Workers CompensationWorkers’ compensation is a form of insurance paid for by employers for employees who are injured or become ill while on the job. Workers’ compensation is designed to provide the injured worker with financial support and medical expense coverage after a workplace injury, regardless of whether the injury was caused by the fault of the worker or not. In exchange for receiving these benefits, the injured worker must forfeit his or her right to sue their employer for the injury.

Report the Injury And Obtain Medical Care

What to do first after suffering an injury while at work depends on how serious the injury is. If the injury is not life-threatening, it is best to notify the employer in writing of the injury before seeking medical care. But if the injury is very serious, or perhaps renders the worker unconscious, the worker may have to be rushed to emergency care, and notification will have to be taken care of at some later point in time.

Employers in Colorado have the right in the first instance to choose what hospital and/or physician to take the injured worker to, or to have the injured worker see during the receipt of his or her medical care for the injury. If the employer requires that the worker to go to a specific doctor, then that is who the worker must see, or risk losing medical expense coverage related to the injury. Yet, there are several instances during recovery that the injured worker may request to change from an authorized (i.e., employer selected) physician and his or her own preferred treating physician. Conversely, if the employer does not specifically prescribe a physician that the injured worker must see, then the injured worker generally has the right to select his or her own physician.

It is important to put the employer on notice about the injury. This must be done in writing within 4 business days of the worker suffering the injury, assuming that the injury has not rendered the worker physically or mentally unable to do so within the prescribed timeframe. If the worker is physically or mentally unable to notify the employer in writing, someone else with knowledge of the incident that caused the injured worker’s injury can make the notice to employer on the worker’s behalf. If the worker is physically and mentally able to make the notification, but fails to do so, the failure may result in a penalty to the injured worker of one day’s worth of compensation for every day that the notice is late.

After being notified, or obtaining actual knowledge of the incident that caused the worker’s injury, the employer then has 10 days to report the incident to the employer’s insurance provider. Injuries that happen in the workplace should always be reported to employers, regardless of how small the injury may seem.

Disability Compensation

When a workplace injury leaves a worker partially or totally disabled, either temporarily or permanently, the worker is entitled to disability compensation while he or she is disabled. How much compensation the disabled worker receives depends on the classification of his or her disability, i.e., whether the disability is permanent or only temporary in duration, and whether the disability is considered to be a partial disability or a total disability.