Back in 2007, a Colorado man was performing an installation at his work when he was injured, suffering a serious spinal cord injury. He filed a workers' compensation claim with Colorado benefits provider Pinnacol Assurance.
Usually, when someone is injured at work, they may be entitled to compensation for things such as lost wages and medical treatment. However, Pinnacol denied the injured man's claim, justifying their decision by saying that the man was not injured but was instead trying to obtain a check from the company. The injured man eventually filed a lawsuit against the company for improperly denying his claim.
This is not the first time that Pinnacol has been criticized. In the past, the company has sent its employees on lavish vacations and given them large bonuses. But these accusations seem to pale in comparison to the allegations against them for the inappropriate way they treat claimants.
The investigation uncovered an email exchange between Pinnacol employees where they seemed almost gleeful at the prospect of denying the injured man's claim. While the interests of the claims adjusters are not always in line with what the injured worker is seeking, people injured on the job have a right to workers' compensation.
This man fought for his injury benefits because he had been injured at work. He should not have had to jump through all the legal hoops simply because the benefits company wanted to deny his claim. The jury agreed that the behavior of the Pinnacol employees was unacceptable and ordered that the company award the man a substantial amount of money for emotional distress.
The Colorado man is hoping that his decision to fight for his benefits is an example to others who have been injured on the job and have had their claims unjustly denied.
Source: ABC News Denver online, "Jury Finds Pinnacol Benefits Denial 'Unacceptable'," Arthur Kane and Tony Kovaleski, 15 November 2010