Getting injured on the job, especially if you work in a high-risk industry (like construction or oil exploration), can have life-changing consequences and one should be well aware of their rights to workers’ compensation. Luckily, in Colorado, the law favors the worker rather than the employer, but there are still many factors which you should keep in mind when it comes to workers’ compensation claims.
What am I entitled to if I get injured on the job?
There are three basic types of workers compensation guaranteed to workers under Colorado’s laws. The first is medical benefits, which includes coverage of all medical expenses related to the injury from hospitalization to physical therapy and consultation with doctors.
Then there are wage-loss benefits, which basically covers the time that you’ve been unable to work due to the injury. Wage-loss benefits typically amount to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage. Keep in mind that there is a cap on the maximum amount for wage-loss benefits.
Finally, there are disability benefits. This is compensation received for any permanent disability or disfigurement that, God forbid, someone can suffer as a result of the injury they have sustained on the job.
There’s nothing stopping you from quitting your job, but you should know it will have an impact on your claim. Your medical benefits will remain unaffected, as quitting the job AFTER the injury should have no bearing on medical needs relating to an injury sustained while still in employment.
However, your wage-loss benefits could be affected, as you wouldn’t be necessarily losing any wages if you’ve quit on your accord. Again, it does depend on the circumstances around you leaving and a number of other factors.
Again, God forbid, if anyone suffers permanent disability or disfigurement as a result of the injury, then disability benefits would also remain unaffected regardless of whether you continue your employment or not.
Should I hire a lawyer?
While the American legal system allows its subjects to represent themselves in court, it’s not always the best idea to go that route. Workers’ compensation claims are tricky and involve numerous complexities. Not only do you need to prove a list of requirements prescribed by law, but you also need to stay in constant touch with the court, your employer, the district offices, the hospital, and anyone who is related to the claim and proving it.
A workers’ compensation lawyer would already be aware of the legal requirements and can advise you on whether you have a valid claim. They can also advise you if filing a lawsuit is a good option or some other legal remedy would yield better results. Moreover, lawyers have numerous contacts that they have built up over the years, allowing them to coordinate activities with the court and the district office with little effort.
It’s understandable that lawyers cost a significant amount of money and one needs to be smart with their finances, especially if they’re just been injured and the prospects of work seem bleak. Luckily, workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis, so you won’t be paying any money upfront. It’ll also give the lawyer a bit more motivation to get you the best possible claim as that means a bigger payout for them.