If you have been injured at work, it is important to make sure you have a clear understanding of your right to file for workers’ compensation. In Colorado, workers’ compensation allows employees to collect “no fault” benefits for on-the-job injuries; and, if you are eligible, you can start receiving benefits in as little as a few weeks.
But, not all workers are eligible for workers’ compensation, and even those that are must follow strict rules in order to protect their legal rights. If you have suffered a job-related injury here are some of the most-important facts for you to know:
You May Need to Report Your Injury in as Few as Four Days
In order to file for benefits, you must notify your employer of your injury within four days of the accident that caused it. As stated on the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s (CDLE) website, “if you do not report your injury to your employer in writing within 4 working days, you may be penalized and lose up to one day’s compensation for each day’s delay, if your employer has posted a sign requiring the 4 days’ written notice.”
You May Need to See a Doctor Who Has Been Approved by Your Employer
Under Colorado’s workers’ compensation law, your employer has the right to choose the doctor who treats your job-related injury. If you see your own doctor, your employer may be within its rights to deny your claim for benefits. As stated by the CDLE, “If you choose to seek your own medical care, it may result in nonpayment of medical benefits and you may be responsible for your own medical costs.”
Workers’ Compensation Provides Medical Benefits and Partial Wage Replacement
Workers’ compensation provides two primary forms of benefits: medical and disability. Your medical benefits should cover the cost to treat your injury (although your employer’s insurance company may try to limit your medical coverage), and your disability benefits should provide a source of income while you are too injured to do your job. However, workers’ compensation only provides partial wage replacement. Disability benefits typically cover two-thirds of your lost wages; and, for temporary disabilities, they begin on the fourth day that you are unable to work.
Workers’ Compensation May Not be Your Only Option
Since workers’ compensation only provides partial wage replacement (and does not cover the non- financial costs of accident-related injuries, such as pain and suffering), it is important that you explore any other sources of compensation you may have available. In many cases, maximizing your financial recovery after a work accident will involve filing a personal injury claim against the person or company that was at fault in the accident. While employers are immune from their employees’ personal injury claims in most circumstances, depending on what happened, a property owner, product manufacturer, contractor or subcontractor, negligent driver, or some other third party may be fully liable for your injury-related losses.
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Were you injured at work in Denver? If so, our attorneys can help you seek just compensation for your injury-related losses. To get started with a free, no-obligation consultation, please call (303) 333-8000 or request an appointment online today.