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Colorado legislature looks to change workers' comp laws in 2014

For years now Colorado has made itself an attractive place to operate a business because of its low rates for workers’ compensation benefits. Legislators have worked hard to create workers’ compensation laws that are not only beneficial to workers injured on the job but also do not impede on a business’ desire to make a profit.

But even with premiums being among some of the lowest in the nation, some legislative democrats feel that more needs to be done to create a better balance between adequate benefits and encouraging new companies to do business here in Colorado. Pushing forward a new bill in 2014, legislators hope that they will be able to finally achieve this balance, provided they can include both sides in the effort.

At present time, workers who suffer a work-related injury must choose between two employer-offered doctors. Some legislators feel that this limits an injured worker’s options for medical treatment and should be addressed in 2014. Legislators also noted that injury settlements are currently reduced by 50 percent if a worker breaks safety regulations prior to suffering an injury. This could be considered unfair to a worker who will still have to pay the same amount for medical treatment regardless of whether safety rules were followed.

But while we wanted to focus on the improvements to workers’ compensation benefits that legislators intend on working towards in 2014, it’s important to point out that policies could change for employers as well. It will be important for employers to stay informed as these laws continue to be discussed, especially because legal action could be taken following a violation of new laws.

Source: The Denver Business Journal, "Colorado Dems are leading talks on workers' comp reform bill," Ed Sealover, Nov. 22, 2013

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