Legal Experience You Can Trust
Since 1975, we have been obtaining excellent results for clients at the negotiation, hearing, and appellate stages of their cases. Below are just a few examples of the workers’ compensation appeals work our attorneys have done before the Industrial Claim Appeals Office, Colorado Court of Appeals, and Colorado Supreme Court.
Valentine v. Dillingham Constr. Holding, W.C. No. 5-102-177 (Colo. Ind. Cl. App. Off. March 19, 2021)
In this unusual case, the client was injured while working in Texas for a Colorado company in 1999. The company reported the injury claim to Texas authorities, but not in Colorado. A doctor determined the client had permanent impairment, which should have resulted in a monetary award. But the employer and insurance company never responded to the medical opinion, and never paid the client any money.
The client later sought to have the case opened in Colorado and obtain the money that should have been paid to him more than 20 years earlier. A hearing judge dismissed his case on summary judgment because of the time delay. David Mueller convinced the Industrial Claim Appeals Office to reverse the dismissal, and reopen the claim, because the employer had failed to take any action to either report the case in Colorado or respond to the permanent impairment opinion. David later helped the client recover a cash award that had been owed to him for more than 20 years.
Slafter v. Volunteers of Am., W.C. 5-125-703-001 (Colo. Ind. Cl. App. Off. December 9, 2020)
After her injury, and while disabled, the client’s employer asked her to return to a modified duty job. But the job involved two hours of driving each way, compared with 30 minutes driving each way before her injury. Because of the client’s condition, the four hours of total drive time in one day left her in excruciating pain. She told the employer she could not perform the job. The workers’ compensation insurance company refused to pay her lost wages because she “declined” the modified job. Sean Goodbody successfully convinced a hearing judge, and the appeals court, that the job offer was unreasonable and forced his client to drive too far to perform the job. The client’s back-owed wages were awarded.
Hebert v. Blac Frac Tanks, W.C. No. 4-919-279-01 (Colo. Ind. Cl. App. Off. October 19, 2018)
The client suffered multiple fractures to his face and nose, making it difficult for him to breathe, especially with dust or other particulates. At times, if the client had difficulty breathing due to dust, he would have panic attacks. After separating from the first employer, his new employer placed him off work because of these restrictions. The workers’ compensation insurance company declined to pay him lost wage benefits. The hearing judge agreed, ordering that the client should have applied for other work to avoid having wage loss. Sean Goodbody successfully argued the case to the appeals panel, arguing that due to the unusual nature of the client’s restrictions, the judge required an extra burden to prove eligibility for temporary disability benefits. The hearing judge was reversed, and the client’s back wages were paid.
Fresquez v. Montrose School District RE-1J, W.C. No. 4-969-602 (Colo. Ind. Cl. App. Off. November 15, 2016)
Sean Goodbody successfully argued before the Industrial Claim Appeals Office that the hearing judge had discretion to both: (1) Increase the size of a permanent impairment rating, because the treating doctor had made an error in his original provision of the rating, and (2) To convert that higher impairment rating to a whole person calculation. This resulted in a higher permanent disability award for his client.
Briggs v. Safeway, W.C. No. 4-950-808 (Colo. Ind. Cl. App. Off. July 8, 2015)
An employee was injured at work, but did not remember how the injury occurred. She believed that she tripped and fell, striking her head on a metal table in the workplace, because a coworker found her on the ground with an apparent head injury. David Mueller successfully upheld an award for benefits for the injury, arguing that when there is a certain hazard in the workplace, an injured worker is not required to identify the specific reason or cause of her fall.
Bailey vs. Uncompaghre Valley Water Users Assoc. (W.C. 4-976-398)
In 2015, Sean Goodbody successfully argued at an administrative hearing that an injured worker who was terminated after his injury was entitled to temporary disability benefits. The worker was terminated after complaining about a superior who engaged in dangerous practices at work, including bomb-building, setting fires, and other hazardous and lewd pranks. The case was covered by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, other local media, and several legal web blogs.
Wilson v. Dillon Companies, W.C. No. 4-937-322 (Colo. Ind. Cl. App. Off. March 15, 2015)
A grocery store employee clocked out of work and did personal shopping in the store. When she left the store to go home for the day, she slipped on ice and fractured a rib and a bone in her leg. Sean Goodbody successfully argued to the Industrial Claim Appeals Office that the injured worker was still in the scope of her employment when she left the store, because she had to leave the workplace and cross the ice, no matter if she engaged in a personal errand while still inside her workplace.
Pioneers Hosp. of Rio Blanco County v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office, 114 P.3d 97 (Colo. App. 2005)
David Mueller successfully argued to the Court of Appeals that a workers’ compensation insurer may not set an evidentiary deposition of an expert witness without obtaining consent from the injured worker, or filing a motion to secure permission from the courts to obtain deposition testimony. Mr. Mueller obtained a penalty award for his client against the insurer.
Anderson v. Longmont Toyota, Inc., 102 P.3d 323 (Colo. 2004)
In this landmark Colorado Supreme Court case, Chris Seidman represented one of the several petitioners. The Supreme Court held that even if an injured employee voluntarily resigned or was responsible for his termination from his employment, and therefore lost eligibility for temporary disability benefits, the injured employee could once again become eligible for temporary disability benefits if his work-related medical condition once again causes wage loss.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office, 989 P.2d 251 (Colo. App. 1999)
Chris Seidman successfully upheld an award for medical benefits for a worker who sustained a progressive onset injury, or occupational disease. The Court of Appeals found that a claimant suffering from an occupational disease is entitled to reasonably necessary medical benefits, even if the disease has not yet become disabling. The Court of Appeals also found that a claimant is not required to establish the onset of disability when proving entitlement to benefits for an occupational disease claim.
Coates, Reid & Waldron v. Vigil, 856 P.2d 850 (Colo. 1993)
This Colorado Supreme Court case, argued by Gudrun Rice, established that administrative law judges have discretion to determine the fair and equitable calculation of an injured worker’s average weekly wage. That principle was later integrated into the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act itself.
Higgs v. Western Landscaping & Sprinkler Systems, Inc., 804 P.2d 161 (Colo. 1991)
Gudrun Rice successfully expanded the concept of wages at the Colorado Supreme Court. She argued that a provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act that excluded the reasonable value of housing and similar benefits for farm and ranch workers from the calculation of average weekly wage violated equal protection rights and was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court agreed.
City Market v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office, 800 P.2d 1335 (Colo. App. 1990)
A claimant quit her job due to sexual harassment by a supervisor, and was then reinstated after signing an agreement to not disclose the sexual harassment to anyone, and to not make any claims against the employer. The claimant was then shunned and ostracized upon return to work. Chris Seidman successfully argued that Claimant’s emotional stress from the sexual harassment and subsequent mistreatment by coworkers was a compensable condition, even though the claimant signed of a settlement agreement.
Lunsford v. Sawatsky, 780 P.2d 76 (Colo. App. 1989)
An injured worker was still disabled from his work injury, but laid off by his employer for economic reasons. The workers’ compensation carrier stopped paying his lost wages. Charles Withers successfully argued that temporary disability benefits were payable for an injured worker’s wage loss after he is laid off for economic reasons.
St. Mary’s Church & Mission v. Indus. Com’n of State of Colo., 735 P.2d 902 (Colo. App. 1986)
Gudrun Rice prevailed before the Colorado Court of Appeals to increase her client’s average weekly wage. Ms. Rice proved that the correct calculation of her injured client’s earnings for compensation purposes was the combined total of the income she lost from the five jobs she was working when she became disabled, not just the income she lost from the job where she was injured.
Matter of Death of McLaughlin, 728 P.2d 337 (Colo. App. 1986)
A worker was shot and killed when by a coworker’s husband while trying to protect the coworker. Chris Seidman successfully argued before the Colorado Court of Appeals that protecting the coworker was within the course and scope of the deceased worker’s employment, and the widow of the deceased worker was entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits.
Greager v. Indus. Com’n of State of Colo., 701 P.2d (Colo. App. 1985)
Charles Withers successfully argued to the Court of Appeals that when a doctor refers an injured worker to another doctor, in writing, the express consent of that doctor change by a workers’ compensation insurer is not required.