COLORADO WORKERS COMPENSATION ATTORNEYS
Get The Compensation You Deserve
Our Objective Is To Help Our Clients Receive Complete And Timely Compensation For Their Injuries.
When you’ve been injured while on the job, it’s not always clear what your next step should be. Do you need a lawyer? If you file a workers compensation claim, is that going to complicate your relationship with your employer? And what happens if you’re unable to return to work for an extended period of time?
The “right” answers to those questions will vary, of course, depending on the individual situation. Many worker 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.
Here are the top indicators that your case may be headed for trouble — and that you should consult with a workers comp attorney before proceeding.
You are really, really hurt. The injury or illness is such that you’re facing substantial medical bills and/or time away from work. There may even be a possibility that you can’t return to work or do the same job. Cases involving partial or complete disability are likely to be strongly contested by your employer or their insurance carrier, which means you’ll need a skillful negotiator and strong medical evidence on your side.
Your employer denies that the injury is work-related. Some on-the-job injuries, such as an industrial accident, are straightforward and easily documented. Others, such as a repetitive strain injury or occupational disease, may occur over a long period of time, making it easier for employers to contest their origin. These cases can become a battle of medical experts, something no claimant should attempt to pursue on their own.
The case is complex. If you have a pre-existing condition that was aggravated by your injury, such as a back problem exacerbated by heavy lifting, your employer may attempt to blame your pain on that condition, not the injury. If the negligence of a third party contributed to the injury, such as a stranger who crashed into your vehicle while you were driving for work, that could also complicate your claim.
You believe your employer is retaliating against you for filing a claim. It’s not supposed to happen, but it does. Some claimants report being pressured to return to work, delays in payments for lost wages and medical bills, interference with medical care, failure to provide a timely choice of physicians from whom to seek treatment, and other issues.
The offered settlement isn’t large enough to cover your bills, or your claim was denied. For the most part, worker comp settlements are based on a rating system used by examining doctors — yours and the insurance company’s “independent” medical examiner. If you believe that the decision in a hearing held to determine some aspect of your claim is unfair, procedures exist for you to appeal the result. An attorney can help you navigate that process, with the aim of getting you the necessary compensation and treatment.
If you are experiencing any of these red-flag situations, it’s not a question of if but when you should be talking to an attorney — preferably as soon in the process as possible. Reporting the injury to your employer and seeking medical attention should be your first priority, but seeking professional legal advice should follow.