Fort Collins: Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Following a workplace injury, Fort Collins workers need protection and support to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve. Colorado’s workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect workers when they need it most. Work with a Fort Collins workers’ compensation lawyer to understand the ins and outs of Colorado’s workers’ compensation laws and how they apply to your workplace injury.
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What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation is insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill while on the job. Benefits help to cover costs including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing care
- Legal fees (for the employee)
Workers’ compensation protects both employees and employers. If an accident occurs, employees can get the benefits they need, and employers are shielded from any potential lawsuits related to a workplace injury.
In Colorado, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. An employee is entitled to benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury. This system encourages timely and fair compensation.
Colorado’s workers’ compensation laws
Under state law, all businesses that have employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Employers in the construction industry also have to adhere to additional rules and regulations regarding workers’ compensation.
There are exceptions to Colorado’s workers’ compensation laws that can exist under the following circumstances:
- Maintenance or repair workers who earn less than $2,000 a year
- Private domestic workers who are not working full-time
- Private domestic maintenance or repair workers who are not working full-time
- Real estate agents and brokers who are paid by commission
- Independent contractors who do not have any employees
- Drivers working with a contract carrier
What does workers’ compensation insurance cover?
Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect a worker when they succumb to an injury or illness while on the job. Injuries sustained can typically be broken into four categories:
- Workplace accidents: Accidents that happen on the job can result in minor to serious injury. These can result from falls, equipment malfunctions, vehicle accidents, electrocutions, and other accidents.
- Repetitive stress injuries: Conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis can develop over time due to repetitive motions or overexertion. Repeated motions can put workers at higher risk of injury.
- Occupational illnesses: Some occupations are inherently more dangerous than others. Health conditions such as lung diseases or skin disorders can result from exposure to hazardous substances or conditions in the workplace.
- Aggravation of preexisting conditions: If an employee has a preexisting medical condition that is worsened due to work-related activities, they may be able to seek coverage under workers’ comp
Coverage can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case, your workplace, and the type of injury you’ve sustained. It’s essential to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure you receive all the benefits you deserve.
How to file for workers’ compensation in Colorado
Failing to adhere to timelines and deadlines can cause you to miss out on the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured on the job, it’s important to act quickly if you plan to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Report the injury
You must report the injury to your employer in writing within four days of the accident. Even if the four-day deadline has passed, you should still report the accident. The longer you wait to report the injury, the harder it becomes to determine whether your injuries are related to an accident sustained at work. When reporting your injury, you will need to fill out an accident report form that will ask you specifics about how your injury happened, what body parts were injured, and more.
Seek medical attention
You must seek medical attention for your injuries. This allows you to further strengthen your case that the workplace accident is what caused the injuries. Your employer should provide you with a list of designated providers you can work with.
Keep up with your appointments
Do not deviate from the medical advice your healthcare provider gives you. Keep up with appointments, follow through with treatment, and keep a record of your medical care and invoices associated with your recovery.
File a workers’ compensation claim
Under Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation Act, to be eligible for benefits, you must file a workers’ claim for compensation with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Colorado law requires you to file your claim within two years of your injury. Despite this window of time, you should file your claim as quickly as possible to recover the compensation you deserve in a timely manner.
Employees who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents have the right to seek workers’ compensation, regardless of immigration status. When filing a claim, you will not be asked about your immigration status.
While all Colorado employers are required to carry workers’ compensation, not all employers follow the law. When this happens, employees are still encouraged to file a workers’ compensation claim. Colorado’s Division of Workers’ Compensation offers a Colorado uninsured employer (CUE) fund. This fund provides financial assistance for individuals injured on the job of an employer that does not carry the required coverage.
To tap into this fund, injured workers must first file a workers’ claim for compensation. After attending a hearing and being granted compensation benefits, workers can apply for the CUE fund.
What is a workers’ compensation lawyer?
A workers’ compensation lawyer’s primary goal is to secure the maximum benefits and compensation for their clients while alleviating the stress associated with the claims process.
These legal professionals are well-versed in state laws and regulations governing workers’ compensation. They will serve as an advocate for injured individuals, ensuring their rights are protected, and will guide workers through the intricate legal procedures.
Do I need a workers’ compensation lawyer?
It’s possible to navigate the workers’ compensation process on your own, especially if your injury is straightforward, and your employer is helpful with the claims filing process. However, enlisting the help of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can greatly benefit your case under certain circumstances:
If your claim involves disputed liability, pre-existing conditions, or complex medical issues, your employer or employer’s insurer may dispute your claim. If your claim is disputed, you have the right to appeal the verdict, which may feel overwhelming or confusing.
A workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the process so that your best interests are represented. An experienced attorney will collect evidence on your behalf, and help you build a robust case overall.
If your claim has been denied or if you’re not receiving the benefits you believe you deserve, a lawyer can help you appeal the decision and fight for your rights. The appeals process requires claimants to adhere to strict deadlines to start and move the appeals process along. A workers’ compensation lawyer ensures you adhere to these deadlines and that you have the evidence you need when presenting your case.
In cases involving severe injuries, permanent disabilities, or wrongful death, having legal representation ensures that you receive the full extent of benefits to which you are entitled.
Some accidents can result in major injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputation. These are life-changing, may require constant medical care, and will often have mounting medical costs.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help determine if additional legal action is necessary and can help establish negligence against responsible parties.
If you fear retaliation from your employer for filing a workers’ compensation claim, an attorney can protect your rights and help prevent adverse actions. Employers are not allowed to demote, discipline, or fire you, or retaliate against you in any way because you have filed a workers’ comp claim.
When you work with an experienced Fort Collins attorney, you’ll have a legal expert who will assist you with the following:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim that includes all necessary details
- Helping you apply for all the benefits you deserve
- Determining if you’re being compensated fairly
- Helping you navigate the steps involved in a claim
- Filing appeals and requesting hearings
- Evaluating other types of compensation and whether additional legal action may be appropriate
When should I hire a lawyer?
If you decide to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer, you should do so immediately after the accident. At Bachus & Schanker, we offer free case consultations so you can understand how our team will serve you. Understanding the support a legal expert can provide will help you better plan how to move forward with your claim.
Fort Collins workers’ compensation lawyer near me
If you have been the victim of a workplace accident and are unsure how to proceed, turn to the experts at Bachus & Schanker. Our team can help you file a workers’ comp claim, build a robust case, and provide legal representation if you need to appeal.
Colorado Uninsured Employer Fund. (2023).
Colorado’s Workers Compensation Act. (2023).
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Written and Legally Reviewed By: Kyle Bachus
4.6 ★★★★★ 1,461 Google Reviews
Kyle is a member of the Colorado and Florida Bar associations and has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for more than twenty years in total. Over the years, Kyle has achieved justice for many clients. He has served on numerous committees and repeatedly won recognition from his peers at both the state and national level. He is proud of the role he has played in the passage of state and national legislation to protect consumers and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer.