Mintz Law Firm
Workers' Compensation Attorney in Denver, CO
Employees should be able to be safe at their place of employment and work in a hazard-free environment. Unfortunately, accidents still happen, injuring millions and killing thousands each year. The United States Bureau of Labor reported that there were 5,333 fatal work injuries in 2019 , a number that increases almost every year. In that same year, there were 2.8 million nonfatal injuries.
Most workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for a work-related injury or illness but obtaining funds may be difficult. If you have been injured on the job in Colorado, reach out to Mintz Law Firm. Our workers’ compensation attorneys will work to obtain the benefits you deserve.
Workers’ Compensation Laws in Colorado
Workers’ compensation laws protect employees when they sustain injuries or an illness on the job as a result of their work duties. All Colorado businesses must have workers’ compensation insurance and maintain it at all times, regardless of how many full-time or part-time employees they have. Businesses can purchase insurance from an agency, much like how they would purchase auto insurance. Employers cannot pass the cost of workers’ compensation to employees. Failure to carry insurance may result in hefty fines.
What to Do After an Injury on the Job
There are several things you should do following a workplace injury. You must report the injury as soon as possible. You must notify your employer within four days of the injury in writing. Waiting may jeopardize your workers’ compensation case. Your employer must then notify the insurance company within ten days of learning about the incident. The insurer will then assess the workers’ compensation claim and either deny or approve it.
Photographing the injury and accident scene may help your case, as well. You should also keep notes on everything you said when reporting the injury and everything your employer did in response. Keep track of any witnesses and ask them if they saw anything that could have contributed to the accident.
Once you report the injury, you should seek medical care. The employer determines which clinics are authorized to treat its injured workers. Even if you feel physically fine or show no external injuries, you do not want to risk complications later and miss out on financial compensation. Remember, you have the right for a doctor of your choice to examine you, in addition to the one your company provides, but the employer or insurance carrier does not have to pay for that examination. However, if your employer does not direct you to an authorized medical provider, then it may lose the right to select who treats you. You should never delay medical assistance.
Who Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?
Under Colorado law, nearly everyone hired to perform services for pay is considered an employee. However, there are exceptions which include:
- Casual maintenance or farm work for less than $2,000 yearly
- Independent contractors
- Part-time domestic workers
Colorado employers with one or more full and part-time employees must have workers’ comp coverage, which covers workplace injuries and illness regardless of fault. However, it’s important to note that although injuries are covered regardless of fault, compensation may be reduced if the worker’s injury resulted from willfully failing to use safety devices, follow protocol, or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury or illness and are unsure if you’re covered under workers’ comp, contact an experienced Colorado workers’ comp lawyer. They can walk you through your legal rights and options to help ensure you achieve the best possible outcome for your circumstances.
What Injuries Are Covered Under Colorado's Workers’ Compensation Laws?
Colorado workers’ compensation laws covers any injury that occurred while the worker was on duty. It also covers illnesses caused by exposure to poor air quality, allergens, or harmful substances. Common injuries covered under workers’ comp include:
- Torn meniscus
- Broken bones
- Torn rotator cuffs
- Carpal tunnel
- Bulging discs
- Head injuries
- Exposure to asbestos
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Anxiety disorder
Nearly all kinds of injuries and illnesses related to the workplace are covered under workers’ comp. However, there are exceptions regarding when these injuries or illnesses are no longer covered. Injuries are no longer covered if:
- Workers injured themselves or another purposely
- The worker was injured during a social or athletic event that was not considered part of their work-related duties
- A worker was injured from an act of God (referring to events outside of human control or foresight)
- The worker was horseplaying at the time of the injury
If you are unsure the circumstances of your injury or illness are covered under Colorado’s workers’ comp, contact a workers’ comp attorney who can help you understand your legal options.
What Benefits Are Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?
The various types of workers’ comp benefits offered to injured workers include:
Workers’ comp pays any medical expenses related to the work-related injury. Medical benefits generally include:
- Doctor’s visits
- Hospital stays
- Medical supplies
- Physical therapy
If the medical expenses are needed to treat and assist in the injured worker's recovery, they will generally be covered under workers’ comp.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Injured workers are entitled to wage loss benefits if they are unable to work or are working but earning less due to their work restrictions.
Permanent Partial Disability
Workers receive this benefit because their injury limits their capacity to work, but they can continue working.
Permanent Total Disability
This benefit equates to two-thirds of the workers’ income at the time of the injury and is distributed when a worker is so severely injured they can no longer work in any capacity.
In the unfortunate event that a work-related injury or illness causes a death, the surviving family members can receive two-thirds of the deceased’s weekly wages.
Common Causes of Workplace Accidents
Numerous factors can cause workplace accidents, ranging from a slippery floor to mishandling of hazardous materials, and several variables can contribute to or influence an accident. Some of the most common causes of workplace accidents include:
- Lifting: Employees are prone to sprains, strains, or tears when lifting heavy objects.
- Auto Accidents: For many employees, driving is part of their job. If you are injured in an auto accident while driving for work, even if you received the ticket for the accident, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Poor lighting: Inadequate lighting accounts for numerous workplace accidents every year.
- Falls: Slick corridors, floors, and highly trafficked areas can cause an employee to slip or trip and fall. Falls from height, such as from scaffolding or on construction sites, can also lead to serious injuries.
- Hazardous materials: Improperly handling hazardous materials or not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) can cause burns or other severe injuries.
Ultimately, any harm you sustain at work may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and because workers’ compensation is considered a “no-fault” system, you do not have to prove that your injury was caused by the negligence of someone else to receive worker’s compensation benefits. If you are unsure or have questions, contact an attorney.
What Type of Compensation is Available for Workplace Accident Victims in Colorado?
Workers’ compensation is the insurance that employees rely on when they are injured at work or become ill due to their working environment. However, while workers’ compensation is designed to protect workers and create less of a financial burden for workers and employers, navigating the claim process can be difficult. To make sure they have the best chance for success, workers should utilize the experience of a knowledgeable and determined workers’ comp lawyer. A lawyer can help break down your legal options and your best avenue to collect maximum compensation. In Colorado, employees who are in an accident, even if it was their fault, can still obtain benefits as long as they meet the following requirements:
- The injured or ill person is an employee.
- Their employer must have workers’ comp insurance.
- The injury or illness must be work-related.
- Pre-existing conditions can qualify as long as the working conditions exacerbate the condition.
- All state deadlines regarding reporting and filing are met.
As long as those requirements are met, an employee hurt during a workplace accident is eligible for the following benefits:
Medical expenses that are related to the workplace injury or illness will likely be covered under workers’ comp. These expenses can include:
- Emergency services
- Doctor visits
- Medical exams
- Physical therapy
- Travel related to medical care
If the expense is needed to treat the work-related injury or assist the worker in their recovery, then it will likely be covered under medical benefits.
If the accident causes an injury that prevents the worker from returning to work for a time while they recover, then workers' compensation will generally cover those lost wages.
When the injury leaves a worker temporarily or permanently disabled, they can receive compensation for their loss of income. Disability benefits cover the following:
- Workers who are temporarily disabled and cannot work
- Workers who can work but are earning less due to their work restrictions
- Workers who can continue to work but are limited because of their injury
- Workers who are so severely injured they can no longer work in any capacity
Determining the amount someone receives in disability benefits requires a lot of investigation and work, and sometimes insurance companies will do their best to limit their payout. Work with a skilled workers’ comp lawyer who can make sure you receive the fair and deserved amount of benefits.
Death benefits go to the surviving family members of a deceased worker. They generally receive two-thirds of the deceased’s weekly wages. Surviving families may also receive compensation for funeral costs and burial costs.
What Is the Time Limit to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Denver, CO?
When you’re injured at work or start noticing signs of a workplace injury, the clock starts ticking. In Colorado, injured workers have two years from the date of their injury or date of discovery to file a workers’ comp claim. However, it’s critical that workers file their claim as soon as possible, or they risk losing their right to benefits. Furthermore, there are other deadlines that injured workers need to be aware of to protect their right to workers’ comp.
1. Deadline to Report Your Injury in Writing
When you sustain a workplace injury, you have four days to report your injury to your employer in writing. Waiting longer than four days means risking the possibility of losing benefits for each day you’re late in reporting your injury.
2. Deadline Your Employer Has to Report Your Injury to Their Insurer
If you report your injury within the allotted four days, your employer has ten days from the date you reported the injury to their insurance company. If your employer has workers’ comp, their insurers are responsible for reviewing, approving, or denying your claim.
3. Deadline for Approval or Denial of Your Claim
After your employer files a report of your injury, their insurance company has twenty days to approve or deny your claim for benefits. If your claim is denied, you will receive a “notice of contest” in the mail.
4. Deadline to Apply for an Expedited Hearing
If you receive a notice of contest in the mail, you have 45 days from the date of mailing to file an application for an expedited hearing. Filing this application is the first step in the workers’ comp appeals process to have your claim reexamined and try to overturn the denial. Workers’ comp insurance companies routinely deny employees’ valid claims without proper justification. Injured workers benefit from the assistance of workers’ comp attorneys who understand the complexities of these claims and the common errors workers make that creates problems for their claim.
5. Deadline to Object to a Final Admission of Liability
In the event that you are awarded benefits through a Final Admissions of Liability but the benefits are less than the value of your claim, you have thirty days to object to an insurance company’s decision (this applies to awards issued with and without filing an application for an expedited hearing). Insurance companies aim to limit their payout, which means they routinely attempt to award injured workers less than the true value of their claim. It’s essential that workers understand their benefits so they are not accepting lowball offers.
6. Deadline to File a Personal Injury Claim
After suffering a workplace injury, filing for workers’ comp is not necessarily the only option available. Workers’ comp benefits are limited, and they may not cover the true extent of the damages you’ve suffered. If you are considering pursuing a personal injury claim against a third party, you have two years to file that claim, unless you are injured in a motor vehicle accident. In this case you have three years to file that claim. Workers should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure they understand all their options for recovering fair compensation.
Speak to Our Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Denver, CO
Too many accident victims do not report their workplace injuries out of fear of their company terminating them. However, Colorado makes it illegal to do this. At the Mintz Law Firm, our Denver workers’ compensation attorneys can help you obtain the medical care, lost wage benefits, and permanent disability benefits you are entitled to. We will fight and negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Let us help you get back on your feet. Call (303) 462-2999 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a work injury attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions About Worker's Compensation Cases
When Should I Report a Workplace Injury?
In Colorado, all employees must report workplace injuries within four days to their employer. The notification must be written, and for every day the employee fails to report, one day of worker's compensation is deducted. To file a worker's comp claim, the injured individual must file within two years of the injury or immediately after the death of an employee.
Should I Notify My Employer That I Have Been Injured at Work?
All Colorado employees must notify their employers, in writing, if they have been injured on the job. To use the benefits of workers’ compensation when you have suffered non-fatal injuries, the report must be initiated within the deadline or as soon as possible. For work-related injury claims, our Denver workers’ compensation lawyers can help you seek compensation for your injuries.
Do I Need to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
After suffering injuries while on the job, a workers’ comp lawyer can help you obtain the benefits entitled to you under workers’ compensation benefits. It is unlawful for employers to terminate employment due to workplace injuries and an employee’s need for compensation. Hiring a skilled attorney may help you obtain the full amount of compensation for lost wages, injuries, medical care, and other unforeseen losses.