With few exceptions, employers in Colorado are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which is supposed to aid their employees if they suffer work-related illness or injury. The state-mandated, no-fault program allows those hurt on the job to receive compensation without having to litigate their claims against their employers. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is similar to filing an accident claim with an insurance company; it’s a request for benefits, not a lawsuit.
Do you need a lawyer to handle a workers’ comp claim? You may not need legal representation if the injury was minor, involved little or no lost work time, and your employer and you agree that the injury or illness was work-related. But if the injuries are severe or the circumstances of the accident are complicated or disputed, a workers’ comp attorney can make a significant difference in how your case is handled and how it gets settled.
Here are six strong indicators that you should have your case evaluated by an experienced workers’ comp lawyer.
1. Your employer is disputing that the injury or illness is work-related:
Injuries are considered work-related if they arise from the normal course and scope of your employment. That covers more ground than you might realize — not just an industrial accident, for example, but injuries that develop over time, such as repetitive strain injury from scanning groceries or a respiratory disease resulting from long-term exposure to harmful chemicals. The injury doesn’t have to occur in the workplace to be considered work-related; it could be related to a traffic collision that occurred while you were on the road for your employer, or a fall that happened while you were working remotely from home, or something that happened in the break room. But some employers and their insurance companies will look for ways to argue that the incident doesn’t qualify for worker comp coverage.
2. Your claim has been denied or delayed without justification:
A number of pretexts can be used to deny your claim, including arguing that a pre-existing condition caused your injury (even when medical evidence indicates that the injury caused or aggravated the condition). Fortunately, if you are unhappy with the decision in a hearing held to determine some aspect of you claim, procedures exist to appeal the result. An experienced attorney can navigate you through the process and help you get the compensation and treatment you deserve.
3. You are being denied needed treatment or compensation for lost wages or medical bills:
Insurance companies often dispute the severity of the injury a claimant has suffered, or the need for costly treatments, by requiring the claimant to submit to an “independent medical exam” by a doctor selected by the company. You may need medical experts of your own to fight back and an attorney who knows how to gather the necessary evidence and testimony.
4. You are claiming a disability that prevents you from returning to work:
Cases involving partial or total disability can affect your financial future, your livelihood, and your family’s well-being. When the stakes are this high, you need qualified legal help to obtain the best possible settlement.
5. You are experiencing retaliation for filing a claim:
The workers’ comp process is supposed to be objective, but some claimants find they are ostracized by coworkers or supervisors for filing a claim—pressured into returning to work sooner than their doctors recommend, assigned to unpleasant tasks in an effort to get them to quit, or otherwise retaliated against. A lawyer can be an essential ally in the battle to protect your rights on the job.
6. The injury was caused by a third party:
If the circumstances of the injury or illness are complex, you may be placed in the position of taking legal action against someone other than your employer. For example, suppose a defective product or equipment contributed to the injury, or another driver caused the crash that interrupted a work trip and sent you to the hospital. Pursuing these claims will involve the civil court system and will require professional legal assistance.
THE WORKERS’ COMP ATTORNEYS AT FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates 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, Fort Collins, Thornton, Greeley, Grand Junction, 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 800-716-9032 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case with our experienced Colorado workers’ compensation attorneys.