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.
Initial Reporting to the Employer
Reporting an injury verbally to an employer is not sufficient. While our clients do not 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. An employer can seek to reduce the amount of compensation due to an injured worker for each day beyond four days that an injury is not reported in writing. It is also harder to prove to a judge that an injury was timely reported when it was only reported verbally.
Once you are 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. Do not 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 does not 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 are still met with resistance by human resources or the higher manager or supervisor, draft a brief statement of how the injury occurred, when the injury occurred, where the injury occurred and what body parts were injured. The statement does not 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
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-blanks 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 (www.coworkforce.com). The Claim for Compensation asks for more detailed information than what is 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 a Workers’ Claim for Compensation.
Even if your employer has referred you for medical treatment and provided some benefits, it does not 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.
What if My Injury Wasn’t from a Specific Accident, but Occurred Over Time?
Injuries or medical conditions that are not 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 diseases. One of the most common and most 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 disease is entitled to all the same benefits as someone who is injured in an accident and has all the same reporting requirements. The only difference is that instead of the time for reporting an injury or for filing a Workers’ Claim for Compensation running from the date of an accident, the time runs from when the worker with the occupational disease knew or should have known that they had the medical condition and that it was caused by their employment.
We invite you to discuss the details of your workers’ compensation claim with a lawyer at The Babcock Firm, whether you’re in Denver, Boulder, Aurora, Broomfield, Louisville, Lafayette, Golden, Thornton, Westminster or another Colorado city. 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 are here to help you secure a successful outcome. Learn more about how representation works and then contact us today.