In recent months, Mack Babcock, founder of Babcock Law Firm, as well as the acting President of the Workers’ Compensation Education Association (WCEA), has worked closely with fellow members of the WCEA to draft Senate Bill 13-285, “Concerning the Procedures in Workers’ Compensation Claims for the Resolution of Disputes.”
According to the bill’s main summary, the legislation, if passed, will benefit injured workers in five ways.
1. Employers, or their insurance carrier, will be required to reimburse claimants for medical treatments provided if the employer fails to provide treatment after being made aware of the injury.
2. After an employer is notified of the termination of fringe benefits (e.g. health insurance, educational reimbursement, employee discount, etc.), they or their insurance carrier will be obligated to recalculate the worker’s average weekly wage and immediately begin payment based on the recalculated amount.
3. Temporary partial disability will have to be paid to the injured worker at least every 2 weeks, and the employer, insurance carrier, or a third-party administrator will be required to provide claimants with a complete copy of the claim file within 15 days after the written request.
4. When an opposing attorney requests a hearing for an unripe issue, the requesting party will have to prove that it attempted to have all unripe issues voided by a prehearing administrative law judge in order to request attorney fees and costs. Fees will only be awarded if they are directly caused by the listing of the unripe issue.
5. The amount of time that must pass before an employer or insurer may request an independent medical examiner to determine if the injured worker has reached maximum healing will be extended from 18 to 24 months. If the examiner determines that the injured worker has reached maximum improvement, then they will also evaluate the worker’s permanent medical impairment.
The bill, sponsored by Colorado Senator Lois Thochtrop and House Representative Angela Williams, was read in the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee on April 24. On May 6, the bill passed in the senate without objections, and is now going through the House, where it is expected do just as well.
The WCEA is a lobbying organization specifically for attorneys who represent workers injured on the job, and the group coordinates with lawmakers in Denver to make the workers’ compensation system stronger and more helpful for injured employees.
As President of the WCEA, Mack Babcock understands the ins and outs Colorado workers’ comp law more fully than other lawyers across the state. If you have any questions regarding being injured on the job, or would like to learn about how you can receive full compensation for injuries you sustained at work, then don’t hesitate to consult Mack Babcock today by calling our Denver office.