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Colorado Workers' Compensation FAQs

Straightforward answers to frequently asked questions about work-related injuries in Colorado

If you have been hurt on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Generally, benefits are available to those who have been hurt regardless of whether they were responsible for causing the accident. Those who need help navigating the workers' compensation legal process may want to contact an experienced legal advocate who may be able to help preserve their rights.

What are the first steps after getting hurt on the job?

As soon as you know that you're injured, be sure to tell your employer. From there, seek treatment from a doctor as soon as possible. In Colorado, you have four working days from the date of the injury to report the injury to your employer in writing.

Failure to do so could result in a loss of benefits for each day that a written notice isn't provided. Those who are unable to meet this requirement may have someone do so on their behalf.

Continue reading: How to File a Work Injury Claim

What will my employer do after a work injury is reported?

Your employer is required to report all injuries to their workers' compensation insurance carrier. Only injuries that involve missing more than three days or shifts of work are reported to the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation and must undergo the formal claim process. The deadline to report lost-time claims is within 10 days of finding out about the injury. For work injury claims that don't involve lost time, there is no deadline for reporting.

Regardless of whether the injury results in lost time at work or not, the workers' compensation claim process officially begins when the employer reports the injury to their carrier. If your employer has a designated medical provider list, they should provide that list to you.

What happens after my workers' comp claim is filed?

The exact process followed by the insurance company depends, in part, on how long you've been out of work. Those who have missed more than three days of work (or more than three shifts) will receive a written response within 20 days of filing a claim.

If the claim is accepted, you should start to receive benefits either immediately or in the near future. If you have missed fewer than three days of work when filing a claim, you will be responsible for tracking the status of the claim.

Continue reading: Workers' Compensation Case Timeline

What happens if my work injury claim is denied?

If your claim is denied, you have 45 days to request a hearing to challenge the denial. There is no specific deadline for requesting a hearing. If you pursue a hearing within 45 days, you can request an expedited hearing (which gets set within 60 days of the hearing application). If you request a hearing outside the 45 days, it's a regular setting time frame of 120 days. If you fail to pursue the claim within 6 months, the insurance carrier can file a motion to close the claim for lack of prosecution.

Workers' comp claims can be denied for any reason deemed sufficient by the insurance company. In some cases, applications are denied in error. Regardless of the reason, it's strongly recommended that you consult a work injury attorney at this point to discuss your legal options going forward.

Which doctor do I see for treatment?

If your employer provides you with a list of designated medical providers, you must choose someone from that list. Otherwise, you may run the risk of losing workers' compensation benefits. In the event that no list is provided, you may see any doctor of your choice.

Who your workers' compensation doctor is can and will have a significant impact on how your claim proceeds. Any injured worker should consider consulting with a knowledgeable attorney familiar with workers' comp doctors in Colorado before selecting a provider.

Continue reading: What if My Workers' Compensation Doctor is not Providing the Proper Care?

What workers' comp benefits am I entitled to?

While the exact compensation you're entitled to depends on your specific case, generally injured workers can have their medical bills paid for by the insurance carrier and be reimbursed for a portion of lost wages while out of work. If you have permanent ongoing problems or undergo significant treatment like a surgery due to the work injury, there may also be a possibility of permanent impairment/disability damages to be awarded at the end of the case.

Continue reading: Benefits Available under a Workers' Compensation Claim

How much will I get paid for a work injury?

You may be entitled to up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW). The AWW is determined by reviewing IRS records, pay stubs, time records, and other recent pay information including commissions or tips received.

Continue reading: Maximum Benefit Rates for Colorado Workers' Comp – 2017-2018 Fiscal Year

Am I entitled to unemployment benefits?

Unemployment benefits may be available to those who are still out of work after workers' compensation benefits expire. Applications should be made at least four weeks prior to the exhaustion of workers' compensation benefits, and they must be filed within three years of losing a job.

You can get unemployment benefits during the case as well, but it's rarely advisable to do so because the workers' comp carrier just gets to reduce what they pay due to an offset and it depletes the injured worker's unemployment bank.

What happens if my employer doesn't carry workers' compensation insurance?

Most employers are required to carry coverage for their employees. You can get in touch with the Colorado Department of Labor to report your employer or otherwise address your concerns. Uninsured employers are still legally responsible for workers' compensation benefits. Injured workers can still pursue a claim and their employer will be penalized.

What does Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) mean?

MMI is a term used by a doctor to acknowledge that your condition has been treated and is not expected to improve. Generally, this means that your condition is stable and will not respond to further treatment. Workers' compensation benefits may terminate upon receiving such a diagnosis.

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding a work-related injury, we recommend checking out our Workers' Compensation Guide or give us a call to schedule a free consultation with our expert Colorado work injury attorney.

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