Earlier in the summer, a lawsuit on behalf of nearly 7,000 Wal-Mart workers in Colorado was elevated to class-action status by a federal judge. Originally filed in 2009, the suit alleges the giant retailer collaborated with their workers’ compensation insurer to “dictate, withhold, delay, deny and/or interfere with” workers’ medical care.
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges Wal-Mart, its workers’ compensation insurers in Colorado and several third-party groups conspired to deny or delay medical treatment to injured workers in order to save money.
The complaint also accuses Wal-Mart and the other companies of violating the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act as well as Colorado’s Consumer Protection Act.
Attorneys for the defendants – Wal-Mart, healthcare provided Concentra, Inc. and Home Assurance Company, the retailer’s workers’ comp insurer – deny the allegations. Talking to Fox News, spokesman Greg Rossiter says “The health and wellness of our associates is important to Wal-Mart, and we want our associates to get the best treatment and care.”
Wal-Mart also argues the policies in question were changed in January 2008 and therefore, the lawsuit is unnecessary and should be thrown out.
In commenting on the class-action status, plaintiff attorney Sol Cera of San Francisco says “The court was able to see that the case was really about the overall policy and procedure that Wal-Mart employed. It’s a violation of the law for the employer to involve itself — in any way — in dictating the care of injured workers in Colorado.”
We’ll keep you updated on this and other cases affecting injured workers in Colorado.
In the mean time, if you’ve been injured on-the-job and feel your employer and insurer isn’t treating you fairly – or if you are totally bewildered on how to navigate the workers’ compensation system and need help obtaining all of the benefits you’re entitled to – contact Denver workers’ compensation attorneys at the Babcock Law Firm today.