What Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Have you experienced an injury while at work or performing duties related to your job? You could be entitled to coverage for your medical bills, a portion of your lost earnings, and potentially other damages. Workers’ compensation was created to compensate workers for injuries that happen on the job, although there are limits to what you can collect that you need to know about if you have been hurt.
While it would be ideal if your workers’ compensation benefits kicked in automatically after you experience a workplace injury, that is not the case. Instead, you must collect evidence, follow the rules concerning notification, then draft and successfully file and negotiate a claim with the insurance company. This can be a complex and time-consuming process and especially difficult when you are trying to recover from your injuries.
A job injury lawyer from Levine Law will provide you with support through every step of the claims process to ensure that you receive the full benefits to which you are entitled. If your claim has already been denied, we can handle the appeals process for you to ensure the best chances of success. When the insurance company does not present a fair offer of settlement that covers what you require, we will take them to court on your behalf.
Injured at Work? File Your Claim ASAP
Due to laws established by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have one or more employees. This coverage applies to all employers, regardless of whether the employees are full-time, part-time, or even family members. To get compensation, you must file your claim within the time that is allowed by law or risk losing your ability to collect anything at all related to the costs of your workplace injury.
There is an expiration date on your right to file a claim for a workplace injury, known as the statute of limitations. If your claim is not properly filed during this time, you could lose the right to file forever, meaning you and your family would have to cover all the costs linked to your injury.
If you believe you have become ill or been injured on the job, immediately notify your employer in writing as soon as possible. It is best to do so with a date-stamped letter so that you can prove when it was sent if such proof becomes necessary later. In addition, review your employee handbook for any reporting rules that apply to workplace injuries, as failure to comply with company rules can lead to discipline, even if you follow your state’s unique requirements.
When you submit your notification, include the following:
- Your personal information and contact info
- The date, time, and place where your injury occurred
- The type and extent of your injury
- The name of whichever supervisor was in charge during your injury
Once you have filed your notification with your employer, it is important to reach out to a job injury lawyer to determine if a workers’ comp claim will support the best possible compensation for your damages. Your lawyer can file, manage, and negotiate the claim on your behalf with the insurance company your employer uses.
Workers’ Compensation Covers Limited Injuries
There are some injuries that are not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, even if they happened on the job. For example, when an employee is directly responsible for their injury due to engaging in rule-breaking behaviors like fighting, joking around, or working while intoxicated, coverage is not likely.
Injuries that happen while an employee breaks the law will generally not be covered. Likewise, if an injury or illness while you are not on the job, they will likely not be covered by workers’ comp.
Off-Site Injuries Experienced While Working are Covered
Whether or not you are in the office or on a job site is not what matters in terms of workers’ compensation. What matters is whether you were performing something that is connected to your job. For example, if you go to Best Buy over your break to buy a video game and trip and fall, workers’ comp will not cover the injuries. However, if you were sent to Best Buy by your job to buy a printer for the office and you are injured, then workers’ comp could apply.
Injuries obtained while on the clock and traveling for work are generally covered. Examples of this include business trips, quick outings to the supply store for office goods, or mandatory company training in a different location. Commuting to work, however, often does not count as traveling for work and will not generally be covered under workers’ compensation.
The Insurance Company Providing the Employer’s Coverage Is Not Your Friend
It is important to understand that the employer’s insurer does not work for you — they ultimately work for a profit. Their profit is generated by maximizing income and minimizing costs. Insurance companies are paid by their customers to provide coverage in the event an accident happens. Costs to an insurance company are the amounts paid out to injured people like you, and they will do whatever they can to pay as little as possible — or nothing at all.
To collect compensation for your on-the-job injury, you have to prove your damages with evidence. Important questions to ask include:
- How much will the medical bills linked to your injury cost for the remainder of your lifetime?
- Will your injuries impact your ability to work?
- Do your injuries require advanced treatment to prevent further complications later on?
The insurance company hopes you do not hire a job injury lawyer to answer these questions before you accept an offer of settlement. Keep in mind, however, that if you accept a settlement offer, you cannot collect anything further related to your work-related injuries, and you and your family may have to cover some of the bills out of your household budget.
Pre-Existing Conditions Complicate Workers’ Comp Claims
Workers’ comp claims become more complex when your on-the-job injury is linked to a pre-existing condition, whether the condition made the injury more likely or the injury aggravated the condition. For example, if an asthma attack happens due to working in dusty conditions or a back injury reoccurs due to heavy lifting, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. The pre-existing condition does not need to have originated from a workplace injury to be covered if it returns.
Note, however, that there can be exceptions to coverage when it comes to pre-existing conditions.
Coverage Includes Medical Bills and Lost Earnings
The purpose of workers’ compensation is to cover the costs associated with your workplace injury. This includes your medical bills after the injury and those related to it in the future. You are compensated a portion of the wages you lost during recovery and the time you missed from work during that period. If your ability to earn in the future is impacted, you could be eligible for disability benefits.
To collect complete damages for your job-related injury, you must present evidence to the insurance company to prove the medical bills and future costs linked to your injuries. To do so, you will need follow-up opinions from medical experts who can assess your injury and determine the future treatments and expenses related to it.
A job injury attorney at Levine Law will help you schedule appointments with often hard-to-schedule local experts to collect evidence in support of your claim. We will then incorporate this evidence into the strongest claim possible, file it with the insurance company, and negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf. When the insurance company does not negotiate a fair settlement, we’ll take them to court on your behalf.
Recovering from a workplace injury is difficult enough without having to figure out how the workers’ compensation claims process works and then hoping for the best outcome. Working with a job injury lawyer takes the stress out of your day-to-day life as we handle the claim for you every step of the way.
Connect with a Job Injury Lawyer Today!
The sooner you connect with a job injury lawyer to help with your case, the sooner you can focus on recovering from your injuries while rest assured that your attorney will make the most of your claim on your behalf. While you might worry that you cannot afford an attorney to help, that is not the case. Your initial consultation is free of charge, and if we take your case, we only get paid if we win. You have no out-of-pocket expenses, and our payment comes from a portion of the earnings we collect for you that we’ll agree upon before getting started.
For your risk-free, cost-free initial case assessment and to learn more about how we can help, give us a call at 303-333-8000, or visit our site to schedule a consultation.