Workers Compensation Notice of Contest
The insurance company or self insured employer is required to send out an admission of liability or a notice of contest within 20 days of the date they are notified of an injury under Colorado’s workers compensation law. Frequently they will send out the notice of contest on injuries that clearly happened at work. This confuses many people because the insurance company or employer has also made a referral to a physician or clinic and they appear to be paying for the medical treatment that is needed.
If the insurance company has not sent out a “General Admission of Liability” they have not admitted liability for your injury. They are allowed to pay for medical expenses, and usually do, because they want to keep control of who the authorized treating physician in the case will be if it is admitted later. They will not be paying for your lost wages however, and so they need to be made to admit on the case. The notice of contest puts the injured party on notice that they have not admitted liability and tells you that you can apply for a hearing to determine liability if you disagree with the notice of contest.
All this can be very confusing to the average person who has not dealt with these issues in the past. They wonder why the notice of contest was filed when the injury clearly happened at work. There could be several reasons, such as not being reported timely, no witnesses to the accident, prior work related injuries, prior injuries to the same parts of the body hurt in the work injury, first week on the job injuries, an adjuster who hasn’t been prompt in getting the investigation done before the 20 days is up, etc etc etc.
If you get a notice of contest you can call an attorney that specializes in workers compensation and usually that attorney will speak to you free of charge to determine if they can help you. That is the policy of my office and most of the attorneys that I know who work in this area.