With few exceptions, employers in Colorado are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which is supposed to aid their employees if they suffer a work-related injury. But if you’re like most employees, you probably have little information about the kind of insurance your company has or what it covers.
What is a work-related injury? The term actually covers more types of mishaps than you may think. According to the U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an injury or illness is considered work-related “if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.” But for purposes of workers’ comp cases, the definition is actually much simpler — and broader. Injuries are considered work-related if they arise from the normal course and scope of your employment.
Many work-related injuries are associated with industrial accidents — a broken arm from a fall or operating heavy machinery, for example. But the injury may not be identified with a single incident. It may develop over time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or some other form of repetitive strain injury from scanning groceries, or a respiratory disease resulting from long-term exposure to harmful chemicals in a manufacturing plant.
The injury doesn’t have to occur in the workplace in order to be work-related. If you’re on the road a lot for your job, injuries stemming from a traffic accident may be covered by worker’s comp, provided that you were doing something connected with your job at the time of the incident. If you attended a company party at a restaurant and ended up with food poisoning, that may also be considered work-related—although the same meal, consumed with coworkers who happened to get together after work, might not be because it’s not part of an official work function. An injury that occurs while meeting with clients, or while on break in the company cafeteria, or an old back injury aggravated by lifting too many boxes in the supply room — as long as they were sustained in the course of employment, they are probably all deemed work-related.
There are exceptions, of course. Employees who were injured because they deliberately disregarded workplace safety rules, got drunk, or engaged in “horseplay” may not qualify for workers’ comp coverage.
DO I NEED TO HIRE A WORKERS’ COMP ATTORNEY?
Many workers’ comp claims are filed with no attorney involved. 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, an experienced workers’ comp attorney can make a significant difference in how your case is handled and how it gets settled.
THE WORKERS’ COMP 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, Fort Collins, Thornton, 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 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.