There are few things more frustrating in life than being hurt while at work. As employees, everyone expects to be able to earn a living in a safe and secure environment.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen that can require immediate medical attention, render a person unable to work for some time, or even have a permanent effect on a person’s ability to work in the future.
An Arvada workers’ compensation lawyer can work with you in an attempt to contest the findings of workers’ compensation insurance groups. Your skilled personal injury attorney can help you recover the damages you deserve.
Colorado Legislation Regarding Workers’ Compensation
The vast majority of employers in the State of Colorado are required to subscribe to some form of workers’ compensation insurance program.
This program is designed to pay injured workers’ medical bills, compensate them for lost time at work, and distribute money in event of a permanent injury. Sadly, many injured workers do not receive the compensation that they deserve.
Who Is Eligible for Benefits?
Workers’ compensation programs apply to any worker who is considered an employee. Further, the program covers all injuries that occur while at work, no matter who was at fault. The only exceptions to these rules are that the worker must have actually been on the clock and performing their work duties in a reasonable manner.
For example, a grocery clerk who strains their back while stocking shelves is certainly at work. However, this same employee may slip on ice in the parking lot while leaving for the night. This is not a workers’ compensation matter, but may be grounds for a premises liability case.
How Horseplay Can Affect an Insurance Claim
Workers may also be ineligible if they were engaging in horseplay at the time of the accident.
Returning to the example of the grocery clerk, if this person and another employee are tossing boxes at one another in a playful manner when one becomes injured, an insurance company may rightfully argue that they were engaging in horseplay, and not actually working.
What Responsibilities Do Employees Have?
Once a worker is injured, they must seek immediate medical treatment. They must also immediately notify their employer. This can be done verbally, but all injuries must be reported in writing no more than four working days after the injury.
Once this is done, an employer may refer the injured person to a doctor, selected by the employer, for treatment. If the employer has not designated a doctor, the worker may visit any provider they choose.
This doctor will not only treat the injuries but provide an opinion as to when a person may return to work and any permanent effects that the injury will have on their future ability to work. This information is then processed by the insurance company who makes the ultimate determination as to any benefits to be paid. An Arvada workers’ compensation lawyer can act a liaison, negotiating between the injured party and their insurance company.
What are the Potential Benefits?
In order for any benefits to be paid, a worker must miss at least three days at work. If the doctor decides that this time missed at work was due to the injury, payments will be issued at two-thirds the usual pay rate for any time missed.
In some situations, a worker may be cleared to return to work for limited duty. In these cases, payments will be issued at two-thirds of the difference between the normal wages and current wages.
For example, if a person normally makes $500 a week, but due to an injury, now makes $400 a week, the payments will be 2/3 of the $100 difference. This brings the total of wages and payments to $466.
Permanent Disabilities Resulting in Lump Payments
Some serious injuries may result in a permanent disability. If this disability affects a part of the body that still allows a person to perform some work, a lump payment is issued depending on which bodily function was lost. Examples of this include:
- Loss of function in an arm
- Loss of use of a leg
These payments are issued according to a schedule prescribed by law and can be found here. Still, other partial disabilities can result from a loss of mental function or paralysis. Here, the doctor’s opinion as to work abilities will be considered but in no event will payments exceed the average wages for 400 weeks of work. An Arvada workers’ compensation lawyer can help workers pursue those payments.
In the most serious cases, a worker is no longer able to work due to total loss of function or death. These situations require that the insurance company pay benefits for the lifetime of the worker, or for the expected work future in the case of a death.
Working With an Arvada Workers Compensation Attorney
When workers have been injured on the job, they have the right to be compensated. Sadly, insurance companies are in the business of making profits by denying claims. They may state that the injury was not caused while at work, or issue benefits that do not reflect the severity of the injury.
An Arvada workers’ compensation lawyer can help. They can represent you in negotiations with insurance companies.
If these negotiations fail, they can initiate the process to appeal the decision to the State’s Department of Labor and Employment. They can work you to get you the fair benefits that you deserve after being hurt while on the job. Contact an attorney today.