We Can Help You Seek Full, Fair Workers Compensation After Job-Related Injuries & Illness
Colorado workers’ compensation provides financial support to people hurt while earning a living. The process of getting that compensation, however, can be an uphill battle for injured workers. From completing the paperwork and navigating the red tape to managing deadlines and more, workers’ compensation claims can be complicated.
And that’s assuming everything goes right. Mistakes at any point can cause stressful delays or risks of benefits being reduced or denied. You can avoid that and set a workers’ compensation claim up for success with Attorney Wm. Andrew “Drew” Wills II.
For more than 35 years, Colorado Springs Workers Compensation Lawyer Drew Wills II has been helping injured workers recover. He is ready to partner with you, counsel you through the claims process, and work diligently to help you obtain full, fair benefits.
- Call (719) 358-2762 for a free consultation and important information about your rights and legal options.
There are strict deadlines for workers’ compensation claims in Colorado, and filing a claim may be just one option injured workers have for financial recovery. The sooner you contact Attorney Drew Wills II, the sooner you can be confident that you have an experienced advocate on your side, helping you with every aspect of your claim.
What Should I Do If I Get Hurt on the Job?
Always call 911 and seek immediate medical attention if a job accident causes serious injuries. In non-emergency situations, here are the steps you should take:
- Report the incident to the on-site manager or supervisor: Injury reports must be written, and they should be submitted within four (4) days of the injury-causing event. If the injury happened more than 4 days prior, injured workers should provide written notification to their employer ASAP.
- See a doctor as soon as possible: In Colorado, employers are required to provide injured workers with a list of medical providers, the “designated provider list,” within seven (7) days of being notified of the work accident and injuries.
- File a workers’ compensation claim: These claims must be filed within two (2) years of the injury-causing event. If employers don’t have workers’ compensation coverage, injured workers may be able to pursue benefits by filing claims through the Colorado Uninsured Employer Fund.
- Consult an attorney: While a lawyer can help you with all aspects of a workers’ compensation claim, (s)he can also determine if you have other legal options for recovery, like a case against a negligent third party. If so, pursuing all available legal remedies can be the key to maximizing financial recoveries.
Can I Choose My Own Doctor?
If you want your medical care to be covered by workers’ compensation, then you must select a physician from the designated provider list. This list should have at least 4 options. The doctor you select will be the “authorized treating physician” (ATP).
If your employer does not provide you with a list of provider options within 7 days or if you do not care about having your medical care covered by workers’ compensation, you can select your own physician.
Additionally, it’s crucial to know that you can switch doctors after selecting an ATP. The way to do that will depend on when in the process you want to change physicians.
What Injuries Does Colorado Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Any injury or illness that is acquired during the course of employment and that impairs a workers’ ability to perform his or her job can be covered by Colorado workers’ compensation. While there are some exceptions, here are some of the most common types of injuries associated with workers’ compensation claims in Colorado.
Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
Job-related auto accidents can lead to head and back injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other lasting trauma. Delivery truck drivers, rideshare drivers, and even workers who occasionally use a company car can be at risk of these job-related injuries.
Whenever on-the-job auto accidents are caused by other drivers (or any party other than the worker or the employer), there can be options to file claims against the other negligent party.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Unlike other work injuries that are caused by a single event, repetitive stress injuries (RSI) develop over time. For example, years of typing has been linked to carpal tunnel syndrome. For claims involving RSI, the date of the injury will be the date on which the condition is diagnosed.
Illness from Toxic Exposures
Mesothelioma caused by job-related asbestos exposure is one of the most common examples of these types of work injuries. Similar to RSI, illness from toxic exposure can take time to develop, often years to decades. Consequently, the date of diagnosis is typically the date of injury for workers’ compensation claims for job-related exposures and illness.
Falls on the same level (like slip and falls) and falling from high-up places can cause a range of catastrophic injuries, the worst of which are permanent or fatal.
Many other on-the-job injuries can also be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. This can include temporary and permanent physical impairments caused by crushing accidents, malfunctioning machinery, violent coworkers, and more.
What Injuries Are Not Covered by Colorado Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation claims and benefits can be reduced or denied when:
- Accidents and injuries are caused by a worker’s intentional and dangerous actions.
- The worker was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol when the accident occurred.
- The worker refused to comply with required safety protocols, and that contributed to or caused the accident.
- The worker is a part-time domestic employee, an independent contractor, or in another class of workers not covered by the state’s workers’ compensation regulations.
Of course, these are not the only injuries or claims that may not be covered by Colorado workers’ compensation. Additionally, valid claims have been known to be wrongfully reduced or denied when they are not filed properly.
What Are Scheduled versus Non-Scheduled Injuries?
The terms “scheduled” and “non-scheduled” refer to how the injury affects an individual. Specifically:
- Scheduled injuries affect a specific part of the body or a specific function, like limb injuries or hearing loss.
- Nonscheduled injuries are not local and, instead, are seen as “whole-person” impairments. These can include, for instance, back injuries or lung damage.
These injury classifications are important because they can impact how benefits are calculated.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
MMI describes conditions that will not improve with additional medical treatment. Effectively, this means that a condition has stabilized to some degree and that ongoing treatments are only intended to “maintain” the condition or improve quality of life (rather than directly improving the condition itself).
While the ATP will determine when MMI has been achieved, doctors do not always get these evaluations correct. When that happens, injured workers can request independent medical examinations (IMEs).
With IMEs, it’s essential to know that:
- There is a 30-day window to challenge impairment ratings and request IMEs.
- Injured workers are financially responsible for the cost of IMEs, and financial assistance may be available to those who meet the indigent standards (Rule 18).
What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Available in Colorado?
Workers’ compensation benefits in Colorado are based on injured workers’ wages, and the duration of the benefits will depend on how long the injury is expected to last. Here are the different types of benefits available.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits
These are paid to supplement earnings when injured workers go back to work but are unable to work a full schedule because they are still recovering from their injuries.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits
TTD benefits are paid to workers who are unable to work due to their injuries. These benefits can also be paid when employers cannot accommodate the doctor-ordered restrictions that injured workers must follow. These benefits are paid every two weeks, and they total 2/3 or 67% of a worker’s earnings.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits
When work injuries result in an irreversible impairment or loss of function to a specific limb or body part, PPD benefits can come into play. These benefits are calculated based on the percentage of loss determined by the ATP.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits
When irreversible impairments prevent a worker from returning to work for life, PTD benefits will be paid. These benefits are typically calculated in the same way as TTD benefits.
While the 2020 Injured Worker Guide from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has more details about the available benefits, don’t hesitate to contact Attorney Drew Wills II when you need answers related to your circumstances.
What Other Benefits Can Affect Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Colorado?
The following benefits can impact the amount of workers’ compensation benefits awarded in Colorado:
- Unemployment insurance benefits
- Employer-paid short-term or long-term disability benefits
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits
Why Are Workers’ Compensation Claims Usually Denied in Colorado?
Several rationales may be used to deny Colorado workers’ compensation claims. These can include (and are not limited to) denials due to:
- Missing a claim deadline: Reporting the injury to an employer within four days is just the first of several deadlines that will have to be met in order to keep a workers’ compensation claim going.
- Disputed injuries: If an employer or the insurance provider does not believe the injuries happened at work, a claim may be denied.
- Failing to follow through with medical treatment: Skipping doctor’s visits or failing to follow through with any prescribed treatment can be grounds to delay or deny claims as well.
Here, it’s crucial for injured workers to understand that:
- Not all claim denials are valid: Insurance companies make mistakes, sometimes wrongly denying legitimate claims. This can occur when, for instance, an insurer misinterprets or overlooks key evidence, like diagnostic tests. In some cases, insurers may go out of their way to try to find a reason to deny a valid claim, using tenuous grounds to issue a denial.
- A denial of the claim does not have to be the last word on the matter: There is a small window of time to file appeals and contest denials of workers’ compensation claims.
How Can a Colorado Springs Workers Compensation Lawyer Help Me?
Whether you’re filing a claim for the first time or you believe your claim was wrongfully denied, the right lawyer—like Attorney Drew Wills II—can help you with everything you need to do to set your claim up for success. This can include (and is not limited to):
- Carefully reviewing the facts of your case to determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation and/or if you may have another personal injury claim
- Advising you of your rights and options so you can make informed choices that will support your needs and goals
- Overseeing all of the administrative work to initiate and advance your claim
- Representing you in any proceedings or hearings related to your case
- Helping you seek the full compensation you deserve, even if that means pursuing appeals to wrongfully denied workers’ compensation claims
If you or a loved one has been hurt at work, it’s time to Colorado Springs Workers Compensation Lawyer Attorney Drew Wills II.
Call (719) 358-2762 for a free consultation and important information about your rights and legal options.
With nearly four decades of experience, Attorney Drew Wills II has a deep understanding of Colorado workers’ compensation laws and how to help injured people recover. That makes him highly effective at:
- Protecting his clients’ rights
- Building strong cases and standing up to any opponent
- Fighting for the compensation and outcomes his clients need and deserve
With Attorney Drew Wills II in your corner, you can expect to have a highly competent attorney who listens, treats you with respect, and keeps you informed about the progress of your case. You can also expect professionalism, personalized service, and integrity while Drew works relentlessly to help you secure the best results possible.
From offices based in Colorado Springs, Attorney Drew Wills II provides 5-star service and legal representation to those throughout El Paso County and the state of Colorado.