In Colorado, employers are required to purchase insurance for their employees from a workers' compensation insurance carrier. When a worker is injured, his or her claim is filed with the insurance company, or self-insuring employer, who pays medical and disability benefits according to a state-approved formula.
What if my Employer Fails to Provide Worker's Compensation?
In Colorado, employers without workers' compensation insurance are subject to fines, criminal prosecution, and civil liability.
Some penalties include:
- Prosecution in criminal courts
- Personal liability of the employer for any workers' compensation benefits due injured workers
- Employees can take legal action in civil court to recover damages for their injuries from their employer
Your Employer's Responsibilities
In addition to providing worker's compensation coverage, your employer is also responsible for the following:
- Posting a notice of compliance with workers' compensation laws in a conspicuous place at each job site.
- Providing immediate emergency medical treatment for employees who sustain on-the-job injuries.
- Providing further medical attention if an injured worker is unable to select a doctor or advises the employer in writing of his or her desire not to do so.
- Completing a report of the injury and mailing it to the nearest workers' compensation board office. A copy of the report should also be mailed to the employer's insurance company. An employer who refuses or neglects to make an injury report may be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine.
- Making a written report of every accident resulting in personal injury that causes a loss of time from regular duties beyond the working day on which the accident occurred, or that requires medical treatment beyond first aid.
- Complying with all requests for further information regarding injured workers by the workers' compensation board or the insurance company, such as statements of the employee's earnings before and after the accident, reports of the date of the employee's return to work, or other reports that may be required to determine the employee's work status following the injury.
Employer's Duty Not to Retaliate
Although workers' compensation laws provide remedies to injured employees, they also protect employers, since they are designed to be the only remedy that injured employees may seek from their employers. Some employers, however, appear to frown on employees who file workers' compensation benefit claims, and some blatantly discriminate against such employees. Colorado law prohibits employers from discriminating against, harassing, or unjustly firing injured employees. If you're employer has discriminated against or unjustly terminated your employment as a result of your workers' compensation claim, you should contact a Colorado attorney immediately.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
Because of the complexity of the issues involved, the likelihood that your employer and his insurance company will do everything they can to keep you from getting compensation for your injuries, and because legal action in a civil court is often the only recourse against employers who fail to comply with Colorado workers' compensation laws or discriminate against employees who file workers' compensation claims, you should contact a Colorado attorney experienced in workers' compensation and personal injury today. Don't take on the insurance companies on your own! Consult a Colorado attorney today to get the fair compensation that you deserve.