Potential changes to Colorado’s workers’ compensation system?

This legislative session, Colorado employers will take a close look at a bill proposed on workers' compensation, which some say could harm companies. However, others in support of the proposal note that the potential law could help balance the current system, which favors employers over harmed employees.

Representative Angela Williams of Denver, Colorado, will be the main sponsor. According to Williams, the bill would help ensure that there is equality for employees in the workers' compensation system.

The bill concerns three significant topics:

  1. Safety violations
  2. Choice of physician
  3. Separation contracts.

The proposal especially focuses on safety issues and doctor choice.

The first version of the bill pushed a change in benefits for employees injured at work as a result of employer negligence. Under this scheme, benefits would jump 50 percent if the employer did not follow important safety rules. As the law currently stands, the employee can lose 50 percent of benefits if he or she ignored safety rules on the job. But there is currently no increase in benefits when the employer violates a safety rule.

In addition, the first version also allows a worker to select any willing provider for medical treatment. Under current laws, the employer can make a choice from two medical professionals. There is no recourse for an employee who is not fond of the employer's selection.

Advocates of the bill note that main issue is to equalize the system. According to supporters, the current system, which was revamped two decades ago, transformed the power from workers to employers.

The next version of the bill may incorporate a compromise in terms of doctor choice. The employer will have the option of selecting the first medical professional, but in the event of an issue, the worker will have a limited choice of physicians.

Those against the bill are hesitant to change the current system, which carries the reputation as one of the leading workers' compensation plans in the nation. However, advocates of the proposed law feel as though injured employees are disadvantaged under the system.

If you have been harmed in a serious workplace accident, it helps to retain legal assistance. The workers' compensation can be complex, and if you are unaware of your rights and responsibilities, you could miss your opportunity at receiving the benefits that you deserve. To learn more about the system and your options, speak with a seasoned attorney in Colorado.