Denver Workers’ Compensation Attorney
A workplace injury can throw a wrench into a person’s life. Not only can it cause physical pain, it may force a worker to take time off of work to recover, resulting in emotional and financial stress. Some workplace injuries can leave a worker permanently disabled and unable to return to work at all.
Under Colorado law, workers’ compensation insurance protects workers against the financial consequences of workplace injuries, so long as the workers report their injury within four days and seek immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, even when workers follow the workers’ compensation rules, insurance companies sometimes unfairly deny claims or refuse to pay benefits owed to the injured worker.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can guide an injured worker through the process of filing a claim with a workers’ compensation insurance carrier, and can advocate for the worker if the insurer denies part or all of the claim. A workers’ compensation attorney can also advise a client about whether the client has rights to additional compensation from third parties for damages and expenses not necessarily covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
To speak with a skilled and compassionate workers’ compensation attorney in Denver who knows how to protect injured workers rights and get them the benefits they deserve, call the Tenge Law Firm, LLC at (303) 665-2929 today. The initial consultation is always free.
Some Common Workplace Injuries
According to data reported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the public administration, transportation, and agriculture and forestry industries topped the rankings of rates of lost time claims between 2004 and 2013. Common workers’ compensation injuries might include:
- Head traumas, some of which result in traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Deep lacerations
- Electrocution injuries
- Burn injuries
- Carpal tunnel and other injuries from repetitive use
Does Fault Matter in a Workplace Injury?
It depends. The decision of whether and how much an insurer will pay in benefits on a workers’ compensation insurance claim does not take fault into account. Workers’ comp is a government-regulated insurance system that most employers are required to purchase, and that covers all workplace injuries sustained in the course of the worker’s employment. When you file a workers’ compensation claim and it is approved, your benefits typically include medical expenses, two-thirds of your average weekly wage, and travel expenses to and from the doctor. Even if your employer has not purchased workers’ compensation insurance, Colorado’s Uninsured Employer Act of 2017 provides financial assistance to employees of companies who have failed to purchase coverage.
While the issue of fault doesn’t typically figure into the workers’ compensation insurance analysis, it still may matter, however. In some situations, a workplace injury may also trigger a legal right to seek compensation from a third party who was at fault for the injury or made the workers’ situation worse. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help an injured worker evaluate when that has occurred, but some examples might include cases where:
- An employer retaliates against an employee filing a workers’ compensation claim
- A defective product, such as machinery or chemicals, caused the injury
- The injury occurred at a job site owned by someone other than the employer
Benefits and Damages
When workers’ compensation insurance accepts an injured workers’ claim, the workers’ medical bills for reasonable and necessary care should be paid directly by the insurance company to the medical provider. Workers’ compensation benefits paid directly to the worker, in contrast, include two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly salary, but not more than $948.15 for temporary benefits. In the event of a permanent disability, which means the loss of functional use of a body part or amputation, a worker will receive a flat amount that the state determines each year—$307.26 as of July 2018. Permanent disability benefits are not for life; instead, the amount of time that a worker might receive permanent disability benefits depends on which body part was injured. The following list ranks injuries based on the time of allotted benefits:
- 35 weeks of benefits for total hearing loss in one ear
- 104 weeks of benefits for the hand, the foot, or total blindness in one eye
- 139 weeks of benefits for total hearing loss in both ears
- 208 weeks of benefits for paralyzed or amputated arm at the shoulder or leg at the hip joint
In the event that the worker’s entire body is impaired, Colorado uses a formula that includes age and the severity of the impairment to determine the length of time for benefits. Injured workers will receive two-thirds of their weekly salary, but not more than $542.78 as of July 2018.
In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, as noted above, the circumstances of the worker’s injury may entitle the worker to compensation from a third party. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help the worker seek to recover that compensation through a demand and, potentially, a lawsuit. Damages potentially recoverable from third parties can include:
- Medical expenses that aren’t covered by workers’ compensation insurance
- Lost wages and benefits that aren’t covered by workers’ compensation insurance
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Talk With a Skilled Workers’ Compensation Attorney As Soon as Possible
Employers and insurance companies are watching their bottom line, so they may try to find a reason to deny your claim or reduce your benefits for a workplace injury, such as by claiming you had a preexisting condition or arguing your injury didn’t take place in the course of your job duties. The sooner you contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, the better your chances of avoiding making a misstatement or admission that could reduce your benefits.
Similarly, in the event the circumstances of your workplace injury entitle you to seek compensation from a third party through a civil lawsuit, it can be important to have an experienced attorney on your side from the outset. As noted above, who was “at fault” for an injury can be important in these cases, particularly because in Colorado a plaintiff cannot recover damages when he was more than 50 percent at fault for his own injury.
Contact a Skilled Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Denver
If you have been injured on the job and your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or you aren’t receiving the benefits that you deserve, email the Tenge Law Firm, LLC in Denver or call us at (303) 665-2929 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys.
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