What Is Workers Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides medical care and wage benefits to people who become injured or ill at work. In Colorado, employers are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance in case an employee suffers work-related injuries or illnesses regardless of fault. In return for this coverage, employees give up the right to file a lawsuit against the employer.
The main benefits provided under Colorado workers’ compensation laws are:
- Health care expenses
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability
- Death benefits
At Colorado Occupational Medical Partners, we pride ourselves in our expertise of workplace injury care and occupational medicine. We provide comprehensive occupational health treatments and physical rehabilitation by using the best methods and equipment available to help our patients get back to functioning (and working) as safely and quickly as possible. We strive to make the entire process of a workers’ compensation claim easier for both employees and employers because we understand Colorado’s unique laws and regulations.
The Colorado Workers’ Compensation Process
Seek Emergency Care If Necessary
In the event of serious injury or emergency, get medical treatment at the nearest hospital immediately. Symptoms the are best treated at the emergency room include:
- Head or eye injuries
- Broken bones
- Dislocated joints
- Severe cuts
- Serious burns
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulties
Gather Evidence of the Incident
Evidence is a vital part of any worker’s compensation claim. Collecting evidence will make sure that there are no unanswered questions or conflicting accounts about what happened. Types of evidence include:
- Pictures of your injuries and the scene
- Witness reports
- Timestamps/reports showing that you were clocked in at the time
- Maintenance reports of equipment or tools (if any were involved in the incident)
- Video recordings from security cameras
Notify Your Employer In Writing
If you are injured on the job, you must submit a written notice within four working days of your injury to be eligible for maximum benefits. If you were injured more than four days before, you should still provide written notice to your employer as soon as possible.
Seek Medical Treatment
Your employer must provide you with a Designated Provider List of up to four doctors or clinics. The doctor you choose from this list is the Authorized Treating Physician (ATP). If your employer does not provide a list within seven business days of you notifying them about your injury, you may choose your own doctor.
Your ATP may refer you to other doctors or specialists, but they will still review and be responsible for your overall treatment process. You should try to schedule your doctor’s appointments at a time that works best for you and your employer. If you miss time from work for your appointments, you can submit those hours to the claims adjuster and you may be entitled to lost wages for them.
File a Claim
After you notify your employer of your injury you should also file a Workers’ Claim for Compensation form (WC 15) directly to the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). This form may protect some of your rights. You have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim, but you should file your claim as soon as possible. Make sure to read and follow all instructions carefully. Once you have completed the form, mail or deliver two copies to:
- Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation
- Customer Service Unit
- 633 17th Street, Suite 400
- Denver, CO 80202-3626
If your claim has not been denied, you shouldn’t receive any medical bills from any doctors. If you do, immediately send the bills and your claim number to the adjuster. If you receive a Notice of Contest from the insurer, it means that they have not accepted liability for your claim until further investigation. If you run into issues, contact the adjuster to determine if your claim is being denied or if they have not finished their investigation into your claim.
If your claim is denied, you will be responsible for all medical bills associated with your injury. Your private health insurance company may cover the medical costs. If you intend to pursue your claim further, you should advise your doctor that the claim is work-related but under dispute. You can also file an Application for Hearing or Application for Expedited Hearing with the Office of Administrative Courts (forms are available on their official website).
The Final Admission
A Final Admission of Liability (WC 4) tells all parties that your active treatment has ended, notifies them if you have any impairment, what has been paid so far, and whether you require any other medical treatment.
If you disagree with any part of the Final Admission, you must use the objection section of the WC 4 to file an objection within 30 days of receiving the admission. You can also request a Division Independent Medical Examination (DIME) or file an Application of Hearing within 30 days of receiving the Final Admission.
***REMEMBER TO KEEP COPIES OF ALL DOCUMENTS RELATED TO YOUR CLAIM***
Colorado Occupational Medical Partners is Here For You
At Colorado Occupational Medical Partners, we know the ins and outs of Colorado Workers’ Compensation cases. Our experienced team of doctors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and chiropractors have combined their respective experience to provide excellent injury care and physical therapy.
Because of our experience with Colorado workers’ compensation laws and regulations, we can assist with paperwork, insurers, lawyers, and everything else related to your workers’ compensation case. This allows our patients to breathe easier and focus on their treatment and rehabilitation to achieve the best results possible.