We previously announced in a blog post last month that Mack Babcock, President of the Workers’ Compensation Education Association (WCEA) and founder of The Babock Law Firm, drafted a bill along with fellow WCEA attorneys.
Well the House has spoken, and as of May 28th, Senate Bill 13-285 is signed into Colorado law. The bill passed on a vote of 10-3, and was signed by the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, and finally, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who officially approved the proposal.
The Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation issued a summary which listed the amendments to the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act based on the bill, and how the procedural changes will affect claims handlers. These changes are:
- An injured worker may now be fully reimbursed for related medical expenses if an employer fails to provide medical care after receiving notice of a claim that is later determined to be compensable
- An insurer may not recover medical costs from an injured worker in cases where the employer provided medical treatment
- The payment of weekly wages and benefits must now begin no later than 15 days from the termination of fringe benefits
- The requirement that temporary total benefits be paid at least once every two weeks is now applied to the payment of temporary partial benefits also
- Insurers must provide a complete copy of the claim file within 15 days after an injured worker, or their representative, mails a written request
- In order to request attorney fees on an unripe issue, the requesting party must show that they first attempted to have the issue stricken by a prehearing judge
- An insurer must now wait 24 months (as opposed to 18) before they can request a division independent medical exam (DIME) to overrule a treating physician’s opinion that an injured worker has not reached maximum medical improvement
The new legislation will become effective on July 1st, and will only apply to claims filed on or after that date.
Visit the Colorado General Assembly website to read Senate Bill 13-285 in its entirety.