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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!