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What Are My Rights If I was Injured at Work in Colorado?

By Burg Simpson

Colorado workplace accident

March 16, 2020   Colorado Blog, Colorado Workers' Compensation

People need to go to work in order to make a living that will provide for their daily expenses. No one expects an accident to happen while they are on the job, or that they will become seriously injured as a result of that accident. The good news is that when this happens, employers are required to provide workers with treatment for their injuries and payment of two thirds of their wages while they are off work. Those rights can provide the necessary compensation needed so injured workers can pay for any expenses related to their injuries and get back on the road to good health as quickly as possible.

Workers’ Compensation in Colorado

Employees injured on the job are protected under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act. The act provides the framework for employees to get workers’ compensation benefits under their employer’s policy any time they become hurt while at work. Under the workers’ compensation system in almost every state, employees can not pursue a claim against their employer for negligence related to their injuries, even if the employer or a co-employee was the cause of the accident that resulted in injury.

Workers’ compensation in Colorado runs on a no-fault system. This means that it does not matter if the employee contributed to the accident that caused his or her injury. The employee still has the right to receive workers’ compensation if he or she was hurt in the course and scope of their employment. .

In Colorado, nearly every employer, with very few exceptions, must carry workers’ compensation insurance in the event that an employee becomes hurt on the job. There are some employers that will try to classify an employee as an independent contractor but in many cases that person would be an employee for the purposes of workers compensation or unemployment. In those situations it is likely that an injured employee would need an attorney’s assistance in getting covered. An employer can never deduct the cost of the workers compensation insurance from an employee’s wages, but they can require subcontractors to obtain coverage or be charged by the general contractor for covering those employees.

Employer’s Responsibilities

Although employees cannot file a lawsuit against an employer if they are hurt on the job, employers still have certain responsibilities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers maintain a safe working environment for all employees at all times. The OSHA is a federal agency and provides strict safety regulations that all employers must obey.

If an employer violates any of these safety codes, they could face high fines and even criminal charges. In the event that an employee notices a violation, he or she can report it to the OSHA. Employers can not retaliate against any employee who reports such a violation.

When an employee becomes injured while at work, he or she must report it to the employer or supervisor immediately. If it is an emergency the employee has the right to seek medical treatment from the closest hospital or medical facility, but if it is not an emergency then the employee must go to one of the employers designated treatment facilities. In Colorado the employer is required to provide the employee with a list of approved healthcare providers who can offer additional or ongoing treatment. The employee is allowed to choose one of the four to be the authorized treating physician for the injury. If the employee doesn’t like that physician or clinic they are allowed a one-time change in the first 90 days to another one of the four on the employers list.

If the injury results in missing three shifts or days from work the insurance company for the employer must, within 20 days of the missed third shift, notify the state of the injury.

Third-Party Claims

Although employees are barred in most cases from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer, they can potentially file a lawsuit against a third party. Third parties are those that do not work for the same employer, but still caused the accident that resulted in injury.

For example, a courier is driving a company truck while completing his route. Another driver, not associated with the company the courier works for, drives through a red light and smashes into the courier’s truck. The courier driver sustains serious injuries that leave him with high medical bills and an inability to return to work.

In this scenario, the courier could file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver who ran the red light and hit the courier truck. The employee would also still be getting  workers’ compensation benefits, and if there is a claim filed against the at fault third party the workers comp insurance company gets to join in and try to get repaid for the benefits that they have paid under workers comp.

Were You Hurt at Work? Contact a Colorado Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Although Colorado law provides that injured employees can apply for workers’ compensation insurance, actually getting these benefits is not always easy. A workers’ compensation attorney in Colorado can help ensure that all injured employees get the benefits to which they are entitled.

If you have been injured while on the job, contact Burg Simpson today at (303) 792-5595, or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation. We know the rights guaranteed to employees in Colorado, and we will use our knowledge and experience to get you the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.

 

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