How to Maximize Your Recovery Under Workers’ Compensation
If you or a loved one has been injured while performing job-related duties, Colorado law entitles you to workers’ compensation benefits. As Denver injury lawyers, we are experienced in navigating our clients through the worker’s compensation process and helping them to maximize their recovery. The good news is that the definition of work injury is broad, and covers injuries sustained on the job site, as well as injuries sustained off-site, as long as the worker is fulfilling a work requirement – even if the particular task the worker is performing does not sound like “work.” The bad news is that employers and their insurance companies often use various tactics to deny claims for benefits such as challenging employee assertions that the injuries are job-related. Other grounds for denying workers’ comp claims include the need for further investigation or additional documentation.
From complying with strict statutory deadlines to providing a detailed and well-documented description of your injury and ensuring that the employer’s chosen medical provider accurately diagnoses your injuries, our Workers’ Compensation practice stands ready to assist employees injured on the job.
Important Deadlines and What to Expect During the Process
There are certain procedural deadlines that must be adhered to by law. As soon as you are injured, in addition to seeking medical care, you must notify your employer immediately. Colorado law requires you to notify your employer in writing within 4 working days of an injury. If you are physically or mentally unable to file a written report within the 4 days, it may be filed on your behalf by another person who has notice of your injury.
Once your employer receives notice of your injury, they have 10 days to file a report of the injury (“Employer’s First Report of Injury”) with its insurer. This will start your workers’ compensation claim. The employer should also provide you with its designated medical provider list should it choose to designate a provider. That physician becomes your authorized treating physician for purposes of the injury.
The process will proceed as follows:
- If you have suffered an injury that caused you to lose more than 3 days or 3 shifts at work, the insurer has 20 days from the date the Employer’s First Report of Injury is filed to notify you whether the claim is accepted and benefits will be paid. The decision will be either an Admission of Liability or a denial (“Notice of Contest”).
- If you haven’t missed 3 days of work because of your injury, no written decision is required from the insurer.
- If you have missed more than 3 days or 3 shifts of work, you should also be eligible to receive wage replacement (compensation) benefits if the doctor has taken you off work as a result of your injury.
- If the insurer denies your claim and you believe that it has been denied in error, you may file an application for an expedited hearing within 45 days of the date of the mailing of the Notice of Contest.
How Much Can I Recover Under Workers’ Compensation?
Your benefits will equal two-thirds of the average weekly wage (AWW) that you were receiving on the date of your injury, up to the maximum amount allowed by law. The AWW includes gross wages or salary, commissions, overtime, tips and per diem payments (that were reported to the IRS), reasonable board, the value of rent, housing and lodging, and the cost of continuing the employer’s group health insurance plan.
Am I Entitled to Additional Compensation for My Injuries?
While workers’ comp is one source of financial recovery for a job-related injury, it is not the only way to obtain financial compensation for an injury you suffered on the job. You may be able to recover full compensation for negligence by a third party or based on premises liability.