Benchmark/Elite, Inc. v. Simpson, No. 09SC586 (Colo. 06/01/10).
Ruling: The Colorado Supreme Court overruled its previous holding that a claimant's time of injury could mean either the time of the accident or the time of disablement. Claimants are not entitled to the maximum benefits in effect at the time of disablement.
What it means: Benefits are not calculated based on the maximum rate in effect at the time of disablement. The maximum rate at the time of injury is based on the time of the accident.
Summary: The Colorado Supreme Court reviewed two cases involving statutory limits on workers' compensation benefits. In both cases, the employees were injured and their employers admitted liability for permanent total disability benefits. The employees' benefits were set at the maximum rate in effect at the time of their accidents. Both employees sought to increase their benefits to the maximum rate at the time of disability.The court revisited Avalanche Industries v. Clark, 198 P.3d 589 (Colo. 2008) and overruled its holding that a claimant's benefits calculated at the time of injury could include the maximum rate at the time of disablement. The employees could not increase their benefits.
The court noted that claimants stand to receive a higher maximum rate of benefits if their time of injury is at a later date and the time of disablement might occur later than the time of the accident. The court stated that the holding in Avalanche Industries defining "time of injury" was unnecessary and was overruled. The time of injury no longer includes the time of disability.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 26, 2010
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