Reporting & Documenting Your Claim
Reporting the injury to your employer:
The Colorado law requires that an injured worker report an incident/injury, in writing, to his employer within four (4) days. The penalty for not reporting on time is a loss of one day’s benefits for each day of delay.
While there are often excuses for not immediately reporting the injury, such as not realizing that it is a significant injury, it is not wise to delay reporting.
In any event, notify the employer or supervisor verbally as soon as you are aware of an on-the-job injury. You should also obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident in case your claim is challenged. Then follow-up with a statement in writing to your employer of the details of the injury/incident.
You should also keep a copy of the notice given to your employer.
If you have suffered an injury that puts your life or well-being at risk if you do not seek immediate medical care, you may go immediately to the emergency room or a conveniently located medical provider. For less critical situations, you should attempt to find out what doctors/clinic are designated by your employer and seek help there. This is because, under normal situations, your employer has the right to choose your initial treating physician.
However, if you report the injury to your employer, and the employer does not refer you to a medical provider, you may then choose your own.
Statute of Limitations:
In any event, the law requires that you report the injury to your employer within two (2) years of its occurrence. There are, however, some circumstances where the time limit may be extended for good reason.
One reason could be where your employer knew of your on-the-job injury, you missed three days of work due to the injury, and the employer failed to file a report of the injury to the Division of Workers’Compensation as required.
Documenting your Injury with your medical providers:
Regardless of whether your first contact with a doctor is on an emergency basis, or upon a referral from your employer after reporting the injury, you should be careful to tell the doctor about the work-related nature of your injury and report all of your symptoms.
Frequently, for example, an injured worker will concentrate on an excruciating back pain and understate, or neglect to mention, a minor symptom in his shoulder. The result might be that the shoulder symptoms get much worse at a later date, and the employer contests the shoulder injury that was overlooked early in the treatment process.
Also, be honest about the nature, location, and severity of your symptoms. Doctors are well trained in the physiology of injuries and have tests and techniques that they use to detect whether a patient is magnifying or even making up symptoms.
Further, you will often be under surveillance by private investigators hired by the insurance carriers, or even observed by the medical providers when you are least aware, such as in the doctor’s parking lot or waiting room. The workers’ compensation doctors are often asked to view a video of the injured worker and give opinions as to whether the symptoms described by the worker are consistent with the observed activities.
Therefore, completeness, accuracy, and consistency in the description of your symptoms are essential to protecting your right to compensation.
Contact our office to discuss your case, without cost or obligation at: 303-797-3311
We provide representation serving the entire south Denver, Colorado (CO) Metropolitan area, including Littleton, Englewood, Centennial & Aurora in Arapahoe County, Highlands Ranch and Castle Rock in Douglas County, Denver and south Jefferson County, Colorado. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.