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The Workers Compensation Reform: What Colorado Employees Should Know About It

What is the Worker’s Compensation Reform all about?

It is a social insurance system established about 100 years ago wherein employers are given protection from civil liability. In return, they should provide compensation in the form of cash and medical services to employees who experienced injuries or accidents in the workplace. Denver workers compensation attorneys have fought for the rights of workers over the years. The benefits received by employers have drastically improved through time such as being modified to reflect increase in salaries.

What are the Colorado Employees Entitled To?

It has been commonly said that statutes dictate what can be done while the rules will tell you how to do so. In Colorado, the employee’s choice of doctor, reimbursement of provider and utilization review are also being regulated. Below are the main points of the laws and regulations that are being implemented in the area:

  • The state of Colorado has mandated employers or insurance providers to provide at the very least medical case management services. This can be rendered organizations or groups of certified medical practitioners.
  • Insurance companies must establish clear communication with the employers, workers and physicians in order to make sure that injured workers are able to receive medical care in a timely and appropriate manner.
  • The insurance provider, employer and injured employee may ask to have an evaluation of the medical services being provided to them by a medical practitioner. Those who are unable to meet the standard quality of care being asked of them may be suspended from provision of medical services to beneficiaries.
  • Medical practitioners are required to perform medical care in accordance with the standard treatment guidelines that were developed by the state director of compensation for workers. Examples of treatment guidelines for lower back pain, injuries in the upper and lower extremities, thoracic outlet syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • In 2010, Greeley disability lawyers Denver disability lawyers report that a provision in the law was removed that reduces an injured worker’s compensation when he is already receiving both permanent partial disability and Social Security benefits.
  • In May 2014, the Denver workers compensation attorneys were happy to announce that the Colorado House of Representatives were able to pass House Bill 1383. The house bill gives workers the freedom to choose from four instead of two doctors each time they are injured on the job. This finally resolves the concern of many residents in Colorado that the present system is always leaning towards the side of companies, instead of the employees.

Workers’ Compensation can become quite confusing especially if you don’t have a deep understanding of the law. Seek the help of a Denver and Greeley workers compensation lawyer from Kaplan Morrell so that you are fully aware of your rights and benefits. Make sure that you are not underpaid by insurance companies. We have already helped several employees since 1997. Contact us here or reach us at (866) 356-9898 for your free consultation.

Is Workers’ Comp a Cause for Termination?

Many people have a fear of filing for workers’ comp in many states in the US. And while this policy was created to provide financial assistance for employees who had sustained injuries at work, it is instead causing more damage for those directly affected by the injury because of a huge possibility that they may lose their jobs.

Technically speaking, it is illegal to fire someone for the sole reason that they are under workers’ comp. If proven, this will cause major legal issues and backlash against the company. However, there are many loopholes by which employers may terminate employees who are under or have availed of the workers’ comp benefit. This is especially true in Colorado where employment is under an at-will basis. So, it’s important that you always consult with an experienced Greeley workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure you’re properly covered.

 

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What At-will Employment Means

At-will employment, according to the official website of the State of Colorado, means “that in the absence of a contract to the contrary, neither an employer nor an employee is required to give notice or advance notice of termination or resignation. Additionally, neither an employer nor an employee is required to give a reason for the separation from employment.”

There are certain exceptions to that policy though, which includes the violation of public policy where it clearly states that an employee, even in the absence of a contract, cannot be discharged or fired in connection to a workers’ comp claim that was or is being filed. However, the at-will employment principle allows termination for cause which is primarily the backdoor they use to find fault in your employment and ultimately take your job away from you. Termination for cause may include the slightest mistakes you’ve incurred, such as making too many mistakes. This may also cause you to lose workers’ comp benefits.

A Denver workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to assess the situation further, just a situation like that occurs and will be able to get you the proper coverage you would need.

How Not to Get Terminated

There are several offenses that may cause you to lose your job and your workers’ comp benefits if you’re not careful. Having incurred these things may actually strengthen the case of your employer towards rightfully terminating your employment. Things like insubordination, stealing, falsification of documents and even being late for work are considered legal basis for terminating for cause. So, the best thing you can do is to simply follow the rules as close as you can and try not to make any errors along the way. This will make it significantly harder for your employer to find anything that will supplement their decision to fire you.

Summary: We are Denver Workers Compensation Attorneys and Denver Disability Attorneys working hard to get you the benefits and rights you deserve.

 

Getting Back to Work after a Car Accident Does Not Affect your Claim

Not all work-related injuries can be acquired inside the four corners of an office. Most injuries are incurred outside the company’s building such as construction sites. Other mishaps occur on the road. Car accidents may occur anytime while you are parking inside your office’s building, or while delivering some goods as part of your job. What matters is that the auto accident occurred within the course and scope of your employment. It is only when this requirement is satisfied will you be entitled to medical and other benefits, and disability pay under the Workers’ Compensation Law of Colorado. An experienced Greeley workers compensation lawyer can surely help build up and defend your case.

When Can You Start Driving Again?

When you get tangled up in an auto accident, there is a chance that you will be undergoing treatments and medical observations. One of the most common concerns of workers who are applying for auto accident claims benefits under workers’ compensation is the question of when they can go back to the driver’s seat. Especially those whose only or primary income come from driving trucks or vans, they want to get back to work as soon as possible.

This question has no definite answer. It all depends on your doctor’s analysis of your medical situation. If your doctor declares that you are cleared to drive again, then, you can take the wheel once more.

 

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Anxiety and PTSD are two of the most common reasons why your doctor may not allow you to be back on the road just yet. These conditions affect your ability to drive.

Will Driving again Mess up your Claim for Workers’ Compensation?

Your ability or medical clearance to take the wheel the second time around does not and cannot affect your claim for workers’ compensation. Under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Law, a worker who is injured while performing or in the course of his employment meets an accident, such worker can claim for workers’ compensation. Hence, as long as you or your seasoned Greeley disability attorney can prove the link between the accident and your line of work, you can claim compensation. The fact that you can go back to driving cannot be made an issue.

 

Side view of writing on clipboard while insurance agent examining car after accident

Going Back to Work despite Having Filed an Auto Accident Claim

Another common concern of workers who filed a claim under Workers’ Compensation Law after meeting a car accident is when they can get back to work and whether such can affect their claims.

The decision on whether you can report back to work is, like getting back on the road, a medical decision. Only your physician can decide whether your body has healed, and whether it can keep up with the demands of your work.

Once you are given that carte blanche to go back to work and you did, such will not and cannot interfere with your claim for compensation. All your Greeley workers compensation lawyer has to prove is that your accident occurred in the course and scope of your employment in order to advance your right for compensation.

Auto accidents claim may be easy to file but proving that the vehicular mishap occurred in the course of employment makes the same complicated. Kaplan Morrell lawyers have been helping workers in their auto accidents claims for more than a decade. Call us at (866) 356-9898 to receive a free consultation.

Firefighters Compensation: Denver Worker Compensation

Firemen, also referred to as firefighters, are important to public safety. Unfortunately, they have one of the highest rates of wounds, injuries, and illnesses of all professions. Their job issimply to pull out people from burning cars, building fires, and other dangerous situations. While those who want to get involved in the fire department often think of the encouraging side of the job, including a pay of over $50,000 as of 2014, there is also a setback.

Being a firefighter is having your one leg buried in the ground, always on the brink of death.Firefighters work in often dangerous and complex environments that boost their threat of on-the-job death and injury. A fireman normally puts himself at risk because of fire but most eminently, from exposures to many other job-related infections and hazards. Although many died on duty, firefighters face a relatively high chance of being injured even under training.

Surprisingly, burns, an injury commonly associated with fire, are not the major cause of their wounds.

Below are circumstances and incidents that result to firefighters obtaining wounds, injuries, and long-time diseases:

  • Exposures to infectious diseases

In 2014, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimated that around 10,000 firefighters were exposed to infectious diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis, and meningitis. Hospitals that encountered medical runs by firefighters name infectious diseases as one of the common causes of death among firemen.

  • Exposures to hazards

NFPA said that approximately 25,000 injury cases related to the firefighting profession are caused by hazardous conditions. Trying to control fire and respond to medical emergencies, firefighters’ lives are put to risk often due to exposures to fumes, asbestos, radioactive materials, and hazardous chemicals.

 

  • On fireground operations

Firefighter injuries are often incurred while rescuing people and saving properties from structure fires, vehicle fires, and brush fires. Major types of injuries obtained from fireground operations are strains and sprains, wound cuts, bleeding, bruises thermal stress, and burns.

 

  • During non-fire emergencies, training activities, and on-duty activities

Over the past few years, NFA noted a relevant rise in the number of non-fire emergencies. Yet in spite the quick increase, the number of injuries that occurred as such incidents lowers by the minute.

Wearing heavy equipment such as thick coats, face masks, and combat boots does not guarantee complete safety for firefighters. It is imperative to be aware of the said risks before choosing firefighting as a career. While wider understanding of how these fatalities, injuries, and illnesses arise can assistin recognizing remedial actions that could help reduce the intrinsic risks, it is also important to consult trusted Denver workers compensation attorneys.

Workers’ compensation can be tricky, perplexing, and very complex. However, Colorado firefighters can rely on Kaplan Morrell to help you and thousands others who are looking to claim the benefits you deserve. Call your Denver and Greeley workers compensation attorney sat (866) 356-9898 for a FREE consultation and learn how a http://kaplanmorrell.com/denver-disability-lawyer-claim-denied/could further assist you fight for your rights.

Safeguarding Your Right To Accessible Health Care

This country puts high premium on worker’s compensation, and it goes without saying that there is constant active effort to ensure that workers’ rights are safeguarded. In fact, just last May, there have been discussions on bills that ensure workers’ better accessibility to health care as well as workers’ just compensation.

Today, many immigrants are employed in low wage work and receive even less than the state declared minimum wage. On top of that, these people stand to have their claims denied when claiming worker’s compensation.

Colorado’s wage laws

Article XVIII, Section 15, of the Colorado Constitution requires that the Colorado minimum wage be adjusted every year, taking into account the inflation which is measured by the Consumer Price Index used for Colorado. Furthermore, effective starting January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2015, the minimum wage was set to $8.23 per hour, and $5.21 for tipped employees.  This pegs the state minimum wage at a minimum of around $ 65 per day.

Moreover, Colorado overtime pay laws require that for every hour worked over 12 hours per day and 40 hours per week, the worker should be compensated with 1.5 times their regular hourly rate. This is applicable to both salaried and hourly employees. Additionally, this compensation for overtime work should not and cannot be paid as “comp time” or be paid as extra time off work for later weeks.

If you notice your employer violating any of these provisions, contact a Denver workers compensation attorney, it is important that you are informed of your rights.

Outside the box

Colorado wage laws may sound acceptable but the labor force not only consists of long-time residents but also of immigrants employed in Colorado. These employees may lack the bonds of an employee-employer relationship which means that they depend solely on their insurer for emergencies.

With the rising cost of living, the struggle for ample sustenance becomes harder, some people even take two or more jobs to make ends meet. Needless to say that it becomes harder and harder to set aside funds for a rainy day, which is why it is being pushed that Senate bill 976 garners more support. Senate bill 976 requires the insurer to compensate the insured employee for translator fees and transportation fees to the hospital. This is a provision strongly supported by Denver workers compensation attorneys and Denver disability lawyers alike.

Even “white collar” employees can be victims

Employees that are denied overtime pay should either be a) paid on salary or b) employed in an executive, administrative, or professional capacity. Generally, this exemption applies to only those who are in-charge of more than two additional employees, or run a distinct business unit such as that of lawyers, doctors, or teachers.

However, this stipulation is commonly mistaken for an exemption of the majority of “white collar” employees. It is vital that you are aware of your rights as an employee, and while this is tough to do without the aid of a professional, you can rest assured that a Denver workers compensation lawyer will be more than happy to help you out.

At Kaplan Morrell, we aim to help thousands or Colorado workers in your fight to claim what is rightfully yours. Call us today at (866) 356-9898 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Hurt, What About My Job?

One of the first questions that comes to mind after you have suffered a work related injury is:  “Will I be fired if I report an injury?”  Here are just a few points to keep in mind when it comes to your job.

Failure to pursue workers’ compensation benefits will not guarantee you will not lose your job.  Your employer probably already knows about your injury so all you are doing is sacrificing your rights to benefits that are available to you.

Your employer cannot fire you just because you make a claim for benefits.

Don’t assume that just because your doctor has restricted your activities that your employer will not be able to accommodate you and bring you back to work in some capacity.

If your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions, you are eligible for lost wages at a rate of 66 2/3 of your average weekly wage.

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.

Everything You Need to Know About Permanent Total Disability

If you suffer from a work-related injury or illness,you have the right to receive social welfare support from the government for your medical care. Your hospital bill, however, is only just part of the price you pay for your injury. Since you are disabled, you are unable to perform your work – either totally or at an optimal level. As such, you also lose wages you could have earned had you not been injured.

This is the reason why under Colorado law, if you become disabled, you also have the right to be compensated for the value of the wages lost due to your work-related injury or illness. This social welfare support is paid until your disability is cured or you are able to return to work as normal.

But what if your condition does not improve? What if, even after all the medical treatments, your injury or illness continues to persist? In this case, what you are facing is a permanent disability.

When a Disability is Permanent

Your doctor will be the one to determine if you are permanently disabled. He or she will refer to what is known as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), which just means that they’ve done all they can to improve your injury but it still persists. As this is the basic test for determining permanent disability, it would be best to consult a Denver disability lawyer or a Greeley disability attorney in order to guide you through this important step.

Even if you’ve reached your MMI, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically eligible for permanent total disability. This is because workers’ compensation benefits in Colorado provide support for either permanent partial or permanent total disability.

You have a permanent partial disability when you have a permanent disability, but you are still able to work in one way or another. On the other hand, you have a permanent total disability when your injury or illness becomes such a significant burden on your life that you are totally unable to work.

If you think getting approved for permanent total disability benefits is much more difficult, you’re right. Just ask your Denver disability lawyer and he’ll tell you that the burden of proof is much heavier, which is why most cases in Colorado are for permanent partial disabilities.

Knowing the Process to Claim Workers Compensation

When you apply for permanent total disability benefits, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts will review your case by examining your condition and background. This judge will take into consideration your current skills, work experience, education, technical know-how, and training to assess whether you can hold down a job. He can also evaluate the current job market in order to determine whether any job opportunities are available.

Thus, you are more likely to receive permanent total disability benefits if you have limited work experience or education coupled with poor labor market conditions in the community you’re living in. As your case will rely on these case-to-case representations, it would be wise to seek advice from an experienced Denver workers’ compensation attorney or, more specifically, a Denver disability lawyer in order to boost your chances.

Once you are determined to have a permanent total disability, you have the choice to receive the benefits in weekly installments, in a lump sum payment, or in a combination of these two. These benefits will be paid for the rest of your life since your disability is judged as a permanent one.The rate at which they are paid is 2/3 of the injured worker’s average weekly wage. 

Obtaining permanent total disability may seem like a difficult process, but with the right Denver disability lawyer by your side, you can rest assured that you can receive the benefits you are entitled to so that you can move on from your disability and live your life to the fullest. Contact our attorneys at Kaplan Morrell for a FREE CONSULTATION. Call us at (866) 356-9898\