Dealing with a workplace accident can upend your life. You may no longer feel safe in your workplace, and you are probably also feeling a lot of anxiety about potentially missing any wages. Fortunately, in the state of Colorado, workers may be entitled to file for worker’s compensation benefits after being injured on the job. Worker’s compensation can be incredibly beneficial in getting your life back on track after a workplace accident. Unfortunately, not all claims are successfully resolved.
In the state of Colorado, insurance companies have 20 days to take a position on a worker’s compensation claim. These 20 days start from the date the claim has been filed with the Division of Labor and Employment. By the end of the deadline, the insurance provider must decide to either file a General Admission of Liability or file a Notice of Contest. Insurance companies may choose to file a Notice of Contest (and effectively deny your claim) if they feel they do not have adequate information to make an informed decision. They may also choose to deny your claim if they feel there are any inconsistencies in your story. From then on, workers have three options: (1) do nothing, (2) litigate, or (3) settle. Do you know what to do if your worker’s compensation claim gets denied?
While doing nothing may not sound like a real option, it can sometimes be the best choice for your case. If your worker’s compensation claim has been denied, your employer’s insurance company may not pay you any monetary and/or serious medical benefits. However, they may still pay for any basic and immediate medical expenses. Such compensation may cover any needed early diagnostic tests, which can be immensely beneficial in determining your potential medical needs. They may also help you determine the true valuation of your case. Indeed, doing nothing may not be the best long-term response to a denied claim. You should certainly have more planned to account for all of your needs. Still, cooperating with your employer’s insurance company and getting your diagnostic tests done may help you along with your decision-making process further down the road. You may want to talk to a competent Colorado personal injury attorney to discuss all your options.
If you believe your case was wrongfully denied, you are legally entitled to take your case to an administrative law judge. This is known as the litigation or appeals process. While litigation may seem like the obvious choice for most, it is important to keep in mind that this can be a long and arduous process. Colorado law states that hearings are to be set within 120 to 180 days (or 4 to 6 months) from the initial decision. It is also not uncommon for judges to take upwards of a year to issue a decision. All in all, this means your case may be in litigation for over a year.
Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that some judges are simply more sympathetic towards workers than others. At times, it can seem like the luck of the draw. Some judges may rule in favor of the worker 15 percent of the time, while others may rule in favor of the worker 60 percent of the time. This can make a huge difference in your case, especially since you (as the injured worker) will almost always be assuming the burden of proof during the litigation process. You may even need to procure expert witness testimony to build a successful case. This may add to your expenses at a time when you are already vulnerable.
Simply put, litigation costs time, money, and a lot of emotional energy. Do not rush into this decision. Carefully consider whether or not it is right for you. We understand that this can be an overwhelming process. This can be especially true if you are not well-versed in the law. Fortunately, many Colorado worker’s compensation lawyers offer free initial consultations. Take this to your advantage and discuss all your options with a professional. Working with the right lawyer can make all the difference in ensuring your peace of mind.
This option is the most common resolution to a denied worker’s compensation claim. Should you choose to settle your claim, you will agree to a set amount of money in exchange for the right to pursue any further compensation or worker’s compensation benefits. A settlement is meant to be a mutually beneficial agreement. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for insurance companies to lowball workers with their initial offer—especially since it is near impossible for an injured worker to have a true estimation of their own claim without working with a lawyer. Do not be afraid to negotiate with the insurance company to get what you deserve. Many workers do not even realize that they have the option to deny the initial settlement offer. At the same time, you should keep yourself open to compromise and keep your expectations realistic. We understand that this process may be intimidating and difficult for anyone without a full and comprehensive understanding of the law. Working with an experienced Colorado worker’s compensation attorney may be able to help.
If you or a loved one were recently injured in a workplace accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. You should never have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide worker’s compensation attorneys. When you are at your most vulnerable, you deserve someone you can count on in your corner. At Injury Victim Law, we put our clients first and fight to get them what they need. We have helped countless clients resolve their worker’s compensation cases successfully.