What to do if You’re Injured at Work
There are many pitfalls of workers’ compensation and “traps for the unwary” that an unrepresented and inexperienced worker may find themselves caught up in. Below are helpful tips to be sure this doesn’t happen to you.
Reporting the Accident
When a person gets injured on the job, it is essential that they report the accident to their employer immediately, and take note of any witnesses to the accident, including emergency professionals, when possible. Countless injured employees fall into this first trap, and never get out. It is important to receive documented medical attention from a medical professional immediately. It is also a good idea to document the workers’ compensation claim with the State of Colorado immediately by completing a Workers’ Claim for Compensation, in the event the employer neglects to report the claim to the State of Colorado.
It may happen that the employer will send the injured worker to a workers’ compensation doctor right away. However, some employers will have the injured employee wait days or even weeks for medical attention. The longer the employee waits to receive medical attention, the stronger the argument is that the employee might have hurt themselves outside of work. The longer the claim goes undocumented, the greater the chance is that the claim will be denied, despite the severity of the injury. Countless numbers of badly injured workers are denied benefits every year because the insurance company or the employer deny treatment for the injury because they fall into the next trap by allowing too much time to elapse from the date of injury until the medical treatment for the injury. Employers and insurance companies know that the burden of proof rests with the injured worker to demonstrate that the injury happened on the job, during the “course and scope of duty.” Many, if not most, injured workers have no idea that they may have to prove that they were injured on the job. The injury attorneys at Kidneigh and Kaufman inform clients about how to properly initiate their claim in order to eliminate problems, or even denials, later on.
Treatment for the Accident and General Admission of Liability
In the normal course of a work injury, if the employer and insurance company admit that the injured worker got hurt on the job in the “course and scope of duty”, the employer will send the injured worker to an “authorized treating physician.” This physician has been authorized to treat the injured worker by the insurance company representing the employer. This means that the authorized treating physician gets paid by the insurance company representing the employer- and not by the injured worker. The contract for workers’ compensation insurance coverage is between the employer and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, not the insurance company and the injured worker. Many injured workers don’t realize that their “authorized treating doctor” gets paid by the workers’ compensation insurance company. Injured workers’ cost both the employer and workers’ compensation insurance company money, which would otherwise go toward profits for both. An early return to work, less medical treatment, more abbreviated and fewer medical examinations cost the employer and the insurance company less money. Thus, an incentive thus exists for the “authorized treating physician” to get the injured worker back to work more quickly.
Workers’ compensation claims can be difficult to navigate on your own and can lead to disastrous consequences if not handled properly. To ensure your claim is resolved efficiently and in your best interest, call the personal injury attorneys at Kidneigh & Kaufman today for a FREE consultation! (303) 393-6666.