What is Worker's Compensation?
Workers' compensation is a state-mandated program that provides compensation to employees who suffer injuries and illnesses on the job. It acts a safety net for employees. In Colorado, businesses must have workers' compensation insurance to cover employee injuries. Workers' compensation laws are designed to ensure that employees who are injured on the job receive fixed monetary compensation, without having to litigate their claims against their employers. Thus, filing a workers' compensation claim is similar to filing an insurance claim; it isn't a lawsuit against an employer, but rather a request for benefits.
Does it Matter who is at Fault in a Colorado Worker's Compensation Claim?
Workers' compensation is a no-fault system, where an injured worker's own negligence, or the negligence of his or her employer or co-workers, is not at issue. Instead, the employee is covered for all work related injuries, regardless of who was responsible for the injury. The employer's workers compensation insurance simply compensates the employee for his or her workman's comp claim. This also means that the employee is generally not eligible to take legal action against his or her employer for injuries sustained on the job. In Colorado, workers' compensation is considered a substitute for a lawsuit against an employer. In exchange for not suing the employer in court, an employee who is injured at work is entitled to workers' compensation benefits
Many workers' compensation claimants are still eligible to take legal action if their injuries were caused by some one other than their employer. For instance, employees injured by a defective product or equipment while on the job can take legal action against the manufacturer of the product or piece of equipment. This action takes place within the civil court system, rather than through the worker's compensation system.
However: if a claimant for worker's compensation does win monetary compensation in a civil court from a third party, the claimant's employer and his employer's insurance company are eligible to recover some or all of any worker's compensation paid to the claimant.
What Types of Injuries are Covered by Worker's Compensation in Colorado?
Here are some types of injuries covered by worker's compensation:
- Pre-existing conditions that the workplace accelerates or aggravates.
- Diseases contracted by exposure to toxins at work as a result of normal working conditions.
- Injuries resulting from mental and physical strain brought on by increased work duties or work-related stress.
- Injuries caused during breaks, lunch hours, and work-sponsored activities, and at-work injuries caused by company facilities.
Some types of injuries may not be covered by workers' compensation, such as injuries that result from horseplay, intoxication, or are deliberately caused by the employee.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
Due to the rigid procedural requirements of filing a worker's compensation claim and the probability that your employer's insurance company will not pay the benefits they owe you, you should contact a Colorado attorney experienced in personal injury and workers' compensation if you are injured at work in Colorado. Additionally, if you are unhappy with the decision in a hearing that was held to determine some aspect of your workers' compensation claim, procedures exist for you to appeal the unfavorable result. An attorney can navigate you through this process and get you the compensation and treatment that you deserve. Don't take on the insurance companies alone: contact a Colorado attorney experienced in worker's compensation today.
For more information concerning worker's compensation in Colorado, click here to visit the worker's compensation section of the Colorado Department of Labor.
The Worker's Compensation Attorneys at FDAzar
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates, P.C., have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Greenwood Village, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the workers compensation attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 720-372-2824 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case with our experienced Colorado workers compensation attorneys.