What to Do After a Work Injury in Colorado

Injured workers in Colorado have 2 requirements they must follow to report a work-related injury:

  1. The worker must report the injury in writing to their employer within 4 working days of the injury. If the injury occurred over 4 days ago, the worker should still provide their employer with a written notification as soon as possible. 
  2. The injured worker must file form WC15, Workers' Claim for Compensation, with the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation within 2 years of the injury. 

If you have been injured in a workplace accident you should do everything you can to meet both of these requirements. At Denver Car Accident Lawyers, we have experience working with workers who have difficulties meeting one or both of these requirements while filing a compensation claim and can help you understand your legal options in this situation. 

Dangerous conditions in the workplace can lead to catastrophic injuries which can leave you with questions regarding your rights as a sick or injured employee. Turn to one of our experienced workers' compensation lawyers in Colorado at Denver Car Accident Lawyers for answers to any questions you may have, or for legal representation in the pursuit of fair compensation. We will help you understand your legal options, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact us today for a free initial consultation. 

Notify Your Employer in Writing

An injured employee should always notify their employer in writing, rather than verbally, within 4 days of suffering a workplace injury. Your compensation claim may be processed without an issue if you verbally report your injury, but you leave yourself vulnerable to a number of negative consequences without submitting it in writing. 

Employers may be able to reduce the amount of compensation an injured worker is entitled to for each day past the 4-day reporting deadline that they do not receive written notice of the injury. Without a paper trail, it can also be difficult or even impossible to prove to a judge that your injury was reported within the necessary time or even reported at all. 

To prevent this, report your injury to your direct supervisor as soon as you are able to and ask your employer if they have internal accident reporting forms for reporting on-the-job injuries. Be proactive at this stage and don't bank on your supervisor taking the necessary steps to report your injury to human resources or their boss. You should start the workers' compensation process yourself to ensure it begins moving forward. 

What to Do After a Work Injury in Colorado

Be sure to submit a written notification of your injury to your supervisor even if they tell you it isn't necessary, and keep a copy for your own records. In the event that your supervisor refuses to accept your written notice, take the issue directly to your company's human resources department.

Follow this same process for filing an accident report form to your company if your supervisor doesn't direct you to fill one out. Remember that documenting the injury and the circumstances around it are in your best interest, be sure not to skip steps or allow anyone to dissuade you from taking following proper procedures for reporting your injury. 

If you are having trouble getting your employer to accept your injury notice or an internal accident, write a statement including the following:

  • Time and date the injury occurred
  • The circumstances surrounding and leading up to your injury
  • Where the accident occurred
  • The body parts affected by the injury

You do not need to make this a lengthy writeup, a short paragraph will suffice as long as you can provide specific details about the injury. Include the date you wrote the statement and keep a copy in your records, then ask your employer to include it in your personnel file. 

Notify the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation Within 2 Years

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you must file a claim with the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation within 2 years of the injury. Failing to do this could result in you losing your right to any workers' compensation benefits.

If is usually in your best interest to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney after reporting your injury to your employer, but before filing your claim with the state of Colorado.

Remember that even if your employer is working with you to provide medical treatment and benefits, you still must submit your claim to the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation. It is possible that your employer could deny your case if you fail to follow the proper steps, even if they have been offering you treatment costs and benefits during the 2-year window. 

You may be able to get the deadline for filing your claim extended for certain injuries or if you can prove you had a legitimate reason for not filing within the standard 2-year "statute of limitations". You should not rely on this however, try to file your claim as soon as possible to ensure that you continue receiving benefits for your injury if your case continues past the 2-year mark. 

What if My Injury Occurred Over Time?

Occupational injuries are injuries that aren't the result of a single traumatic incident but occur over time due to the requirements or conditions workers face. One of the most common occupational injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome, but many other medical conditions can arise due to work conditions. If the requirements of performing your job lead to a chronic condition that prevents you from fully performing your job as required, you have an occupational injury. 

Related: Contact an Experienced Denver Personal Injury Lawyer Today!

Colorado workers who suffer from an occupational disease or injury are entitled to the same benefits as workers who are injured in a specific accident and must meet the same reporting requirements. The 4-day requirement for reporting your injury to your employer begins when you first discover your occupational injury or should reasonably have been aware of the medical condition. 

What are the Requirements for My Employer?

Your employer is required to meet several obligations after you provide them with written notification of your injury. This primarily involves them providing you with at least 2 approved physicians or medical providers for you to choose from for treatment. They are permitted to provide this information to you verbally, but must also offer it to you in writing within 7 business days of receiving your injury notice. The designated provider list is required to include the name and contact information of at least one company representative or representative of their workers' compensation insurance carrier. 

If you receive life-threatening injuries in a workplace accident you should seek immediate emergency medical attention. When emergency care is no longer necessary, the above procedure will apply. 

With the exception of emergency treatment, you should be sure that you only see an approved medical care provider authorized by your employer on the designated provider list. Failing to visit an approved medical provider can result in your treatment being considered unauthorized by the employer, which can leave you financially responsible. 

What if I Don't Receive a Designated Provider List?

If you are not given a list of approved physicians, you are permitted to seek treatment from a physician or medical care provider on your own. The compensation process will be initiated with the workers' compensation provider once you file your claim with the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation. 

The state agency will submit a letter to your employer's insurer asking if they will admit to liability for your medical condition and pay for your benefits. The insurance company has 20 business days after they receive the letter to submit their reply. 

What Other Responsibilities Does My Employer Have?

Your employer must report your accident to their insurance provider or to the Division of Workers' Compensation after they receive the notification of your injury and provide you with the designated provider list. They are required to report the injury within 10 business days of receiving your injury notice. 

Their comp insurer will have 20 business days to accept or deny the claim after your employer has submitted it. Should they fail to respond, your workers' compensation process will be initiated by the claim you file with the Division of Workers' Compensation.

Your employer is also required to file a report with the Division of Workers' Compensation if your injury causes you to miss 3 or more shifts at work. 

What to Do After a Work Injury in Colorado

File Your Claim

You must file a Workers' Claim for Compensation form WC15 with the state of Colorado within 2 years of your injury. Be sure to file your claim even if your employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance, as you may qualify for benefits through the Colorado Uninsured Employer Fund. 

You may be eligible for a number of types of workers' compensation benefits. This can include compensation for lost wages or permanent impairment in addition to medical care costs. The type of benefits and their total value will depend on the weekly wage you received from the employer prior to your injury, your ability to resume your work responsibilities, and the severity of any permanent disability you may have received. 

You may request a hearing with the Office of Administrative Courts if you disagree with your employer's compensation insurers on the payment of benefits, costs, and coverage of medical treatment, or liability of your claim. You can receive help from the Prehearing and Settlement Conference Unit to settle issues prior to pursuing legal action. Our compensation lawyers at Denver Car Accident Lawyers can provide you with legal representation and fight for your rights if your claim ends up in court. 

FAQ: Should I accept the insurance company's settlement offer?

Work With an Experienced Colorado Injury Lawyer

If you have suffered workplace injuries, you could end up with costly treatment and medical expenses in addition to lost wages if you are unable to return to work. In these cases, you may need someone on your side to take legal action to get compensation for pain and injury, and lost wage benefits you may be entitled to.

Compensation law can be complicated, and our attorneys at Denver Car Accident Lawyers are ready to help you navigate your case. We have experience serving injured workers, and no matter how complicated the situation surrounding your injury, we are prepared to provide you with legal advice for your specific case, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for your rights in court if necessary. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation!

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