Each state has its own workers’ compensation law and system.
In Colorado, the workers’ compensation system is a “no fault” system. If a worker is injured at work, he or she is entitled to benefits under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act, whether or not the employer, the employee or no one was the cause of the injury or disease.
The Workers’ Compensation Act provides for medical and other benefits for Colorado workers. An injured worker may be entitled to four different types of benefits including: medical benefits, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits and disfigurement. An injured worker must give written notice of his or her injury or occupational disease within four (4) working days of the date of the injury. If you do not you give written notice, you may still file a claim for benefits, but you may be penalized and lose compensation for each day’s delay.
A brief summary of benefits:
Medical Benefits: The workers’ compensation insurance company must pay for medical treatment that is reasonable, necessary and related to your injury, which has been prescribed by an authorized treating physician.
Temporary Disability Benefits: Temporary disability benefits are paid based on your average weekly wage. They are paid during the period of time that you are unable to perform your full-time work as a result of your work related injury. Your employer may offer you modified work within your restrictions. If you do not accept modified work, your temporary disability benefits can stop. You can be paid either temporary total disability benefits, at two-thirds of your average weekly wage, or temporary partial disability benefits at the rate of two-thirds of your loss of earnings. These benefits will stop when you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) or under certain other circumstances.
Permanent Disability Benefits: Injured workers are entitled to an award for permanent disability benefits, if they have any permanent impairment from their work related injury or disease. The amount of these benefits depends on the impairment rating the worker receives. An injured may be entitled to either permanent partial disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits or no permanent disability benefits depending on the extent of their permanent disability.
Maximum Amount of Benefits or a “Cap”: The Colorado State legislature passed a law which limits the total amount of benefits an injured worker, who is not permanently and totally disabled can receive. The maximum amounts change every year. For example, if you were injured after July 1, 2014 and before July 1, 2015, the maximum amount you can receive for temporary and permanent partial disability benefits combined is $81,435.67, if you have a permanent impairment rating of 25% or less of a whole person impairment, or $162,869.28, if you have more than a 25% whole person impairment rating. Again, these numbers are subject to change every year.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits: An injured worker can be entitled to benefits for the rest of his or her life, at their temporary total disability rate, before any applicable offsets, if they are permanently and totally disabled. In order to be determined to be permanently and totally disabled, the injured worker must prove that he or she is unable to earn any wages in any employment.
Disfigurement: If an injured worked has disfigurement or scarring, which is exposed to public view, he or she is entitled to disfigurement benefits.
Sometimes injured workers receive the benefits they are entitled to under the Workers’ Compensation laws, but unfortunately, often times they do not. Insurance companies and claims adjusters do not always pay all the benefits the injured worker is entitled to. Sometimes insurance companies make mistakes and sometimes they disagree with the amount of benefits an injured worker should receive. Sometimes insurance companies think they must pay much fewer benefits or no benefits at all. Sometimes, an injured worker may be left with the insurance company denying medical coverage, not paying disability benefits, or denying their claim all together.
If you, or someone you love, has been injured on the job or has contracted a serious illness as a result of your working conditions, you may need legal representation. If you have been denied benefits by the insurance company or if you think you are not receiving the full benefits to which you are entitled, you may need legal representation. If you have questions about the benefits you are receiving or about your workers’ compensation claim in general, you may want to talk to a lawyer about your claim.
Harriss & Martinez, LLC does not represent insurance companies or employers. Our goal is to help injured workers in workers’ compensation claims obtain the best results in their case. Harriss & Martinez, LLC does not charge any fee for the initial consultation.
You can call us at (970) 247-4411, ext. 1.
For additional information regarding workers’ compensation claims:
- Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation
- (888) 390-7936
The Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation is a government agency that is responsible for and regulates workers’ compensation claims in Colorado.
Disclaimer: This is only general information for injured workers. This information is not intended to be legal advice in an individual case or to create an attorney-client relationship.