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Employer Ordered To Repay Suspended Workers' Comp Benefits

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Brent Adams
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The Supreme Court of Colorado ruled on May 12 that an employer is required to pay temporary total disability benefits that it suspended after a workers’ compensation claimant failed to appear at a physician’s office for appointments.

In the case of Sigala vs. Atencio’s Market, the court ruled that the delay in benefit payments was a sufficient sanction and that the money that was held back should be paid once the employee resumes visits with the physician.

The decision reverse the ruling of an appellate court, an administrative law judge, and a workers’ comp appeals office that said the plaintiff was not entitled to receive the held money because “suspension” is defined by the state’s workers’ comp law as a permanent forfeiture.

The claimant in the case reportedly missed appointments with the physician during 2004 for an injury that was not disclosed. According to court records, she later requested that the benefits that her employer withheld for two months be repaid.

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