How to Report a Work-Related Injury or Condition

Learn what to do after a workplace accident and the first things you should do to report your injury at work

There are two requirements for an injured worker who needs to report a work-related injury. First, the injured worker needs to report the injury in writing to his or her employer within four days of the injury. Second, the injured worker needs to file a Workers' Claim for Compensation with the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation within two years of the injury.

An injured worker needs to make every effort to meet both of these requirements. We often, however, run into workers who have difficulty meeting one or both of these requirements.

Reporting a Work Injury to Your Employer In Writing

Deadline: within 4 days

Reporting an injury verbally to an employer isn't good enough. While our clients don't always see negative consequences in their claims when they only report it to their employer verbally, an injured worker puts themselves at risk to have a negative consequence in their claim when they don't insist on reporting an injury in writing.

For instance, an employer can seek to reduce the amount of compensation due to an injured worker for each day beyond four days that an injury isn't reported in writing. It's also harder to prove to a judge that an injury was reported on time when it was only reported verbally. The case can become a he said/she said situation.

Once you're injured, report it to your direct supervisor as soon as possible and ask your supervisor if your employer has internal accident reporting forms you need to fill out. Don't rely on indications by your supervisor that they will take care of reporting the injury to human resources, or a higher manager or supervisor.

If your supervisor doesn't have you fill out accident report forms or direct you to human resources (or another supervisor or manager) to report the injury, you need to go on your own to human resources (or a higher manager or supervisor) and report the injury.

If you're still met with resistance, draft a brief statement of how the injury occurred, when the accident happened, where it occurred and what body parts were injured.

This statement doesn't need to be more than three or four sentences, but it does need to be as specific as possible about the details of the injury. Date the statement and make a copy of it for your records.

Then, either hand deliver the statement or mail it to your employer and ask them to include it in your personnel file.

Workers' Claim for Compensation

Deadline: within 2 years

Under the Colorado Workers' Compensation Act, an injured worker can lose their right to all workers' compensation benefits if they don't file a Workers' Claim for Compensation with the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation within two years of the date of injury.

A Workers' Claim for Compensation is a fill-in-the-blank form provided by the Division of Workers' Compensation and can be obtained either at the Division's offices (633 17th Street, Suite 400, Denver, Colorado 80202) or on the Division's website. You can also download the form here.

This form asks for more detailed information than what's generally reported to the employer initially.

We recommend that workers who have already reported their injury to their employer in writing try to consult with a workers' compensation attorney in Colorado before filing this form.

Even if your employer has referred you for medical treatment and provided some benefits, it doesn't relieve you of the requirement to file a Workers' Claim for Compensation.

There are circumstances where an employer can provide benefits over a two-year period and then completely deny a case once the two-year anniversary has passed — if the employee never filed the Claim for Compensation.

Form provided by Colorado Department of Labor & Employment

What if My Injury Wasn't from a Specific Accident, but Occurred Over Time?

Injuries or medical conditions that aren't the result of a specific accident, but instead occur over time due to the conditions or requirements of a worker's employment are known as occupational injuries. One of the most common and well-known occupational diseases is carpal tunnel syndrome, but there are all types of medical conditions that can occur as a result of an occupational disease.

A worker who suffers an occupational injury or disease is entitled to all the same benefits as someone who's injured in an accident and has all the same reporting requirements. The only difference is that instead of the deadline for reporting an injury or for filing a Workers' Claim for Compensation being from the date of an accident, the clock starts running from the moment the injured worker discovered their occupational disease or should have known about their medical condition caused by their employment.

Talk with a Colorado Workers' Compensation Lawyer Today –
Free, No-Risk Consultation

We invite you to discuss the details of your workers' compensation claim with a lawyer at The Babcock Firm. We help injured workers in Denver, Boulder, Aurora, Broomfield, Louisville, Lafayette, Golden, Thornton, Westminster and communities throughout Colorado.

If your case falls within our practice area and we feel our representation can benefit you, an attorney will meet with you for an in-depth consultation, at no charge. We're here to help you secure the best possible outcome. Learn more about how representation works and then contact us today.

Continue learning about how workers' compensation works by visiting the following resources:

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