Claiming Workers’ Compensation Even in Events Considered as "Acts of God"

Sep 25, 2015 | Compensability

Employers in Colorado are required by law to maintain an insurance policy for their workers in case of injuries sustained on the job. This is great news for employees, especially those who work in difficult and hazardous jobs.

However, just because your employer has an insurance policy does not mean that you are completely protected and will be properly compensated when you get caught in an accident. Without a Denver workers’ compensation attorney, there is one thing that insurance companies will tell you they will not cover, and those are incidents considered as “acts of god.”

What are acts of god?

Acts of god have become an umbrella term for unavoidable events of nature such as natural disasters or extreme weather events like flashfloods, earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes. Another term for this is force majeure, which is French for “superior force.”

Insurance companies often claim that they do not have any mutual obligation when something out of control happens to an employee. In other words, they do not have to pay for injuries or damages caused by acts of god. After all, no one can be held responsible for volcanic eruptions or storm surges.

So when your insurance company tells you that the accident that happened to you at work is an act of god, does that mean that you have no say on the issue? Not if you have a Denver workers’ compensation lawyer who will have your back.

When is something NOT an act of god?

For example, you are working inside your office when a weak but palpable earthquake strikes and you get injured by falling debris. This should automatically mean that your insurance company should compensate you because you sustained an injury at work, right?

Wrong. Since an earthquake is an unforeseeable event, your insurance company can easily ease out of the situation and tell you that you do not qualify for any type of workers’ compensation even if you sustained an injury. End of story.

Related: Wrongfully Denied: How Insurance Companies Look Out for Themselves

Fortunately, having a competent Denver workers’ compensation attorney can help find a loophole even in this seemingly ironclad situation. No one might be responsible for the earthquake, but there might be someone who might be held accountable for the injury. This depends on the severity and foreseeability of the event, as well as the quality of your office building construction.

Hence, if the construction of the building is proven inadequate, then the injury cannot be considered as an act of god. Rather, it becomes an issue of a normal natural occurrence causing disproportional damage or injuries. In that case, the employer will be held responsible, and the insurance company cannot simply get off the hook and tell you that they cannot pay you for the physical damages you incurred.

As an employee, knowing your rights is important in claiming workers’ compensation. Having good counsel is also highly recommended, so that no insurance company can take advantage of you—with or without an act of god.

If you need more information or legal assistance, a Greeley workers’ compensation lawyer is readily available. Contact Kaplan Morrell today and talk to one of our Colorado workers’ compensation attorneys today.