Three Steps To Take If You Are Injured at Work in Colorado

Three Steps To Take If You Are Injured at Work in Colorado

Denver Workers Compensation Workers Compensation Blog

Remaining safe and avoiding injuries while working is part of everyone’s job. Unfortunately, accidents happen. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occurred with private industry employers in 2016, which shakes out to about 2.9 cases per 100 full time equivalent workers. While job-related injuries or accidents are common, many employees (and employers) do not know what to do when a mishap first occurs. Below are three important steps to take when you are injured at work in Colorado.

  1. Report the Injury.
    An injured worker must first report the incident, if at all possible in writing, to their employer. While this seems somewhat obvious, many times these items go unreported – especially if the injury does not require medical attention immediately. The injury may worsen over time and if not reported, there is no documentation of it. If the accident is not reported, an employer can deny the worker medical treatment and benefits deserved for missed time from work. Reporting as soon as possible prevents many potential problems.
  2. Seek Medical Treatment.
    The next step in the process of filing an on the job injury claim is to seek medical treatment immediately. In most cases, the worker has the right to select a doctor from a designated list predetermined by an employer to treat them. From this point forward, the physician chosen is the “authorized treating physician” for the injury
  3. File a Claim for Compensation.
    Any injury that requires treatment and/or results in lost time from work, should be reported to the Division of Workers Compensation. This should happen as soon as possible. This will force the insurance company to either formally admit or deny your claim.

On the job injuries and the processes of properly reporting them are extremely complicated and require all parties involved to take many steps. At Kaplan Morell, LLC, we are more than happy and very capable of discussing your workers’ compensation claim(s). As one of the best workers’ comp law practices in Colorado, our expert team of attorneys and staff help injured workers day in and day out and can help you too if you are in need. Give us a call at (866) 356-9898 or send us a message today!

Social Media and Workers Compensation – Colorado

Social Media and Workers Compensation – Colorado

Denver Disability Denver Workers Compensation

Well, good morning. today, I wanted to talk with you briefly about what happens if you’re injured and you are on social media. That particular topic came into full focus this week with a client of mine and a client that was not mine. Let me talk about the client that wasn’t mine. A law firm that we practice against is very aggressive against injured workers. They had a claim where the injured worker said she was permanent, totally, disabled as a result of her injury.

Example 1: Total Disability and Workers Compensation in Court

By claiming permanent total disability when you are injured on the job in Colorado you are saying that your injury means you are unable to do any job at any employer for any amount of wages anywhere. It’s a very difficult benefit to get awarded in court. In this particular claim, the injured worker said that she couldn’t use her arm. She couldn’t raise her arm or keep her arm away from her body at all. Part of the claim was also that because of the injury that she just stayed home. She couldn’t go out, etcetera.

The parties went to a hearing in front of a judge, and she got on the stand because she has to get on the stand and explain it. When it came time to cross-examine her, the attorney started pulling out pictures and posts from her social media. Those posts showed that she was extremely social and that she was going out to gatherings. She was going out to events and other things. And worse, photos of her using her arm or arms in a way that she said that she couldn’t and upon which she was claiming that she couldn’t work at all.

Attorney Perspective – Reason to be Concerned

Now, the scary thing from a lawyer’s point of view is this: the other attorney, the insurance company attorney, was able to introduce these posts and pictures without giving notice to the client, the injured worker, or her attorney. In other words, the attorney and her client walked into court not knowing that they were going to be confronted with these posts.

The judge ruled that they were admissible even though they had not been exchanged, even though the other side, the insurance company, had not given notice that they were going to use these posts because as the insurance company argued, “She’s the one who created them. We’re not surprising her by presenting her with statements and photos that she herself has posted.”

So really, the only person that’s surprised in this room is her attorney, and that’s got to be a big wake-up call because oftentimes we advise clients how to handle social media when they get injured, and we hope, and we pray, that our clients follow our instructions.

Example 2: Settlement Conference with Judge

I’ll go to the case where it was my client this week. We’re in the middle of a settlement conference, and the judge is saying, “You know if you go to court they’re going to be pouring through their social media, etcetera.”

Now, the good news, there was nothing in his email feed or his Facebook feed that violated his restrictions or that was problematic. But what was shocking to me was how much of his Facebook feed was public, meaning you didn’t have to be his friend in order to see it. It was public. If you’re on social media, particularly Facebook, I want you to make sure that what you’re posting isn’t public but that it’s private, seen by only those people that you’ve befriended. If your post has a little globe on it that means anybody in the world can see that post.

If on the other hand, it’s got people on it, that means that only your friends can see it, “Facebook friends.” Understand, you can also tailor your feed so that only particular friends see your posts and not others. (See Facebook Guidelines here)

Number One Advice to Workers Comp Clients

The number one advice that we typically give clients is, “Don’t engage in social media while you’re getting injured.” Don’t allow people to tag you in photos while you’re getting injured, not because we’re trying to encourage people or to make it easier for them to fake their injuries. That’s not the case with the vast majority of our workers. I’ve represented injured workers over the last 20-plus years and I would say only a handful, less than five, have been shown to be fakers, fraud, malingerers, etcetera The vast majority of injured workers are legitimately injured. The problem with social media is that sometimes pictures are posted and we don’t know when they were taken. We don’t know where they were taken. They get tagged, and they show up in your timeline as if it occurred that day, that time.

Timestamp of Facebook Posts

I’ve had clients who were treated, and they were doing exercises, and they were just walking a course, not running it but, they tracked it with an app that’s for running. When it automatically posted to social media, it said that she had run three miles when in fact all she had done was walk three miles.

So things get confused, conflated, exacerbated, exaggerated, and the best course is to just not post at all on social media while you’re injured. It’s also best not to allow people to tag you while you’re on social media. If you are going to be on social media, you need to keep your stuff private just to your friends.

So, that’s what was happening today in Workers Compensation land here in Colorado. I hope all of you have a great weekend, and we will see you again later.

Workers Comp Questions?

Do You have a Workers Comp Question that you need to be answered? Contact Kaplan Morrell, the Workers Comp experts in Colorado at (303) 780-7329 or via our contact form here (https://kaplanmorrell.com/denver-workers-comp-lawyer/). Our team of Workers Comp professionals will be happy to answer your questions so you are prepared during the Workers Comp process.

Five Things To Reduce Your Chance Of Injury While Driving On The Job

Five Things To Reduce Your Chance Of Injury While Driving On The Job

Denver Workers Compensation Greeley Workers Compensation Lawyer

For even the most experienced Colorado driver, winter weather brings a whole new set of risks to everyone behind the wheel. Each year, over 1,300 deaths occur, and more than 116,000 people are injured on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement. Kaplan Morrell Law knows just how dangerous the combination of winter weather and driving can be. We also know many jobs require you to drive regularly to complete your tasks and duties. These five tips can reduce your risk of accident or injury while driving on the job this winter.

Statistics via the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

Five Winter Driving Tips to Reduce Risk of An Accident

  1. Inspect your vehicle before winter and throughout the season.
    • Check battery.
    • Check tire tread.
    • Check windshield wipers.
    • Check antifreeze.
    • Keep windows clear.
    • Put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir.
  2. Winterize your car and keep an emergency kit. Things to keep in include in your car at all times throughout the winter are:
    • A full tank of gas
    • First aid kit
    • Cell phone charger
    • Water and snacks
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Ice scraper and snowbrush
    • Backup clothing
    • Jumper cables
    • Tire chains
    • Shovel
    • Emergency Flares
  3. Obey cold weather driving rules by proceeding with caution throughout the duration of your trip.
    • Remove all snow or ice that may have accumulated on or around your car before beginning your drive.
    • Steer into a skid.
    • Account for stopping distances being longer, so begin to decelerate in advance.
    • Never idle for an extended period of time with your windows up or in an enclosed area.
    • Drive with caution: accelerate, decelerate, and drive slowly.
    • Maintaining a safe following distance with ample room to brake is necessary when navigating rough roads.
    • Finally, avoid using cruise control on slippery roads.
  4. Protect yourself and passengers while on the road.
    • Ensure all vehicle occupants, including you, are buckled up.
    • Use child safety seats properly.
    • Avoid placing a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.
    • Keep children 12 and under in the back seat.
  5. Prevent further danger.
    • Never mix drugs or alcohol with driving
      • If you are planning to partake in drinking or drugs, designate a sober driver.
    • Keep your eyes open and on your surroundings – look for things like pedestrians, stopped vehicles, etc.
    • Do not drive if you are fatigued. Allow for plenty of rest before the trip, take a break at least once per three hours, and rotate drivers throughout when possible.

If you live in Colorado, you know first hand just how bad weather can impact driving conditions. This is why it is imperative for drivers to use extreme caution and pay close attention when driving before, during, or after a snowstorm. Even though you may be diligent, accidents can still occur. If you, a family member, or friend is a victim of a driving injury on the job this winter, contact our workers’ compensation experts at Kaplan Morrell. Our legal team is comprised of professionals in workers’ compensation in Colorado and will review your case with compassion and commitment by getting to the bottom of your automobile accident while helping you get the compensation you may be eligible for. Give the best workers’ comp lawyers in Front Range, Western Slope, and Eastern Plains, CO a call at (866) 356-9898 or complete our form here.

 

Changes in 2018 Denver Workers’ Compensation Laws

Changes in 2018 Denver Workers’ Compensation Laws

Denver Workers Compensation

The General Assembly adopted three bills affecting injured workers in Colorado. Workers’ compensation insurance is in place to protect injured workers and their employers in the state of Colorado. This insurance pays for medical treatment and a portion of lost wages when an employee is injured on the job. According to state law dating back to 1915, every Colorado business with at least one employee must have workers’ compensation. Each year, the state legislature evaluates and adjusts the policies and procedures in the law. They often lean on citizen input, voters, and professionals in workers’ compensation in Colorado to make yearly changes. This year, the General Assembly adopted three bills that will have significant impact.

Similar Coverage Independent Commercial Vehicles
The final act the General Assembly put into effect in 2018 is Similar Coverage for Independent Commercial Vehicles, which was signed on May 4, 2018 but not made effective until August 8. Essentially this act allows independent contractor operators of commercial vehicles that weigh 16,001 pounds or more to have access to coverage called “occupational accident” instead of workers’ compensation. Commercial drivers who are not employees but operate their own rig are typically not covered under traditional workers compensation benefits.

The “occupational accident” coverage must be compliant with regulations according to the Division of Insurance. Key takeaways from this new act:

  • Occupational Accident Policy Benefits must be “at least comparable” to the benefits offered by workers’ compensation.
  • The Division of Insurance will be required to set minimum standards for coverage.

Workers’ Compensation Cash Fund Maximum Reserve Exemption
Signed and put into effect on June 6, 2018, this act will exempt the Workers’ Compensation Cash fund from the legal cap that is currently on uncommitted reserves. This reestablishes a prior exemption that was eliminated in 2017. This restored exemption will grant the Division of Workers’ Compensation to bypass needing to alter the surcharge costs paid by insurers and self-insured employers. Wondering if the Workers’ Compensation Cash Fund Exemption affects you or your business? A Denver workers’ compensation attorney from our Kaplan Morrell team can help!

Workers’ Compensation Out-of-state Workers Temporarily In Colorado
Employers from out of state will now not be required to obtain workers’ compensation coverage for employees temporarily working in Colorado, so long as certain circumstances are met. Only states that are adjacent to Colorado (Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah) are eligible for the exemption. It is important to note that this exemption is only eligible if the home state of the employer offers comparable reciprocity. According to this act, “temporarily working” is defined as a period of work six month or less of the transportation of goods interstate. Additionally, the employee must be covered under workers’ compensation coverage in their native home state. If you are unsure if you qualify (as an employer or employee), one of our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can help you determine your status.

Understanding workers’ compensation legal policies and practices is no easy task as these rules and acts are ever-changing. Having an experienced and well-versed team on your side can help. The best workers’ comp lawyers in Denver, CO and best workers’ comp lawyers in Greeley, CO can be found at Kaplan Morrell. Our team also understands that injuries and accidents happen on the job from time to time and our trained disability lawyers in Greeley and Denver, CO are more than capable of helping you ensure you get the support and benefits you are entitled to as you recover. Contact our team today!

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.