If you are a Colorado resident and were injured on the job, there are a few important things to do as you begin the recovery process. The following is a brief summary of the initial steps you need to take, in addition to some answers to the more commonly asked workplace injury questions.
If you get hurt on the job, you should take the following steps immediately:
1) Get first aid and seek medical attention if necessary.
2) Provide written notice of your injury to your employer. You must do this with in four days of being injured. Your employer's insurance company then has 20 days to decide whether or not to admit your claim for worker's compensation.
Your employer must provide you with the names of two doctors to see about your injury. If your employer fails to do so, there are remedies an attorney can pursue. You may request a different doctor within 90 days after your injury. If you are approaching 90 days it's critical that you contact an attorney to see if you have other options.
Click Here to see the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment's Division of Workers Compensation's rules and procedures for filing a workers compensation claim.
Q: Why can't I choose my own doctor?
A: Your employer's insurance company doesn't want you or your attorney picking a doctor for your treatment. They want to keep control of the choice of physicians. By offering treatment they can still deny your claim for workman's comp, or say that it's "under investigation."
Your employer is obligated to provide you with options for your treatment if you're injured on the job. An attorney can tell if the doctor your employer's insurance company has chosen for you is giving you proper care, or if they're simply trying to get your worker's compensation claim concluded as quickly as possible. An attorney knows how and when to get another physician involved if it becomes necessary.
Q: What is MMI?
A: MMI stands for Maximum Medical Improvement. It generally means that the authorized treating doctor has determined that there is no further treatment that can make you any better. This doesn't mean that you have completely recovered from your injury, although you may have done so. You could still be in need of treatment or medication and be considered at MMI.
When your doctor determines that you have reached MMI he will notify your employer's insurance carrier, who is now no longer obligated to pay you temporary total disability (TTD). He will also determine if you have a permanent disability (PPD).
Q: If I'm injured at work, do I need an attorney?
A: Your employer's insurance company does not want you to hire an attorney. They know that cases where the claimant for worker's compensation has an attorney cost them more than cases where the claimant doesn't have an attorney. An attorney experienced in worker's compensation claims knows when the insurance company is not paying the benefits they owe you and knows when and how to ask for them. They know how to proceed when the insurance company gives you a doctor that is not giving you the treatment you're entitled to, or how to proceed when your case is close to reaching MMI. An experienced attorney knows how to protect your rights
Remember, your employer's insurance company will work hard to pay the least benefits possible, so it's important that you do everything you can to protect your rights. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney - don't take on the insurance companies by yourself!
For more information about worker's compensation and Colorado attorneys specializing in worker's compensation claims, view here.