Workers’ Compensation and On the Job Injuries
In 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were:
- Nearly 3 million work-related injuries
- An average of 9 days of missed work from these injuries
- 4,628 fatal on-the-job injuries
If you are injured or contract an occupational disease while at work, you may be entitled to compensation benefits as provided by Colorado law. It’s important to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statics show that injured workers that were represented by a workers’ compensation attorney, collected nearly double the amount of injured claimants that did not hire a lawyer.
Before the workers’ compensation law was enacted in 1915, Colorado workers who were injured while at work had few options for compensation for their injuries and lost wages. It was possible for the injured worker to sue their employer, but this could take years and the outcome was uncertain. Workers’ compensation law in Colorado now functions as a type of insurance coverage that employers must provide to their employees. The cost of workers’ compensation insurance is paid entirely by the employer and may not be deducted from the employee’s wages.
When you are injured on the job, you must file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. In order to file a claim, you must provide your employer written notice within four (4) working days of the incident. The Date of Injury (DOI) and the First Report of Injury (FROI) are vital to your claim. If you don’t report your injury or occupational disease promptly, you may lose your benefits. It is also important that you keep copies of everything you provided to your employer regarding the incident for your records and for your Colorado workers comp attorney. Once you have notified your employer of your work-related injury, he is obligated to file the claim with his workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Medical treatment will then be available to you with an Authorized Treating Physician (ATP) as part of your employer’s work comp insurance. Additionally, unlike other types of insurance, liability is not a factor in on-the-job injuries. Your employer must pay if your injury occurred within the scope of your employment.
What should you do if you’re injured at work?
- Notify your employer immediately. Written notice must be given to your employer with four (4) working days of your injury
- Seek medical treatment
- Document all records and incidents that relate your injury, treatment, losses and expenses
- Keep all of your receipts, bills and records for:
- Time lost from work
- Medical care and dates of treatment
- Payments to hospitals and doctors
- Payment to all other medical service providers related to your injury or occupational illness (nurses, therapists, etc.)
- Expenses for medications (prescription and over-the-counter)
- Expenses for special equipment or devises used in treatment or rehabilitation
- Transportation to and from doctors, hospitals, therapists, pharmacies, etc.
- File a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation
What if I was in a car accident while on the Job in Colorado?
There are times when, as part of your job, you must travel either in your car or in a company vehicle. If you are injured in a car accident while on the job, you may be entitled to additional compensation. If the crash was not your fault, the at-fault driver will be responsible for your damages. As with any other work related injury, you must report your injuries to your employer within four (4) days or risk a loss of your benefits. At the end of your workers’ compensation claim, it is possible that your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company may try to subrogate or “subtract” the dollar amount they paid for your treatment from the amount you are paid from the at fault party’s insurance. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at the Sumner Law Office can also handle the complex details in dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company to protect your rights and maximize your compensation.
What if my injuries are permanent and I cannot return to work?
At some point, after you have been treated by the Authorized Treating Physician (ATP), the doctor will determine that you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), that is, in this doctor’s opinion your injury has healed to an acceptable level and you can return to work. Unfortunately, not all injured workers can return to their job at full capacity after they reached their MMI. In this case, you may be eligible to receive permanent impairment benefits. In Colorado, you may qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD). An expert workers’ compensation lawyer can advise you of your options.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Sumner Law Office have the compassion, knowledge and experience necessary for these complex and difficult cases. We tell our clients-we want you to concentrate on the important things: getting healthy and returning to work, while our attorneys take care of the complicated legal issues and deal with the workers’ compensation insurance company.