How Does the APA Govern Workers’ Compensation?
In 1915, the Colorado laws governing workers’ compensation began as a form of no-fault insurance. At that time, the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. was changing the face of work in the country, but it was also bringing a change in work-related injuries, so much so that legislators and employers had to find a way to deal with them.
The initial goal of the legislation was to establish a balance between giving injured employees wage replacement benefits and assistance with medical bills and setting cost predictions and limits on employer liabilities.
Since 1915, workers’ compensation laws have been changed and adapted to fit the times — wages and pay have gone up, litigation has increased and dispute resolution has been backlogged.
All these changes have necessitated updates to the state’s laws — benefits and wage replacement needs have been increased to keep up with changing pay rates and medical costs, and liability laws and responsibilities have changed as the fields of work change.
In updating the state’s procedures, legislators have worked to keep the basic premise of the 1915 laws at the forefront: “to assure the quick and efficient delivery of disability and medical benefits to injured workers at a reasonable cost to employers.” This is where the Administrative Procedures Act comes in to play.
Administrative Procedures Act
The Administrative Procedures Act (APA) was enacted in June of 1946 by the United States government. The APA is a federal statute that governs the individual administrative agencies that operate within the government and regulates how these agencies propose and pass new laws and statutes. The Act also established the process by which United States federal courts review agency decisions directly.
In the APA, state agencies can find their guidelines for implementing new laws as passed by an individual state’s legislators. The laws and statutes indicate what people can and cannot do, and the rules offer guidelines on how to stay in line with the statutes.
These rules for implementation have the same force as laws, and because of that, the APA requires that these rules be expressed to the public in a two-step process — a proposed draft of the new or amended rule is required and anyone who will be affected by this rule change must be given the chance to provide feedback at public hearings or other venues available for public comment.
Once this has been done, the agency must take into consideration any testimony or public opinion offered on the proposal before adopting it.
At Levine Law, our Denver workers’ compensation attorneys represent anyone who has suffered an on-the-job injury and needs to file a claim. As the legislation adapts to keep up with the changing worlds of work and litigation, our attorneys keep up-to-date on new rules and requirements for filing claims and receiving restitution. To discuss your case and learn more about the Colorado workers’ compensation laws and the APA, call a lawyer at the Levine Law Firm today.