How Workers’ Compensation Carriers in Colorado Prey On Injured Workers

Denver Workers Compensation

How do attorneys tend to pitch their services…they tell potential clients that insurance carriers will take advantage of their knowledge of the system and the injured workers’ lack of knowing the system. There is no truer example of this than the following:

In CO, when an injured worker is assigned a psychological impairment that results from a work-related injury, their compensation benefits, typically, are limited to 12 weeks of the injured worker’s weekly wage loss benefits. For example, an injured worker who receives $500 per week in wage loss benefits and receives a 5% psych. impairment that equates to $15,000 in compensation benefits; is typically limited to $6000 [$500 x 12 weeks]. HOWEVER, THERE ARE 2 EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE LIMITING THE INJURED WORKER’S COMPENSATION BENEFITS in this context.  One, which I will discuss herein, is that IF the psych. impairment results from a “crime of violence”, the limitation DOES NOT apply.  In other words, if the injured worker was assaulted at work, their compensation is not limited to 12 weeks.

So why do I feel compelled to write all of this? It certainly in dry and boring, but here is my point.  I had a client of mine who was assaulted at work.  The worker’s compensation carrier KNOWING THAT MY CLIENT WAS ASSAULTED limited her benefits to 12 weeks.  Because we are experts in workers’ compensation, we “corrected” the carrier’s lack of understanding (a kind way of stating that we didn’t let the carrier screw our client) and forced them to admit for the correct amount of benefits which yielded an additional $11,000.  Without our assistance, our client would never have known that they were getting taken advantage of and being stripped of the benefits they were entitled. THIS TYPE OF STUFF HAPPENS ALL OF THE TIME.  WHETHER YOU CONSIDER THIS A PITCH OR CONSIDER THIS A SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE COMMUNITY,  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER; USE IT!

Workers’ Comp & Cannabis: Find Out How Marijuana Can Affect Your Colorado Workers’ Compensation Case

Workers’ Comp & Cannabis: Find Out How Marijuana Can Affect Your Colorado Workers’ Compensation Case

Denver Workers Compensation marijuana and workers' compensation

April 20th has become an informal day to celebrate marijuana so today we wanted to let injured workers in Colorado how marijuana can affect their workers’ compensation claims.

 

 Here’s 5 things you should know about using cannabis while seeking workers’ compensation benefits in the State of Colorado: 

One. Marijuana use is still illegal under Federal Law.

Even if it is legal under Colorado Law, that just means that you will not be charged with a crime by the State of Colorado.

Two. You can still be fired and denied wage loss benefits for a positive drug test.

Under Colorado law, if an injured worker is at fault for the job loss, the insurance company does not have to pay lost wage benefits. Employers who have a consistent and clearly communicate an anti-drug policy can and do fire their employees for marijuana use. If you knew your employer does not tolerate “illegal” drug use, then your marijuana use my cause you to lose your job and work injury wage loss benefits.

Three. Your benefits can be reduced by 50% if you are injured under the influence of marijuana.

Colorado law permits a work injury insurance company to reduce monetary benefits to injured workers if the injury occurs because the worker was under the influence of marijuana. It’s less about being illegal, because benefits can be reduced if the worker was under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana intoxication is more difficult and problematic to prove and establish under current medical testing technology.

Four. Medical Marijuana is not automatically a medical benefit under workers compensation.

Even though there is increasing evidence of the helpfulness of medical marijuana, it is highly unlikely that your treating physician will recommend it as a paid benefit. Typically insurance companies will not pay for it and there is not yet a case where a Judge has ordered it.

Five. How marijuana use interacts with a work injury claim is complicated.

Depending upon your circumstances, marijuana use may have no to little to a lot of impact on your rights and benefits. That’s why it’s critical for you to consult with an experienced knowledgeable attorney. We have helped injured workers for over twenty years and have a combined seventy years of experience. Let us help you navigate your rights.

 

Contact our Denver and Greeley Workers’ Compensation Attorneys For A Free Review Of Your Case.

 

Workers’ Compensation Help

What to Do if Your Workers’ Compensation Case in Colorado is Denied

Denver Workers Compensation

In some cases, getting compensated in the aftermath of an injury might not be as easy as you initially anticipated. In the vast majority of circumstances, workplace injuries are covered by employers with worker’s compensation insurance. This doesn’t mean your claim will be accepted. If your case is denied, there are still some options and you have the power to appeal to the denial and try to reverse the outcome of the situation. Appeals happen through the state’s board of workers compensation – but before trying that route, it is important to understand why your particular case has been denied. To cover every possible scenario and to gain a better perspective of the situation, as well as your own rights, it might be wise to hire an attorney to consult and assist you through the process.

Specific regulations will vary from state to state, but there are many reasons why your worker’s comp claim could have been denied.

Perhaps, you did not report your injury on time. If you wait too long before reporting an injury, you might not receive any compensation. Some workers try to hide their injury, or ignore it, trying to soldier through it to avoid losing working hours and income. On the other hand, failing to attend an injury and rest might actually worsen the situation, and it might come back and haunt you at a later date. Some people experience symptoms of an injury only days after an accident, and if the event has not been reported promptly, they might risk not receiving anything. Even if it doesn’t seem serious at first, always report your injury and file your claim in a timely manner.

Some injuries, on the other hand, are simply not eligible for compensation. This is often the case of stress-related injuries, since the exact root of the problem is often very difficult to prove with transparency.

In certain cases, your comp claim could have been denied because your employer disputed the claim. Perhaps, claiming that the injury did not indeed happen at the work place, or that it was caused by horseplay on the injured part.

This article barely scratches the surfaces: there are many reasons why a comp claim could be denied, and if you think the decision is unfair in your case, consult an attorney and appeal for a chance of reversal.

What is the IWP and What Does it Do?

Denver Workers Compensation

IWP is an organization that focuses on delivering medicinals at the homes of injuries individuals. This is not exactly like your average mail-order pharmacy, as IWP’s service is particularly geared towards people who have experienced recent injuries. Read on to learn more about some of IWP’s most distinctive marks and perks.

 Fast turnaround and prompt assistance for people of all walks of life.

 When affected by injuries, immediate care is absolutely essential. This is the reason why IWP pledges to deliver prescriptions with an extremely fast turnaround. Normally, the service is able to deliver prescription meds within the span of 7 to 14 days, which is absolutely remarkable. At a small additional overcharge, customers can even request convenient next-day delivery, when immediate delivery is essential.

With locations spread throughout Massachusetts, Arizona and the state of California, IWP has a growing and effective infrastructure to cater to people throughout the country. IWP is committed to serving customers efficiently, regardless of their background. For this reason, the actually offer flexible language services through a dedicated customer services that can answer to requests in English, Spanish, Italian, Polish and many other languages and dialects. This way, IWP can ensure clarity and user-friendliness when serving customers of different cultural heritages – boasting the same excellent high standards for everyone.

Ultimately, this service is particularly perfect for people looking for prompt assistance and for a truly understanding relationship with a pharmacy.

For additional information, resources and know-how, please visit IWP’s official website:

www.iwpharmacy.com

How Your Work Injury Can Affect Your Home Life

Denver Workers Compensation

Getting injured could become the gateway to a wide range of issues, and the aftermath of an accident should never be taken lightly.

Injuries are scary to deal with. In some cases, the effects of an accident could have lasting impacts on your daily routine. Some people are stuck with post-injury symptoms that they need to deal with for the rest of their lives, including chronic pain, arthritis and more. In some cases, pain can be managed with the help of physical therapy, painkillers or alternative solutions such as acupuncture. On the other hand, certain injuries could deeply affect the lifestyle of an individual’s home life. In some unfortunate scenarios, people affected by injuries might no longer continue with their works – this is particularly common in fields such as athletics, where people who get injured might sometime be unable to keep pursing their sport professionally.

The aftermath of an accident, particularly when it debilitates people and impairs their ability to work and provide for themselves, could cause a wide variety of collateral mental symptoms, such as stress, depression or anxiety. In a vicious circle of irony and damage, such mental issues, could in turn cause yet another layer of physical ailments, including high blood pressure and cardiac problems. An injury should not be taken likely, as it can be a gateway to a wide variety of problems that might affect you in ways you can’t even imagine. It’s a great idea to stay positive and promptly focus on recovering, but it is also important to fight for a compensation, when possible. Hiring an attorney could help your voice be heard and give you a better chance of a fair treatment.

The Truth About the Affordable Care Act and Workers’ Compensation

The Truth About the Affordable Care Act and Workers’ Compensation

Denver Workers Compensation
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) presented changes in healthcare coverage that often became controversial. Knee-jerk reactions from insurance companies and human resources organizations believed the ACA would either reduce care quality in workers’ compensation or encourage fraud.

Independent non-partisan studies showed these fears were unfounded. In fact, the ACA did more to help workers’ compensation claims and reduce fraud. These are the myths often stated about the ACA and workers’ compensation and the truth of these issues.

Myth: The ACA will crowd out Denver workers’ compensation patients as demand for primary care increases.

Truth: Studies show that the increased demand has not affected access and quality of care for workers’ compensation patients.

The ACA increased health insurance coverage which created a run on primary care. Doctors received more patient files and that was expected to decrease the quality of care for those receiving treatment under a workers’ compensation policy.

A comprehensive report by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. (NCCI), concluded that there was no significant impact to care access. Medicine has always been a demanding field and that did not change with the ACA. Clinics and hospitals adapted to the new demand for primary care. Patients received better treatment overall for all their needs, including any workers’ compensation claims.

The same report showed that 68 percent of primary care services occurred during the first 10 days of a workers’ compensation claim. Basically, these claims start off as being demanding on healthcare providers but eventually taper down to become manageable. That allows the issue to even out across the board as providers adapt to patients’ needs.

Myth: The ACA increases the possibility of workers’ compensation fraud.

Truth: Due to increased access, there are fewer reasons to file a workers’ compensation claim and that will likely reduce fraud.

Workers’ compensation coverage can be a result of cost-shifting. When a worker is underinsured, doctors may classify the injury or illness as a workplace injury. This allows the claim to become a workers’ compensation matter that reduces costs to the worker.

Cost shifting was most common with pre-existing conditions. When insurance companies were allowed to deny coverage for those injuries or illnesses, it created a desperate situation where fraud became preferable to declining treatment.

Now, pre-existing conditions are covered and that reduces the need to classify a condition as a workplace claim to guarantee coverage. Two reports, the NCCI one and another independent study by Cognizant, indicate overall claims and fraud decreased since the passage of the ACA.

Myth: Doctors are more likely to label a condition as a workplace injury because they receive more for reimbursement.

Truth: While the insurance industry feared this development, it never played out.

This is related to the crowding-out concern. As doctors face higher case loads, they may be concerned about being paid for all these patients. ACA policies do not pay out as much as workers’ compensation ones so doctors become more willing to believe fraudulent claims and push for workers’ compensation rather than a routine healthcare claim.

However, this has not played out. Workers’ compensation claims decreased overall with no evidence of fraud becoming more widespread. As stated earlier, workers are not as dependent on the workers’ compensation to receive healthcare. The same incentive for fraudulent claims does not exist anymore.

Myth: The ACA will raise workers’ compensation medical costs.

Truth: The support of preventative care reduces claims and also medical costs.

Cognizant reported that in Massachusetts, workers’ compensation claims reduced by 16.7 percent and workers’ compensation hospital costs decreased between five and 10 percent. The ACA reduced costs from the supply side and that affects all healthcare, even that covered by workers’ compensation. This is especially true in states that adopted a Medicaid expansion and increased coverage to more people.

Preventative care played a role as well. For example, obesity prevention programs reduced workers’ compensation costs by three to four percent.

The areas of workers’ compensation and healthcare are complex and that often leads to misunderstanding and rumors. These myths can lead to uninformed decisions and mishandling of your claim. Contact our Denver Workers’ Compensation Attorneys today to get help with or a review of your Colorado workers’ compensation case.

Marijuana Use Can Impact Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Marijuana Use Can Impact Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Denver Workers Compensation

When it comes to marijuana use on-the-job, the best advice is “don’t do it!” Contrary to what you may believe, whether for medical or recreational uses, your right to toke is not protected by law in the work environment. Colorado has legalized both the medical and recreational consumption of marijuana, but our state laws still butt up against federal laws. And this makes for lots of confusion across the board.

Employers on Marijuana Use

Legal marijuana, whether for medical reasons or recreational use, is no mandate for use at work. Employers are well within their legal rights to prohibit consumption at work and to require drug testing to weed out users from their workforce.

Federal law prohibits the possession and consumption of marijuana for any reason. This supports the rights of employers in banning marijuana consumption in their employees. Now that the new Trump administration is in place, federal versus state law on marijuana may become even murkier. Currently, there is no clear-cut answer on whether the federal government will be cracking down on states that allow legal marijuana use.

Statewide Marijuana Use Laws

As of the November 2016 election, more than half of all the states in the union, plus D.C., now have medical and/or recreational marijuana use legislation on their books.

1. California passed legal recreational marijuana use last November.
2. Massachusetts joined the ranks of recreational marijuana use states this past election.
3. Maine will soon be allowing limited recreational marijuana use and on-site consumption in social clubs.
4. Though late to the party, Nevada is now a legal recreational marijuana state.
5. Washington, D.C. voted for nonmedical marijuana use in 2014.
6. Oregon came aboard on recreational use of marijuana in the summer of 2015.
7. Alaska passed recreational marijuana law in 2015.
8. Colorado passed legislation to allow recreational marijuana use in 2012. Recent ballot initiatives support public consumption programs in Denver.
9. Washington joined Colorado in groundbreaking recreational marijuana use in 2012.
10. Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware have all legalized medical marijuana.

Bottom Line: Colorado Statute on Marijuana and Workers’ Compensation

Regardless of what the future holds for legal marijuana consumption, for now, Colorado Statute, Article 42 of Title 8 limits your financial benefits under the workers’ compensation system if you test positive for a controlled substance. You can lose 50 percent of your income replacement benefits if marijuana use is detected. While you will still receive full medical treatment benefits, your finances will likely suffer greatly from this impact.

Note that the issue with federal vs. state laws on marijuana impact this area of the law as well. §8-42-112.5. C.R.S. excludes medically prescribed drugs from the identified controlled substances, but that’s the problem. Doctors in Colorado cannot prescribe marijuana. They can only advise their patients on its use.

If you have questions about marijuana and the workplace and workers’ compensation benefits, ask a lawyer. Your pot-smoking buddy probably has a lot of opinions and knows quite a bit about the legalities of smoking weed in Colorado. But workers’ compensation is a complicated system wherein state and federal laws often overlap. A Colorado workers’ compensation lawyer is your best source of information on this thorny subject. We’re always here to answer your questions- don’t wait- get a free consultation on your workers’ compensation case now.

 

Gerard Smith Q/A – Dealing with the Aftermaths of a Sporting Injury

Denver Workers Compensation

Many athletes throughout the world struggle to deal with the aftermath of a sporting injury. Not only is recovery daunting for an athlete, but it might pose an entire career at risk. In addition to that, getting compensated for an injury might be quite difficult in certain circumstances. In order to learn more about the process, please read on to learn about Gerard Smith, an athlete who agreed to talk to us provided we altered his name (yes, Gerard Smith is indeed an alias) and avoid to disclose the true nature of his sportsmanship and athletic affiliation.

Gerard took the time to answer a few of our questions and let us known about his stories, feelings and thought related to an injury he experienced some time ago. For legal reasons, Gerard is not really at liberty to discuss his case or divulge actual personal information, but his answers certainly shed some light on some issues that many athletes across the world can easily relate to. Please read on to find out more.

Q: You recently fell victim of a sporting injury. What was the most challenging aspect of the aftermath of that particular event?

 A: One of the most challenging aspects of the injury was the uncertainty that came after it. To this day, I still don’t know when, and whether I will recover fully. The situation is causing me financial loss, as well as other personal issues such as low morale. To make things worse, getting the right compensation for my injury, which was due to a third party’s negligence, was actually harder than I had anticipated.

Q: How did your injury affect your career?

A: As i mentioned earlier, the injury put a lot of uncertainty on my career. it is scary to think you might need to stop doing what you do for a long time, or worse of all, that you might never fully recover.

Q: What would you say to fellow athletes who might go through the same thing you had to endure, and what advice would you give them?

A: First and foremost, stay strong and set your priority straight. Seek legal help as soon as you can and have a clear view of your options. Your physical recovery is obviously going to be your first priority, but if you deserve compensation, don’t let it slide and even if you think the scales would tip in your favor, always hire an attorney, if only for peace of mind.

Thank you for your time and your thoughtful answers. We wish you all the best with your recovery and we’re sure you’ll be up and ready to hit the game soon!

Two most common overlooked benefits injured workers in Colorado should get – but don’t.

Two most common overlooked benefits injured workers in Colorado should get – but don’t.

Denver Workers Compensation Greeley Workers Compensation Lawyer Workers Compensation Blog

There are some Denver workers’ compensation benefits that are well known such as medical care and payment of lost wages.  However, there are also some benefits that are not as well known and should not be overlooked.

Some injured workers who are owed disfigurement benefits.  Disfigurement benefits are paid for things like scars from surgery or suffering from a limp.  The workers’ compensation insurance company is not required to automatically pay such a benefit.

Another benefit is mileage reimbursement.  The workers’ compensation insurance company needs to reimburse you for all of your trips to doctors, physical therapy visits and even to pick up your medications at the pharmacy.  Even if someone else provides transportation for you, you can still get reimbursed for that mileage.  If you are unable to get to your medical appointments, the insurance company has to provide you some form of transportation to get you there.  We would welcome the opportunity to explore these little known benefits with you.

As always, how this or any other issue we discuss in this blog would apply to your case depends on many more factors.  We urge you to call us to see if you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  Workers Compensation is 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.

Four Things That You Think Might Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim- But Don’t!

Four Things That You Think Might Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim- But Don’t!

Denver Workers Compensation

If you’ve been injured on the job, and are considering filing for workers’ compensation benefits in Colorado, you may be wondering how to file your claim, and what factors may affect your workers’ compensation case. Many injured workers believe that certain circumstances may affect whether or not their workers’ comp claim will be approved. Here are 4 things that many injured workers believe will affect their claim- but typically will not:

1- Your employer is at fault for the injury.  Workers’ Compensation is a hundred year law that reflects a compromise between injured workers and workers.  Employers must now pay for all injuries that happen on the job – even ones where the employee is negligent, or someone else is negligent, or there is no negligence at all.  In exchange, employers cannot be sued by their employees for work injuries.

2- You can’t go back to the work you used to be able to do.  Unfortunately we see this all too often.  The law in Colorado is incredibly indifferent to employees who cannot go back to doing the kinds of work, or earning the income, they used to do before the injury. There are only two “disability” benefits under Workers Compensation after the Doctor says you are at Maximum Medical Improvement.  The first is called Permanent Partial Disability and the amount is primarily based on loss of range of motion.  It does not go up or down depending upon whether you are still working.

The second is called Permanent Total Disability and it covers wage loss after the injured worker reaches Maximum Medical Improvement.  But it is incredibly difficult to get because the injured workers must be able to prove to a Judge that they are so disabled that that they cannot earn ANY Wages at ANY job in ANY location.  If you can do a temporary, part-time, seasonal job at minimum wage – then you cannot get any compensation for wage loss after MMI under workers compensation.

(You may be eligible for other benefits under other laws, for example unemployment benefits, or social security disability benefits.)

3- You worked many years for the employer.  While it may make you more sympathetic to treating or evaluating doctors, the law does not provide injured workers with more or less benefits simply because they have worked ten years, ten months or even ten hours with the employer before your injury.

4- Your employer closes.  Your employer paid premiums to an insurance company to cover all your benefits for your injury. It does not matter what happens with your employer.

 

Workers’ Compensation in Colorado can be complicated. Let our experienced Denver area workers’ compensation attorneys help you navigate your claim and help get it approved. Call Us Toll Free! (866) 356-9898 or click here for a free consultation!