Benefits for Lost Wages
Colorado has a “no-fault” workers’ compensation statute. That means that the injured worker is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits even if an accident occurred because of your own mistake. There may be limits or penalties to benefits if you intentionally violate a safety rule, but generally an injured worker is entitled to collect all work comp benefits even if the accident was something you might have avoided.
Generally, there are two types of wage loss benefits which are provided under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act. Those benefits are:
1) Temporary Disability. There are two types of temporary disability. If you have a total wage loss following an injury you may be entitled to benefits called Temporary Total Disability, or “TTD.” These benefits are paid in the amount of 2/3 of your average weekly wage. If you return to work in any capacity following an injury, but you still suffer a partial wage loss, the benefits you may receive are referred to as Temporary Partial Disability, or “TPD.” Your entitlement to temporary disability benefits will depend in large part on the opinions of your authorized treating physician, who is selected by your employer (or more likely, your employer’s work comp insurance carrier). Your entitlement to these benefits will stop once the authorized treating physician says you have reached maximum medical improvement,” or returns you to your regular job. “Maximum medical improvement” is a phrase which means that you have received all the medical treament needed to treat your injuries or improve your condition.
2) Permanent Disability. There are two types of permanent disability. If, after reaching maximum medical improvement, you are still not capable of earning any wages in the same or other employment, you may be entitled to Permanent Total Disability or “PTD” benefits. Those benefits will be paid out in the amount of 2/3 your average weekly wage, and are payable for life. There may be offsets for social security benefits, etc., but this is the general rule. If, after reaching maximum medical improvement, you are capable of working in any capacity whatsoever, you will not qualify for permanent total disability. You will, however, be entitled to Permanent Partial Disability benefits, or “PPD.” Permanent partial disability benefits are further broken down into two categories.
If you have a “scheduled injury,” which is the term generally applied to injuries to the arms or legs, your compensation will depend strictly on the rating which is ultimately assigned for the injury. The rating is based on a loss of function to the arm or leg, for example. Lost wages are not considered. On the other hand, if you have an injury to your head, neck, back, or torso, your rating will be a “whole person” rating. Compensation for whole person ratings is calculated based upon the extent of your disability rating (which is provided by your authorized treating physician), and your TTD rate, and your date of birth.
3) Disfigurement. This is not a “wage loss” benefit. However, if you are seriously and permanently disfigured about the head, face, or parts of the body normally exposed to public view, you may receive compensation at the discretion of an Administrative Law Judge not to exceed $2,000.00.