Do Not Fight For Workers’ Compensation Alone
Many do not realize workers’ compensation is the oldest part of the country’s social safety net. The federal government introduced the first social insurance program in 1908 to help injured employees in “hazardous” jobs with financial and medical support. The program grew to include all federal employees by 1916 and over the course of the next decade, nearly every state had enacted its own workers’ compensation legislation.
In 2013, state and federal workers’ comp programs covered a combined 129.6 million employees, according to the Social Security Administration, nearly a 4 percent increase over the last five years. Cash payouts and health care reimbursements to injured workers totaled $63.6 billion in 2013, more than an 8 percent jump over 2009, based on figures from the National Academy of Social Insurance.
Workers’ Comp Closer to Home
Workers compensation program in Colorado covers roughly 2.6 million employees. Although about three out of four Colorado workers’ compensation insurance cases result in just medical benefits, the state also covers temporary and permanent disability, as well as death benefits. In fact, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, about 110 workers die on the job in Colorado every year – that’s one death every three or four days.
Despite an increase of workers over the last 20 years, both in Colorado and across the country, the actual number of workers’ compensation settlements and claims had been falling slowly up until the past couple of years. Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s largest workers’ compensation insurance carrier, has seen a large drop in claims over the last decade. From 2010-2016, the insurer’s medical-only claims tumbled 28 percent. The company credits the Affordable Care Act, among other factors, as helping hold claims down.
BREAKDOWN OF WORKERS’ COMP SETTLEMENTS
No. of settlements pro se – 22 percent (1,235)
No. of settlements by counsel – 78 percent (4,494)
TOTAL AMOUNT OF WORKERS’ COMP CLAIMS
Claims settled pro se in 2013 – $27 million (14 percent)
Claims settled by counsel in 2013 – $160 million (86 percent)
AVERAGE CASE SETTLEMENT AMOUNT
Pro Se: $18,782
By Counsel: $32,324
Source: “Work-Related Injuries in Colorado 2013,” The Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Do Not Go At a Workers’ Comp Settlement Alone
Despite a longer downward trend over the last decade, state workers’ compensation claims have been on the rise over the last couple of years. As such, it is never been more important for employees who have been hurt on the job to seek legal counsel, especially since the latest data from Colorado shows that workers pursuing a settlement with counsel far outperform those who try to settle things on their own. Not only are injured employees more likely to receive a settlement, they usually earn a much larger one than someone without representation.
If you have been injured at work anywhere in Colorado, Burg Simpson’s Colorado Work Comp Lawyers can help you get the benefits you deserve. We offer injured workers a no-obligation, Free Consultation on an agreed percentage fee basis, meaning that we only get paid if we’re successful in obtaining a settlement or judgment on your behalf.
It is important to keep in mind that under Colorado Work Comp laws, employees do not need to prove fault for their injuries. The fact that the injuries happened is enough to file a claim so call us now at 303-792-5595.