August 21, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Consolidated Workers’ Compensation Cases

The Colorado Supreme Court on June 1, 2010, issued its opinion in two consolidated workers’ compensation law cases: Benchmark/Elite, Inc. v. Simpson; City of Colorado Springs v. Bennett.

Workers’ Compensation—Maximum Rate of Benefits.

The Supreme Court consolidated two court of appeals opinions that address statutory limits on workers’ compensation benefits. The Court concluded that a workers’ compensation claimant is entitled to the maximum rate of benefits in effect at the time of injury. In a 2008 case, Avalanche Industries, Inc. v. Clark, 198 P.3d 589, 597-98 (Colo. 2008) (section III.C.), the Court held that “time of injury” could mean either the time of accident or the time of disablement.

In each of the cases here, the court of appeals relied on section III.C. of Avalanche Industries to hold that the claimant was entitled to have his benefits calculated based on the maximum rate in effect at the claimant’s time of disablement. The Court held that section III.C. of Avalanche Industries was unnecessary to decide that case, and overruled the holding that the claimant’s “time of injury” could mean either time of accident or time of disablement. Because the court of appeals’ opinions relied on section III.C. of Avalanche Industries in these cases, the Court reversed those decisions.

Summary and full case also available here.

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