According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 4 million people suffer workplace injuries each year. In Colorado alone, there were more than 30,000 work-related accidents reported last year. With injuries ranging from minor to permanently disabling, the U.S. workplace can be a very hazardous place.
When a worker is injured on the job in Colorado, he or she is entitled to benefits through Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation program. However, the amount of coverage or benefits an injured worker receives will depend entirely on the employee’s compliance with various state statutes, regulations and procedural requirements governing these types of claims.
Reporting Your Injury to Your Employer
To begin any Workers’ Compensation claim, the injured employee must report the accident to his or her employer. This report must be in writing and provided to the employer within four working days of the injury. Sometimes the employer has a written notice form available, but often times not.
Either way, the employee is responsible for submitting the notice, and must do so quickly. If the injured employee fails to meet the four-day deadline, the employer’s insurance company can seek to reduce the benefits paid for each day that passes after the four days.
The written notice need not be lengthy, but at a minimum it must include the following information:
- How the injury occurred
- When the injury occurred
- Where the injury occurred
- What injuries were sustained
Filing a Claim with the Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation (DOWC)
Once the written notice is provided to the employer, the injured worker should also file a claim with the Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation within two years of the date of the injury. While filing such a claim is not mandatory, it is highly recommended in order to protect the worker’s legal rights down the road, including relief from the two-year statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims in Colorado.
While some workplace injury cases are resolved without the need for lawsuits, many times there is a dispute between the employee and employer’s insurance company over the extent or permanency of the injury. In those situations, legal action may be necessary to preserve the worker’s rights. By filing a claim with the DOWC within two years of the accident, the worker can avoid having his or her claim dismissed due to expiration of the statute of limitations.
For an injured worker who is already dealing with the stress and recovery from the workplace accident or illness, it can be especially challenging to comply with the stringent requirements of Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation program. When workplace accidents occur, it is important to seek advice from an experienced Colorado Workers’ Compensation Attorney who can explain and protect your rights and responsibilities.
McDivitt Law Firm has helped hundreds of injured Colorado workers collect compensation for injuries and illnesses sustained on the job. If you find yourself in this situation, contact McDivitt Law Firm for a FREE consultation.