TEAMSTERS 

Local Union No. 455

10 Lakeside Lane, Suite 3A

Denver, CO  80212

303-458-1600 Phone

800-871-0435 Toll Free

303-480-1015 Fax

 

You can reach us Monday through Friday

8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.   

 

Welcome to the official site of Teamsters

Local Union No. 455.  This site was created

for the purpose of providing information

for our members as well as anyone

interested in union activities. 

Affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Joint Council #3
STEVEN P. VAIRMA - SECRETARY TREASURER WALLACE C. HALIBURTON - PRESIDENT

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Worker's Compensation


INTRODUCTION

This page of  the Teamsters Local 435 Website is about workers' compensation. It is intended to be used only by the members of Local 435.

Work injuries can have major impacts. Usually income is reduced. Questions arise about the kind of medical treatment that is being provided. If your injury is serious, you may be unable to continue to work at your job and you may be uncertain what the future holds for your employment.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact attorney Marshall Fogel for information and assistance with your workers' compensation case. Marshall's telephone number is (303) 534-0401.

Regardless of where you live in Colorado, Marshall can help you. When you contact Marshall tell him you are a member of Teamsters Local 435.

The e-mail address for asking Marshall a workers' compensation question is wcattorney@teamsterslocal435.org.

Marshall will provide a prompt answer to your question.

Your question and Marshall's answer may be posted on this page. That is because the entire Local 435 membership may benefit from your question and Marshall's answer. For privacy reasons, only your first name will be given.

 

Colorado Workers' Compensation Time Line

Date of Accident

Report accident immediately. Fill out an accident report and/or claim form. Demand to be seen by a doctor.

Compensability

A claim can arise from a singular event (i.e. falling off a ladder) or a condition of the workplace (i.e. lifting boxes over four years causing a herniated disc in the back).

An aggravation, caused by the workplace, of any work related or non work related pre-existing medical condition can be compensable.

TTD

Temporary Total Disability is payable if an authorized doctor either takes the employee off work or imposes restrictions the employer can't accommodate.

TTD equals 2/3 of the gross average weekly wage, including overtime and any benefits paid by the employer such as health insurance. TTD is based on the average weekly wage at the time of  the injury. If the weekly wage is not constant, then a fair representation  of a number of past weeks is considered.

TTD is only paid during the period a person is not at MMI, After a person reaches MMI, they are no longer entitled to TTD.

TTD and TPD are limited by the law at a fixed maximum amount that changes every July 1st.

TPD

Temporary Partial Disability is a benefit for the employee when the authorized doctor allows the employee to work a modified job that pays less than the average weekly wage (at the time of injury). While working  the modified job, the employee receives TPD payments equal to 2/3 of the difference between the average weekly wage and what the injured worker is currently earning.

TPD is only paid during the period a person is not at MMI. After a person reaches MMI, they are no longer entitled to TPD.

TTD and TPD are limited by law at a fixed maximum amount that changes every July 1st.

Authorized Medical Care

When injured you are required to receive medical care from doctors authorized by the employer. If you go to your own doctor you will pay for the care. If the employer doesn't clearly provide a notice of what clinic your are to receive treatment at, you can go to your own doctor until the employer later directs you to a medical provider. There are procedures for 2nd opinions to see doctors other than required by the employer.

MMI

The time the authorized doctor states that there is no further medical care that can improve the employee's condition caused by the injury.

Rating

The impairment rating is given at the time the injured employee is placed at MMI. Ratings are not automatically the same for a similar injury. The rating system  is complex. Determining the amount of money the injured worker is entitled to may require legal assistance.

Division Independent Medical Exam

A Division IME can be obtained if the Claimant is dissatisfied with the rating/or the finding of MMI.

Medical Maintenance

Medical care after the rating is available in certain cases. This type of care may be necessary to maintain MMI (i.e. medication, physical therapy, follow-up appointments with an authorized doctor and future surgery)

Litigation

Workers' Compensation laws allow for Judges to decide all issues in dispute. Under certain circumstances some claims can be appealed up to the Supreme Court.

Pension, Social Security Disability, Short Term and Long Term Disability

All effect the value of a workers' compensation case.

Workers Compensation Updates - From Marshall Fogel October 2004

First of all I want to thank all of the local members for your questions about workers compensation and to encourage our other members to feel comfortable in asking questions by using this Web Page.  Remember, you should not feel that any of your questions are unimportant.  All your questions are important and will be answered by me in a courteous manner.

For those of you that may live and work somewhat afar from the Denver metro area and are injured on the job, my partner Larry Free and I can help each and every one of you regardless of where you live.  We can fully represent you and advocate for the benefits that are appropriate for you.  Many of your conferences with you can be handled by telephone.  We recognize that gas and transportation is expensive so we have put in place our telephone conference program.

On To The Updates

Mileage - You are now entitled to 30 cents a mile for your transportation expenditures when traveling in your vehicle to any authorized medical provider including doctors, therapists, pharmacies, a health club or hospital.

Overtime - When your authorized doctor states in writing that your injury prevents you from working before you have reached maximum medical improvement, you will receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage tax free every two weeks.  This money is referred to as temporary disability.  What you need to be aware of is that your average weekly wage MUST include OVERTIME which, if included, will increase your average weekly wage thereby increasing your temporary disability while you are off work.

Health Insurance (While on Temporary Disability) - If your employer provides health insurance at the time of your injury and you receive a letter stating that the employer will no longer pay for that insurance and the letter goes on to state that you have the OPTION of paying for it, then you have received a COBRA letter.  If you don't pay for this insurance out of your funds within the time limit stated in the letter then you will have no insurance.  If you decide to pay for the health insurance (and you can shop around beyond the plan offered by your employer) within the prescribed time period then the cost of the insurance will be considered an addition to your average weekly wage and 2/3 of the amount paid for that insurance will be added to your temporary total disability up the the maximum you are allowed to receive for temporary total disability.

Modified Work - When you are on temporary disability you simply cannot do any work at all for your employer or any employer.   Your authorized doctor can change that status by simply writing to your employer that your restrictions may allow you to go back to work on a modified work schedule.   That could mean doing your regular work at fewer hours, doing your regular work with some help, working a lighter duty job with the same of less hours or any of the number of combinations of factors.  Remember, the compensation laws allow you to be on modified duty at a LESSER pay.  Only a collective bargaining contract can regulate pay beyond what an employer may be allowed to do at will.

Modified Work (Talking with the Comp Doctor) -What I find disturbing is when the comp doctor tells the employer that you can go back to modified work duties and the doctor and the employer agree on the job you can do and then you get a call from the employer to go back to work and YOU DID NOT have any idea that this was going to happen and YOU had not input at all.  How to PREVENT this problem is what we need to discuss.  First of all:

1. Make it known to the doctor at your first visit that you want to DISCUSS directly with him or her when it may make sense for you to try modified work.

2. You should anticipate that the doctor is going to decide, during the course of your care, whether there will be a time you could do modified work.   Let me discuss this with you so that you can proceed in properly developing a plan to determine the kind of modified you may be able to accomplish a the right time with the right amount of hours you could handle.

3. This is a brief outline of some, but not all, of the items that fall under this category.  Remember, you are under enough stress, due to your injury, and to have to deal with going back to some work without you being part of the process is very stressful.

The serious reason for bringing this to your attention is that if you return to modified work and there is CONFUSION as to what you can and can not do because you were not part of the process and the employer terminates you because you were AT FAULT for not doing the modified work as you were suppose to do then you face losing your temporary disability forever.  I must say that you this issue has jut been argued before the Colorado Supreme Court a few weeks ago.  What we hope the court will say is that if you are fired from your job at the time of the injury or while you are on modified duty and your termination is YOUR FAULT then you will not be denied temporary disability forever, but, you can be placed BACK on temporary disability once the doctor DETERMINES you cannot work again.  For instance, you get hurt - you go on TTD, the doctor than recommends modified work, you go on modified work, you then get terminated and it's your fault, you lose your TTD but then the doctor says you need back surgery and states once again you cannot work then you back on TTD.

Permanent Impairment - Permanent impairment is the percentage of your physical disability.  Let me just express that this a very complicated area and what the doctor gives you as impairment IS NOT, I repeat IS NOT automatic and that you are not "stuck" on whatever impairment you receive from the doctor SELECTED by your EMPLOYER.  Of course, there are many instances that the original impairment rating is fair but how can you be sure.  I can help you with this issue in the following ways.  Communication between you and your doctor many times involves words and expressions that your doctor relates to.  For instance, you may tell the doctor you don't feel good.  That expression may appear to your doctor that you have mild discomfort and that you are getting better.  But what you think you are telling the doctor is that the "pain is so bad that you are miserable".   Another example is when you tell the doctor your back is hurting you and you fail to tell the doctor you have serious pain down your leg then you have potentially eliminated the doctor recommending an MRI to determine the extent of bulging disk.   So you can see the importance of US discussing how to TRUTHFULLY communicate to the doctor throughout your care the exact nature and extent of your injury.

Parting comments.  I view the most important piece of your concerns when you get injured is to get well enough to continue to work and provide for you and your family.  Good health care is most important to achieve this goal.   However, medical science can not always come to your rescue and many times you have to face the difficult alternatives.  These difficult alternatives involve a change of lifestyle, finding a way to obtain employment that are within your permanent restrictions, determining if you are a candidate for social security or a pension and other difficult life changes you may have to consider.  When we come to the conclusion of your case and whether you are able to return to work or face other challenges the permanent impairment does have importance as it equates into how much the case is worth and certainly you should get what you are entitled to receive.  Many times the initial rating DOES NOT give you this entitlement and you have the RIGHT to appeal that rating through a process provided by the workers compensation laws.  Remember there are TIME limits to these appeals just like there are time limits when filing a grievance.

I hope this update is helpful to you and that it will cause you to think of other questions you would like to ask me and to share my answers with other members.

If you would like to contact me or my partner Larry Free we can be reached as follows:

Marshall Fogel

Larry Free

Attorneys

303-534-0401

1199 Bannock Street

Denver, CO  80204

We do everything possible to contact you within 24 hours, if Larry or I are not available at the time you call.

 


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