Time in Workers Compensation – We’re continuing our discussion about how long these take in the legal system when it comes to Colorado work injuries! Making a “claim” for an injury is different and legally distinct from giving “notice” of your serious on-the-job injury. Know the difference and know how great lawyers can help you.
Time in Workers Compensation – How long do Colorado injured workers have to make a claim for benefits?
How is making a claim different from reporting my injury?
For this topic, it’s important to clarify that ‘reporting an injury’ is not the same thing as ‘making a claim’. They are two very different things. Reporting an injury is just giving notice which can include telling your boss, “Hey I’ve been injured”, or speaking with the insurance company through emails, or giving a written or recorded statement. These are all examples of reporting a claim.
A claim for a work injury is a completely different thing. Now, it’s called a ‘Worker’s Compensation Claim’ and it is a specific document. You send this document to the insurance company and to the state of Colorado. This is a compensation claim. Often, we have injured workers ask, “Is there a claim for compensation?” It’s not always easy to answer because the first thing we’ve got to do is get them an admitted worker’s compensation claim. That has to happen before anything else can get rolling.
How long do I have to file a claim?
So, how long do you have to file a claim? The answer is two years, with certain exceptions we call ‘excusable neglect’. Now, that begs the question, two years from what? Is it two years from the date of injury? When is that two-year time running? This is where it gets kind of complicated because it’s not necessarily two years from the date of injury, it is two years from when you, as a reasonable worker, should have known three things about your work injury.
What are the three things I need to know about my work injury?
Number one: What is the nature of your injury? For example, if it’s your shoulder and your shoulder’s kind of sore, but you don’t know why, and then a doctor says, “Oh look, you’ve got a rotator cuff tear,” you then know the nature of the injury.
Number two: What is the work-related connection between the condition, the injury, and work? For example, your shoulder’s kind of sore and your doctor says, “You’ve got a rotator cuff tear. Do you do any lifting overhead?” And if that’s what you do for your job, you can reasonably assume that your injury is due to your work.
Number three: What is the seriousness of the injury? It’s not enough just to know what’s going on, or to know the work-related condition, but you also have to know the severity of the injury. For example, if you get a paper cut, you know the nature and the work-relatedness. You wouldn’t file a claim over something like that because it’s not serious. But what if your finger gets infected and now the doctors are talking about amputating it? Once they start talking about losing time at work, losing jobs, surgery, permanent damage- you know the nature, work-related connection, and the seriousness.
After you know these three things about your injury, you have two years to make the claim.
When should I make a claim?
Now, we don’t want injured workers waiting to make a claim, so the moment they become our clients, we make a claim on their behalf. We want to make sure that if the insurance company is going to deny liability, we can fight that immediately. Our advice is that you should never wait to report your injury and, with the help of an attorney who knows what they’re doing, you should make a claim as soon as possible. We make sure that the claims are filed in such a way that you’re not saying or writing something that would cause the insurance company to deny liability.
We’re here to help – Time in Workers Compensation
If you or anyone you know is injured on the job, please let them know that there is an attorney in Colorado who handles worker’s compensation. We’ve been helping injured and disabled workers since 1995. We offer a free consultation that will leave you or them with a better understanding of the rights you have as an injured worker. For more information call us at 866-356-9898 or visit our website https://kaplanmorrell.com/.
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