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Colorado Makes Significant Changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act

Posted on in Workplace Injury

Colorado workers' comp lawyerWhen a worker is injured in the course of their job or develops a medical condition or illness that is work-related, Colorado law says they are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits through their employer. Depending on the severity of the injuries, workers’ comp can provide a variety of different benefits. Recent changes to the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act will affect how those benefits are administered in the coming months and years.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Colorado

Under the Colorado Workers' Compensation Act, if an employer has three or more employees, they are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. When an employee is injured on the job, they must report the injury to their employer in writing within four days of the injury in order to qualify for those benefits.

An injured worker is entitled to have all their medical expenses paid for, as long as the provider(s) they see have been authorized by the insurance company. If a worker is temporarily disabled because of their injury, they are entitled to two-thirds of their lost weekly wages until they can return to work at full capacity. If a worker is permanently disabled and unable to return to work because of their injury, they may be entitled to weekly benefits for a longer time period or the rest of their life.

Recent Changes to Colorado Workers’ Comp Laws

A recent bill passed by the Colorado legislature has introduced some significant changes that may help injured workers who are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Perhaps the most significant change involves the cap on disability benefits based on the worker’s whole person impairment rating. An impairment rating is a percentage measure based on the body parts affected by the worker’s injuries and the degree to which they are impaired. Before this year, workers with an impairment rating of 25 percent or less would see the total amount of their temporary and permanent disability benefits capped at a significantly lower amount than workers with a higher impairment rating. With the new law, however, workers with an impairment rating above 19 percent will be eligible for disability benefits up to the higher cap.

The bill also brings other changes. For example:

  • Claimants now have 120 days to request mileage reimbursement for any travel related to their medical treatment, and the employer or insurance company must pay the mileage cost within 30 days of the request.

  • Employers and their insurers may not withdraw an initial admission of liability for the employee’s injuries after two years have passed. There is an exception to this requirement in cases of fraud.

  • Benefits may generally not be reduced due to apportionment related to a pre-existing condition.

  • The income threshold has increased for workers to remain eligible for permanent disability benefits.

Contact a Fort Collins Injury Lawyer for Legal Assistance

Although these changes to the state’s workers’ compensation law do benefit injured workers, there are still many cases where an employer or their insurance company will try to deny an employee’s claim or force them to return to work before they are medically cleared. If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, consider speaking to a seasoned Larimer County workers’ compensation attorney to find out what benefits you may be entitled to and how you can protect your rights. Call Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. at 970-225-2190 for a free consultation.

 

Source:

https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2020A/bills/2020a_1154_01.pdf

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

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Fort Collins, CO 80524

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