Injuries at work will happen, particularly in jobs involving manual labor. You should report any injury you have to your employer in writing, whether the injury is minor or major. In particular, any injury to your head, neck, back, shoulder, or knees may not resolve in a few days, but lead to missed work or extended medical care. This is what you need to do if you are injured at work?
- Notify your supervisor in writing of your work injury. In Colorado, you are required to report all work injuries in writing within four days. If you do not do this, you could forfeit benefits and may have a disputed claim. It can lead to your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company questioning whether the injury actually happened at work. You can easily report your injury in writing by filling out a formal report of injury or even by handwriting a letter. Make sure to state when, where, and how the injury occurred, including all body parts that might have been injured in the accident, not just the most injured body parts. If you have an injured neck, elbow, hand, and knee, list each one, including whether it is on the left or right side. That “minor” neck problem may actually be a herniated disc. If it is a Friday and you will be off during the weekend, do not wait to report it on Monday, report it before you leave work because insurance companies often deny claims not reported until after days off.
- Use the employer’s designated medical providers. When you report the injury, ask that your employer provide you with their designated medical providers. Your employer should provide you with four medical facilities where you can schedule a medical appointment to evaluate and treat your workers’ compensation injury. It is your option between the four medical facilities. You may want to call an attorney at this point as they will be more familiar with these medical providers and whether they appear to be unbiased and willing to provide competent care, including referrals to specialists when needed. If it is an emergency, ask that you be taken immediately to an urgent care provider or the closest emergency room for treatment. You should also read our BLOG on the first medical appointment.
- File a claim for compensation with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. You should get your claim on file with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This will make sure that the Division is aware of your claim and that the insurance company is notified of your injury. You can reach the Division of Workers’ Compensation by calling them at (303) 318–8700 or by this link.
- Make sure you get the benefits you deserve. Workers’ compensation is an area of law that is heavily based upon the laws enacted by the state legislature. These laws do not always appear to be based on common sense or practicality. The legislature, in the past, has been influenced by the insurance company lobbyists. The laws have built-in caps on benefits, time limits to take certain action, and many other statutory schemes that benefit employers and insurance companies. Frankly, the law is not always on the injured worker’s side.
Even if you think your employer is fair and everything is going fine, you should get advice from an experienced attorney on whether you are getting all the benefits the law providers. For instance, you may not be getting the medical care you need, the full wage loss benefits to which you are entitled, or the permanent disability settlement offer you deserve. You could learn that you are entitled to: ongoing medical care; your wage loss benefits were too low because the value of your overtime, bonuses, health insurance or room and board were not included in your average weekly wage; or that the company doctor’s permanent impairment rating was too low. These issues can make your temporary disability and permanent disability proposal far too low. For example, the difference in the value of your workers’ compensation benefits could be increased by $10,000 or much more.
- Call a workers’ compensation attorney. We at Killian, Davis, Richter & Kraniak, PC, would be glad to talk to you about your work-related injury. We provide free consultations. We can tell you how to determine if you have been treated fairly and, if not, what can be done to make sure you get the benefits the law provides.