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Obtain the Workers' Compensation You Deserve for Job-Related Injuries
Many people work dangerous jobs that present an inherent risk of injury, such the construction field or in an industrial environment. Others work in fields that do not seem to pose imminent dangers. However, anyone can sustain an injury on the job. From falling in an office to getting into a car accident when running errands for your boss, work injuries can happen at any time to any employee. Fortunately, a Denver workers' compensation attorney can help.
If you or a loved one has been hurt while performing job-related duties, Colorado law entitles you to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact Levine Law today to learn more about the benefits available to you and for help in obtaining the full amount of money available to you under the law.
What Is Workers’ Compensation in Colorado?
Under Colorado workers’ compensation law, a worker who suffers an injury while performing any required job duty is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Covered injuries include injuries sustained on the job site and 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”. For example, a worker attending a required work retreat is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if he or she is injured during the retreat. A worker injured while attending a voluntary Christmas party, however, may not be entitled to benefits because attending the party was not a job requirement.
When an employee suffers a work injury, he or she is not required to prove negligence in order to file a workers’ compensation claim. In fact, in some cases, a worker may have performed a careless act that caused the injury and may still be entitled to benefits, as long as the employee was not violating company policy and was not intoxicated or on drugs while at work.
Our Denver Workers Compensation Attorney Explains Eligibility for Benefits
Employees can obtain workers’ compensation benefits not just for accidents, but also for other types of injuries that develop as a direct result of doing a job. For example, if a worker is exposed to toxins at work and develops cancer, black lung, or other health problems due to the exposure, then the worker can be compensated for his work-related illness. An employee who suffers repetitive stress injuries can also file a workers’ compensation claim.
Almost all workers are covered for benefits, and the definition of work injury is broad. Most employees who get hurt on the job in Colorado can and should make a claim with the help of an experienced Denver workers' compensation attorney.
What Should You Do After Suffering a Job-Related Injury in Denver?
If you have suffered a job-related injury in Denver, there are some important steps you need to take in order to protect your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits, including speaking with an experienced Denver workers' comp lawyer. While Colorado’s workers’ compensation system provides “no-fault” benefits to injured workers, there are strict rules and deadlines that apply, and you need to try to avoid making any mistakes that could justify your employer or its insurance company in denying your claim for benefits.
1. Report Your Injury to Your Employer
In order to file for workers’ compensation benefits, you must report your injury to your employer in writing within four days of the accident or incident in which you were injured. Your employer should have a form available for you to fill out, and you should take your time to complete the form as completely and accurately as possible.
2. Seek Medical Attention
Once you report your injury, your employer should provide you with a list of approved medical providers. In order to remain eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you must see an approved provider for your diagnosis and treatment. You can see your own doctor if your employer does not give you a list to choose from, but you should speak with a Denver workers' comp lawyer first to make sure that you will not be waiving any of your legal rights.
3. Seek Legal Representation with an Experienced Denver Workers' Compensation Attorney
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Denver will be able to help with much more than determining if you are eligible to see your own doctor. Collecting workers’ compensation benefits is not easy, and an experienced attorney will be able to handle the process for you while you focus on your physical recovery. At this stage, your attorney should also:
- Advise you regarding what you should (and shouldn’t) say to your employer’s insurance company;
- Seek maximum benefits for your job-related injury; and,
- Determine whether you have a personal injury or premises liability claim through which you can seek full financial compensation.
4. File an Application for Expedited Hearing (if Necessary)
If your employer or its insurance company denies your claim for benefits, you will receive a Notice of Contest in the mail. Once you receive this notice, you have 45 days to file an Application for Expedited Hearing to challenge your denial of benefits.
5. File an Objection to Final Admission of Liability (if Necessary)
Even if you receive an award of benefits, there are still a number of reasons why you may need to challenge the outcome of your claim. For example, if the determination of your “maximum medical improvement” is inappropriate, you will need to file an objection within 30 days to ensure that you receive the full benefits you deserve.
5 Reasons to Hire an Attorney for Your Colorado Workers’ Compensation Claim
1. Your Claim is Subject to Specific Requirements and Deadlines
From notifying your employer about your injury to challenging your denial of benefits, every step in the process of securing workers’ compensation is subject to specific requirements and strict statutory deadlines. If you make mistakes – even minor technical mistakes – or wait even a day too long, your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer could be well within their rights to deny your claim for benefits.
2. You May Need to Prove that You Were Injured at Work
Employers and their insurance companies use a variety of tactics to deny injured employees’ claims for benefits. One of these tactics is to challenge employees’ assertions that their injuries are job-related. You need to make sure that your employer’s chosen medical provider accurately diagnoses your injuries, and you need to avoid making statements that could end up being used against you.
3. You Need to Maximize Your Benefits
In Colorado, workers’ compensation benefits include coverage for medical expenses and temporary or permanent disability. These are not all of the losses associated with a job-related injury. As a result, you need to ensure that you collect the maximum benefits available; and, unfortunately, you cannot rely on your employer and its insurance company to clearly explain the benefits that are available.
4. Your Workers’ Compensation Claim May Be Denied
Another unfortunate reality of the workers’ compensation system is that many workers’ claims are wrongfully denied. If your employer or its insurance company denies your claim, you will need to determine (i) whether the denial was wrongful, and (ii) if it was, what you need to do next to collect the benefits you deserve. Appealing a denial of workers’ compensation benefits is a complicated process, and you may ultimately need to go to court to protect your legal rights.
5. You May Have Additional Claims Outside of Workers’ Compensation
While workers’ comp is one source of financial recovery for a job-related injury, it is not the only way to secure financial compensation for an injury you suffered on the job. An experienced attorney will be able assess your case and determine if you may be entitled to full compensation for third-party negligence or premises liability.
Contact a Denver Workers' Compensation Attorney for a Free Consultation
Workers’ compensation benefits should pay the full cost of your medical bills with no co-pays. If you are forced to miss work due to your work injuries, workers’ compensation will pay a portion of your wages. If you were permanently or temporarily disabled, workers’ compensation will pay disability benefits as well. These benefits may cover full disability if you are unable to work, or partial disability if your injury forces you to switch to a job where you earn less.
Unfortunately, employers don’t always pay benefits as required or approve claims in good faith. You deserve to receive the full amount of workers’ compensation coverage owed to you after an injury. If your employer is not treating you fairly, it is wise to consult a workers’ compensation attorney.
At Levine Law, our Denver workers' compensation attorneys will help you with every aspect of your workers’ comp claim after you have suffered an injury. We will help you every step of the way, from making sure you comply with deadlines to proving your injury occurred at work to appealing a denial of benefits. Give us a call today at (303) 333-8000 or contact us online to learn more about how our law firm can help make sure you are cared for and covered after you get hurt on the job.