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How to Obtain Benefits for a Work Injury Outside of Colorado

Are you employed in Colorado but were injured a workplace accident in another state? Learn about your legal rights to workers' compensation

In today’s increasingly mobile workplaces, Colorado workers are frequently tapped to work out of state. A registered nurse who holds a Colorado license may find employment as a traveling nurse in some other region of the country. A Denver-based truck driver may need to make a delivery to a tradeshow in Las Vegas.

If a worker whose employment is primarily based in Colorado gets injured on the job while out of state, can he or she claim workers’ compensation benefits in the Centennial State?

The answer is yes.

There are some caveats, however.

Colorado Employment Law

As a matter of course, workers are subject to the employment laws of the state in which they work. This was reiterated by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2003 case State Farm v. Campbell in which the Supreme Court of Utah noted that each individual state’s ability to make a “reasoned judgment” about conduct within its own borders was “a basic principle of federalism.”

However, out-of-state employment may be subject to the laws of both the state where the work takes place and the state where the worker resides if statutes in the residing state specifically stipulate that this is the case.
Under Colorado Revised Statutes Title 8 Labor and Industry § 8-41-204, Colorado has the jurisdiction to award benefits for on-the-job injuries that occur out of state if:

  • the employee has not been outside Colorado for more than six months, and

  • if the employee was either hired or employed regularly inside Colorado.

That means the business that hired that employee may be subject to the stipulations of Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation Act.

Also, regardless of the rules in the state where that business is located, any business that employs a Colorado worker may find itself facing a penalty if it doesn’t carry the appropriate workers’ compensation insurance.

Claiming Workers’ Compensation Benefits Outside Colorado

Even if you are working outside Colorado, you may be able to collect workers’ compensation if your employment contract was created in Colorado and most of the work you do takes place in Colorado. Of these two conditions, the most persuasive is the second, which was reaffirmed by the Colorado State Supreme Court in U.S. Co. v. Industrial Com., 61 P.2d 1033 (Colo. 1936).

However, this also means you may be subject to all the stipulations regulating workers’ compensation in Colorado. That means that as soon as possible, you’re required to notify your employer that you’ve been injured on the job. Your employer will then have ten days to notify the Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Learn more about reporting a work-related injury.

You’ll also be required to seek medical attention immediately. This may be problematic if you’re out of state. Your employer and the insurance company that handles your employer’s claims can elect to appoint a doctor to tend to your care, and they may not be knowledgeable about the options that are available to you outside Colorado.

Working with an experienced Colorado workers’ compensation attorney who fully understands the complexities of your situation may be able to help you get the compensation you seek for a work-related injury. Contact the Babcock Law Firm to schedule your free consultation and find out how we can help.

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