Protecting the Rights of Injured Workers
Colorado enacted the Workers’ Compensation Act to set up a no-fault system to protect injured workers from the calamity of a work injury. The trade off for these benefits, is that so long as the employer has workers compensation insurance, it cannot be sued for personal injury damages.
The intent of the Workers’ Compensation Act is to provide medical and wage loss benefits quickly, without the necessity of litigation. The four basic benefits include medical care (without deductibles or co-pays), wage loss (paid at 2/3 the regular wages, but not taxable) permanency if the worker does not get back to 100%, and disfigurement for scars.
Ideally, medical care to treat the injury should occur as soon as possible, because delays in treatment may cause permanent impairment, particularly in the case of broken bones, brain injuries, or spine injuries, such as a herniated disc in the neck or back.
The majority of injuries (80%) are minor, involving with sprains, strains, lacerations, and simple fractures. So long as the injury and need for treatment is confirmed by the employer, a physician and a timely report from the employee, most of these claims are resolved without a fight.
However, the remaining injuries (20%) which are more serious, and may involve lost time from work or the need for surgery and rehabilitation, are contested, either at the beginning of the claim, or during the treatment of the injury, resulting in needless delay of treatment and wage replacement benefits.
In these more serious injuries, my experience has been that the denial rates for accepting the claim or authorizing necessary medical care is high, and that adjusters are rigorously trained to protect profits – sometimes at a tragic cost to the injured worker.
We can offer knowledgeable counsel to anyone seriously injured on the job, but one of the key strengths of our trial practice is taking decisive action when the denial or delay of a work comp claim is finally overruled.
Contact my firm to discuss challenges you are facing getting benefits, quality medical care and fair compensation.