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Colorado bill would increase comp attorneys fees, make other changes

legal fees

Colorado lawmakers have introduced legislation that would make various changes to the state’s workers compensation system, including increasing legal fees in comp cases.  

House Bill 1076, filed on Tuesday, would increase workers comp contingent attorneys fees to a flat 25%. Currently, attorneys fees over 20% of the amount of contested benefits are presumed to be unreasonable.

The measure would also amend existing law by increasing the limit on injured workers’ medical impairment benefits from 12 weeks to 36 weeks, allow injured workers to request a hearing when their temporary total disability benefits end based on a doctor’s return-to-work release, and remove a current provision authorizing injured workers to petition comp regulators before receiving replacements for certain medical devices.

The measure would also specify that any medical benefits recommended by a physician after maximum medical improvement is reached are not limited to any specific medical treatment.

Another proposed change pertains to medical records. Under existing law, insurers must provide independent medical examiners and other parties with a complete copy of an injured worker’s entire medical file, but the bill would limit the required medical records to only those relating to the specific work injury.

The bill was sent to the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee for consideration.