A workers’ compensation system in Colorado was established in Article 41 of the Colorado code to protect employees. According to this code section, employees who are injured at work must file a workers’ comp claim to receive benefits from their employers after their injury. They cannot sue their employers. Because a personal injury lawsuit is not possible, the worker is not able to sue to recover medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress or other losses. Instead, the Colorado statutes establish the compensation that the worker will receive.
In some cases, an employee suffers a permanent injury or impairment as a result of his work injury. The worker needs to be fairly compensated for this permanent impairment and for the impact the impairment has on both his ability to work and on his quality of life. In these situations, workers are compensated based on either extremity ratings or whole person ratings. Understanding these ratings is extremely important to getting the workers’ comp benefits you deserve and a Boulder workers’ compensation lawyer can help. Residents of Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Erie, Broomfield, Greeley, Ft. Collins, Superior, Denver and the entire Colorado Front range should contact The Dominick Law Firm today at (303) 447-2644 or using our online form for a free consultation to learn how we can help.
Boulder Workers’ Comp and Extremity Ratings
When a worker suffers a work-related injury, his medical bills are paid by his employer. He is also entitled to temporary disability benefits paid based on his wages if he is not able to work due to the work injury. The temporary disability benefits are paid out until the worker is able to return to work or until the point when the worker reaches maximum medical improvement.
When a treating physician determines that the worker has reached maximum medical improvement, this means he is not going to get better. At this point, if the worker is still suffering from an ailment or impairment, he needs to be compensated for the fact that he has a permanent injury. The way in which he is compensated is going to depend upon whether the injury is an injury to the extremities or whether the injury affects the whole body.
When the worker suffers a permanent impairment that impacts his whole body, whole person disability ratings are used. Essentially, this means that the treating physician performs an assessment to determine how the disability will affect the worker and assigns a disability rating based on the “American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.” A formula then determines benefits for the worker based on this rating, the worker’s age factor and the wage rate.
When the worker suffers damage to an extremity, however, then extremity or schedule ratings are used to determine benefits. These extremity or schedule ratings list specific injuries along with the amount due to the worker for each injury. A complete list of scheduled injuries and the appropriate benefits can be found in 8-42-107. For instance, the loss of an arm at the shoulder will entitle the worker to a payment equal to 208 weeks of benefits.
Losses involving the upper extremities (including the arms, fingers and hands) as well as those involving the lower extremities (including the legs, feet and toes) each have a pre-defined amount of benefits due. The extremity ratings also include defined amounts of compensation for total blindness of one eye (104 weeks); total deafness of both ears (139 weeks) and total deafness in one ear (35 weeks).
The Dominick Law Firm can help you to better understand extremity ratings and can assist you in getting the workers compensation benefits you deserve. Our Boulder workers’ compensation firm has assisted clients with workers comp claims in Boulder, Thornton, Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Erie, Broomfield, Lyons, Mead, Loveland, Wheatridge, Greeley, Ft. Collins, Superior, Denver and the entire Colorado front range. If you live in this area and need assistance with your extremity rating, contact us today at (303) 447-2644 or using our online form for a free consultation to learn how we can help.