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Workers' Compensation

Concerning the "Workers' Compensation Act of Colorado", and, in connection therewith, making changes that affect the timely payment of benefits, guardian ad litem and conservator services, benefit offsets related to the receipt of federal disability or retirement benefits, the reduction of benefits based on apportionment, the selection of independent medical examiners, limits on temporary disability and permanent partial disability payments, the withdrawal of admissions of liability, mileage expense reimbursement, the authority of prehearing administrative law judges, the reopening of permanent total disability awards, and petitions for review and appeals of orders.
2021 Regular Session
Labor & Employment
Bill Summary

The act:

  • Adds guardian ad litem and conservator services to the list of medical aid that an employer is required to furnish to an employee who is incapacitated as a result of a work-related injury or occupational disease;
  • Requires an injured worker who is claiming mileage reimbursement for travel related to obtaining compensable medical care to submit a request to the employer or insurer within 120 days after the expense is incurred, and requires the employer or insurer to pay or dispute mileage within 30 days after submittal and to include in the brochure of claimants' rights an explanation of rights to mileage reimbursement and the deadline for filing a request;
  • Clarifies that offsets to disability benefits granted by the federal "Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Amendments of 1965" only apply if the payments were not already being received by the employee at the time of the work-related injury;
  • Prohibits the reduction of an employee's temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, or medical benefits based on apportionment under any circumstances; limits apportionment of permanent impairment to specific situations; and declares that the employer or insurer bears the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, at a hearing regarding apportionment of permanent impairment or permanent total disability benefits;
  • Adds the following conditions that must be met for an employer or insurer to request the selection of an independent medical examiner when an authorized treating physician has not determined that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI): An examining physician must have examined the employee at least 20 months after the date of the injury, have determined that the employee has reached MMI, and have served a written report to the authorized treating physician specifying that the examining physician has determined that the employee has reached MMI; and the authorized treating physician must have responded that the employee has not reached MMI or must have failed to respond within 15 days after service of the report;
  • Changes the whole person impairment rating applicable to an injured worker from 25% to 19% for purposes of determining the maximum amount of combined temporary disability and permanent partial disability payments an injured worker may receive;
  • Clarifies when benefits and penalties payable to an injured worker are deemed paid;
  • Prohibits an employer or insurer from withdrawing an admission of liability when 2 years or more have passed since the date the admission of liability on the issue of compensability was filed, except in cases of fraud;
  • Prohibits the director of the division of workers' compensation or an administrative law judge from determining issues of compensability or liability unless specific benefits or penalties are awarded or denied at the same time;
  • Clarifies the scope of authority of prehearing administrative law judges;
  • Increases the threshold amount that an injured worker must earn in order for permanent total disability payments to cease and allows for annual adjustment of the threshold amount starting in 2022; and
  • Clarifies the orders that are subject to review or appeal.
    (Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details