insurer, is required to offer some level of workers’ compensation insurance to almost all companies. That means it’s probably the biggest insurance company and covers workers all over the spectrum of fields. Pinnacol could cover anything from construction companies to startups that just barely reach the minimum amount of employees after which a company is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

In December of 2015, Pinnacol announced that it planned to submit a proposal that would form a new company to sell workers’ compensation coverage in other states. Since state laws differ as they relate to workers’ compensation, this is a bold and almost unheard-of move for the Colorado workers’ compensation insurer of last resort. Pinnacol is, in fact, considered a state “political subdivision” so no matter what this change does, it cannot privatize Pinnacol.

Part of the reasoning behind Pinnacol’s move to provide workers’ compensation to states outside of Colorado is that other workers’ compensation insurers sell insurance in multiple states. Pinnacol policyholders, like companies that utilize Pinnacol but have multiple locations, had to have multiple insurance companies depending on the state. Pinnacol argues that this drove away business and kept the company from realizing its full potential.

The full language of the proposed legislation is on Pinnacol’s website. In 2012, the company tried and failed to privatize. Pinnacol says this new bill doesn’t call for privatization—simply the creation of a private subsidiary of Pinnacol. The distinction, it argues, is important.

Part of the worry about privatizing Pinnacol is that it will fundamentally change the way workers’ compensation insurance in Colorado is offered and available to the majority of people. Denver workers’ compensation attorneys often negotiate with Pinnacol to get injured workers the care they require. The insurance company pays for medical treatment, which is necessary because of work injuries. Pinnacol argues that the change would allow it to stay competitive and innovative. Many other private workers’ compensation companies sell insurance across state lines but Pinnacol is the best insurance at what it currently does.

Workers’ compensation is part of the worker safety net people don’t realize they need until it’s too late. When representing themselves at the polls, those who work and those who don’t should consider as many different aspects of themselves as possible. This means thinking ahead to the possibility of needing workers’ compensation insurance even if they don’t believe it’s likely that they’ll ever need the insurance.

If Pinnacol spreads itself too thin, there is a very real possibility that it will no longer be able to provide workers’ compensation insurance for so many companies at such a low cost. Business concerns aside, insurance companies exist to safeguard the people who buy insurance. In the case of workers’ compensation and Pinnacol, Pinnacol owes a responsibility to the businesses it insures and the workers who are injured and need medical care.

Workers’ Compensation can be difficult, confusing, and very complex. Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve. Contact us here or call us at(866) 356-9898 for your free consultation.
Source: http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20160217/NEWS08/160219837/comp-insurer-looks-to-sell-policies-outside-state-lines?tags=%7C70%7C92%7C304

Rates for Insurance Companies Going Down: Will Work Comp Insurance Be More Widespread?

Rates for Insurance Companies Going Down: Will Work Comp Insurance Be More Widespread?

Denver Disability Denver Workers Compensation

 

Business owners with a certain number of employees are required by state law in Colorado to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Period. If having workers’ compensation insurance and giving benefits to all injured workers were the same thing, however, workers’ compensation attorneys wouldn’t be needed. Businesses struggle with the workers’ compensation insurance requirement, particularly in high-risk businesses like manufacturing or construction.

This leads to all kinds of problems for workers, including being misrepresented as an independent contractor instead of an employee or being denied benefits because they’re told they weren’t acting in the course and scope of their work duties when they were injured. This much space for argument makes workers’ compensation attorneys vital to the system because workers, particularly when injured, shouldn’t have to try to understand the system when they should be focused on feeling better.

Businesses in Colorado have more of an incentive to buy workers’ compensation insurance than ever. Since 2012, insurance premiums have grown faster than losses. For Colorado workers’ compensation lawyers, that means companies are paying less for the workers’ compensation premiums the companies pay. In October of 2015, the Colorado Division of Insurance cut the average loss cost of premiums almost 2%. The premium average cost was a flat rate from 2014 through 2015.

RELATED: Colorado Workers Compensation: Reporting Within Time Prescribed To Be Entitled To Compensation

What does this mean for workers? Well, in general, this means workers are reporting fewer injuries on the job. Since workers are reporting fewer injuries, insurance compensation companies are paying out less money in medical benefits, wage loss, and overall compensation, so workers’ compensation insurance is getting cheaper. Colorado’s Commissioner of Insurance, Marguerite Salazar, says “this positive development comes from the work by employers and employees to better manage workers’ compensation costs.” Essentially, workers and workplaces are getting safer or more workers are choosing to not report compensable injuries because of pressure from their jobs.

Often, a workers’ compensation claim damages the relationship between an employee and employer. This is a natural and unfortunate consequence of the system. If the system were perfect, workers and their employers would be able to maintain a strong relationship even after an injured worker recovers and wants to return to work. But insurance premiums go up if the insurance policy is tapped regardless of the reason so employers can sometimes see people who file for workers’ compensation as antagonistic to a degree. Especially when the employer is smaller and doesn’t have as many workers to take care of, employers can tend to see someone filing a workers’ compensation claim as a personal attack on a small business.

Workers, on the other hand, deserve the right to visit doctors and seek medical treatment for injuries they suffer on the job. That’s why the workers’ compensation system exists. It is a no-fault system so as long as the injuries are reported the right way at the right time and qualify, fault shouldn’t factor into treatment. The push and pull between employers and employees makes Workers’ Compensation a difficult field to navigate without insulting everyone involved.

In 2015, accident frequency in the workplace in Colorado went up. More inexperienced workers in the workplace due to a stronger United States economy means jobs with high hazards have had higher amounts of work-related injuries since 2012. From 2012 to 2013 alone, work-related construction injuries that were non-fatal went up 9.5 percent. Older workers are also staying at their jobs longer with retirement ages going up and work injuries reflect this trend. From 2012 to 2013, the frequency of accidents reported for workers 65 years and older rose almost 20 percent.

Not only are accidents getting more frequent, they are becoming more severe. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on-the-job construction fatalities from 2013 to 2014 rose almost 10 percent. Hospital and prescription costs are rising more quickly than inflation. These are the main costs for workers’ compensation claims.

So how is workers’ compensation insurance in Colorado becoming, as a whole, cheaper? One answer is the interaction between workers and the workers’ compensation system. It’s understandable that workers would hesitate to report injuries. People love their jobs and want to keep them. But without treatment for medical injuries sustained on the job, uninsured workers will have no recourse for treatment. And without use, the system will atrophy and eventually disappear, which takes out one of the most important safeguards for workers on the job that exist in Colorado today.

Workers’ Compensation can be difficult, confusing, and very complex. Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve. Contact us at (866) 356-9898 for your free consultation to review your workers’ compensation case.

 

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2016/03/10/3-signs-of-trouble-ahead-for-workers-compensation.html