Though there are no major changes to the Colorado workers' compensation system or its benefits, the Colorado legislature has adopted a number of minor modifications that will affect many claimants, employers, doctors and others who are a part of the workers' comp system.
New Maximum Benefits
The state has bumped up the maximum benefits an injured Colorado worker can receive through workers' compensation.
The new maximum is $810.67, an increase of less than four dollars per week for workers earning at least $1,216 weekly. That's the smallest increase in benefits since 2003 (benefits actually declined - by less than a dollar - that year).
The new $810.67 maximum benefit is for permanent total benefits, temporary total benefits, temporary partial benefits, and for widows or widowers of workers killed on the job.
The Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation will now require physicians to make and store audio recordings of independent medical examinations performed at the request of the employer or insurer. The recordings will be made available to both the claimant and employer in the event of a dispute over a claim.
Expansion of Definition
Effective August 11, the definition of "employee" expands to include disabled or elderly people working under the Property Tax Work-Off Program. The program allows people to work off a portion of their county property taxes.
The new rules prohibit insurers and healthcare providers from providing their employees or contractors with financial incentives to deny workers' compensation claims. It also prohibits incentives for any other purpose ultimately designed to encourage violations of the Workers' Compensation Act.
How the Changes Affect You
Workers' compensation law is complicated. If the outlined changes affect you, or if other elements of the system have resulted in an unfair denial of benefits for a workplace injury or illness, contact a Colorado workers' compensation attorney. A workers' comp lawyer understands the law and can help protect your rights.