After sustaining a workplace injury, Colorado’s workers’ compensation claim process may seem intimidating. With many special rules and regulations, Colorado workers’ compensation law is unique, although the end-goal is the same: ensuring that workers’ health, rights, and livelihood are protected when an injury happens at work.
We have put together this post in hopes that it will educate readers on how to navigate the workers’ comp claim process here in Colorado:
First Thing’s First: If Necessary, Seek Emergency Care
Before the claim process even starts, the most important thing is ensuring that your injuries are treated quickly. If necessary, head to the nearest hospital immediately. Injuries that need to be looked at in the emergency room include:
- Broken bones, dislocations, or sprains
- Deep cuts or severe burns
- Head injuries, concussions, or loss of consciousness
- Eye injuries
- Chest pains or breathing difficulties
Once your injuries have been tended to, or if you don’t need emergency treatment, then you can move to the next steps.
Starting the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process
Good evidence gathering is vital in workers’ compensation claims. Having a clear picture of exactly what happened, and how, can mean the difference between having your claim accepted or denied. Evidence that can be used to support your claim includes:
- Pictures of your injuries and the scene
- Eye-witness testimonies
- Video recordings from security cameras
- Timestamps that show you were on the clock at the time of the incident
- Maintenance reports of equipment or tools (if any were involved in the incident)
If a lot of blood is involved, make sure to take pictures of your injuries after you have been cleaned up at the hospital, as well. This will make sure that you get better pictures of the actual wounds. Remember to keep copies of any evidence for your records.
Report the Injury
After a workplace injury, you have four business days to give written notice to your employer. Even if the injury took place more than four days ago, it’s extremely important to give the employer written notice. Without written notice, there is no documented proof that a workplace injury took place at all, which certainly makes the claims process more difficult.
Get Medical Treatment
After receiving written notice of a workplace injury, your employer has seven business days to provide you with a list of doctors you can see for your injuries. The doctor you choose (known as the Authorized Treating Physician) may refer you to other doctors or specialists, but they are the head doctor on your recovery team.
Colorado Occupational Medical Partners are experts in the fields of workplace injury treatment, rehabilitative therapy, and occupational medicine. Our specialists strive to help patients recover from their injuries and ensure they return to work quickly and safely. Our mission is to guide patients to their highest level of function by delivering the highest quality clinical care.
File a Claim
After the employer has been given written notice, a Workers’ Claim for Compensation form (WC 15) must be filed directly to the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). Even though you have up to two years from the date of your injury to file a claim, it’s best to file as quickly as possible. Two copies must be mailed or delivered to:
Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation
Customer Service Unit
633 17th Street, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80202-3626
At Colorado Occupational Medical Partners, we take great pride in our knowledge of Colorado’s workers’ compensation laws and regulations. Our staff is well-versed in handling claims and insurance paperwork; leaving one less thing on the patient’s plate allows them to focus more on their recovery and achieving the best possible results.
After Your Claim Has Been Filed
If your injury prevents you from working for more than three days, the insurance company has 20 days to notify you about your claim status. You may also be eligible for lost wage benefits, equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage (up to a max of $810 per week).
An Admission of Liability means that the insurer will pay for your claim, while a Notice of Contest means that they have denied your claim, or are still investigating it. They may even file a partial admission (e.g. they may pay for your medical expenses, but not any lost wages).
If your claim has a partial admission or has been denied, you can file for a hearing with the Office of Administrative Courts. A judge will examine the case, including all evidence, documents, and testimony before rendering a decision (this is one reason why gathering good evidence is so important!)
After your medical treatment has ended, a Final Admission of Liability will be issued. This notifies all parties that your treatment has ended, discloses whether or not you have any impairments, what benefits have been paid so far, and whether you require any additional medical treatment. If you disagree with any part of the Final Admission, it’s vital that you file an objection within 30 days of receiving the admission.
At Colorado Occupational Medical Partners, our mission is to deliver the highest quality of occupational health care and physical rehabilitation to return patients to their highest level of function. Our team is dedicated to employers and patients, and we strive to develop strong, positive relationships with a culture based on safety, transparency, empathy, and trust. To find out more, find our location nearest to you.
Let Colorado Occupational Medical Partners be your source for occupational therapies and care in Colorado.