The Colorado Workers’ Compensation Education Association

Aug 21, 2014 | WC & Other Laws

Colorado Workers’ Compensation Education AssociationMichael Kaplan is the former President of the Workers’ Compensation Education Association (WCEA).  The WCEA is the leading advocate group for injured workers in Colorado and is comprised of over 100 attorneys specializing in workers’ compensation law.  Each attorney only represents injured workers, not insurance carriers.

The Colorado Workers’ Compensation Education Association

Michael, presently a WCEA board member, is one of only a handful of attorneys who represent the WCEA on its legislative committee. Almost every year, the WCEA proposes legislation that has the intent of improving the workers’ compensation system.  Like legislative sessions before, the WCEA authored new legislation in 2013.  After Michael testified at the State Capitol on April 29th, SB13-285 passed out of committee unanimously and was signed into law.

Below is a brief summary of all the changes that will be enacted as of July 1, 2013:

If the Employer or Carrier does not furnish medical care to the Claimant as required by the Workers’ Comp Act, and the claim is eventually found to be compensable, the Claimant is reimbursed for the costs they paid out for medical care.

After notice of termination of a fringe benefit like medical insurance, the employer, carrier, or third-party administrator is required to recalculate the Claimant’s average weekly wage and begin payment of the wages based on the recalculated amount within 15 days.

The bill requires temporary partial disability to be paid at least every two weeks.

The employer, carrier, or third-party administrator must now provide the Claimant with a complete copy of the claims file within 15 days after the mailing of a written request.

In order to request attorney fees and costs when an opposing attorney requests a hearing for an unripe issue, as the Act provides now, the requesting party must prove that it attempted to have any unripe issues stricken by a prehearing administrative law judge. Fees and costs may only be awarded if the listing of the unripe issue directly causes them.

The amount of time that must pass before an employer or insurer may request an independent medical examiner if the treating physician has not determined that an injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement is extended from 18 to 24 months. If the independent medical examiner selected determines that the worker has reached maximum medical improvement, the independent medical examiner shall also determine the worker’s permanent medical impairment.

The WCEA’s overwhelming objective in authoring SB13-285 was to promote the General Assembly’s intent of assuring the quick and efficient delivery of disability and medical benefits to injured workers.

Related Article: Leading Denver Workers’ Compensation Attorney Makes Headway Against Work Injuries With Prestigious Awards

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