Colorado Creates Fund to Help Those Whose Employers Do Not Provide Workers’ Comp

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For those who are injured on-the-job in Colorado, the standard place to turn for help is an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. These policies provide benefits, including medical expenses, disability, and lost wages, for those employees who are injured at work. Although Colorado law requires that employers carry this type of coverage, there are still companies who choose not to do so, opting to pay penalty fines instead.

This leaves employees in a bind when faced with hefty expenses after a workplace accident. Although lawsuits are available in this situation, these can be expensive and take time to pursue. Even if a lawsuit is successful, many companies have used the bankruptcy process to avoid paying court-ordered funds to employers.

To help alleviate this issue, the Colorado Department of Labor created the Colorado Uninsured Employer Fund to cover medical expenses of employees whose employers do not carry workers’ compensation insurance. Since the fund’s approval in 2017, it has been a work-in-progress, collecting funds from penalty fines assessed to companies without workers’ compensation insurance. The fund is now ready to begin accepting claims, with claims being available for any injuries on or after January 1, 2020.

Although this is a significant step forward for workers and workers’ compensation reform, there is a large gap between the number of claims expected this year and the amount of funds currently available. The expected number of claims per year is expected to average 95. Currently, the fund currently contains $1.6 million in available funds, which is not enough to pay for all medical costs associated with the expected number of claims. This means the fund will only be able to accept a certain number of claims, placing others on a waitlist until enough funds are raised to compensate them.

The fund is expected to grow in the future, however, as well as expand from covering only medical costs to covering other types of benefits. Changes in Colorado law allows regulators to assess what each employer can pay and assess a penalty amount based on that. This would translate to increased revenue for the fund, allowing for more claims and an expansion of benefits.

Although in its infancy, the creation of this fund is a huge step forward for workers’ compensation reform, and it represents a huge victory for workers. Now, workers in Colorado can rest assured that there are options for them should their employer choose not to carry workers’ compensation coverage.

To learn more about the Colorado Uninsured Employer Fund, or for any questions or legal help about workers’ compensation, visit LegalInfo.com for help.

 

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