The No-Fault Nature of Workers’ Comp
Benefits Regardless of Fault….Colorado Workers’ Compensation is essentially a “no-fault” insurance system intended to help employees who are injured while in the course and scope of their work. When the workers’ compensation laws first came into existence, a trade-off arose between the interests of employers and employees in an effort to protect workers from the devastating effect of work injury. Employers were encouraged to provide and pay for insurance to cover the medical costs, wage loss, and permanent disability of injured workers. In return, the employers received a form or immunity form lawsuits related to such injuries, if they provided the insurance. This trade-off formed the basis of our workers’ compensation laws.
Therefore, under our laws, it does not matter who caused an injury to a worker. The injury might be the fault of a co-worker, the employer, a supervisor, an independent party at the worksite, or even through the worker’s own fault. The worker is still covered by the insurance. The trade-off, as mentioned above, is that the worker cannot sue the employer who carries workers’ compensation insurance, even if the fault lies with the employer. ( an exception to this principle would be in the case of an “intentional injury” at the hands of the employer)
Third-Party Suits….An employee may, however, sue an independent “third-party” for injuries sustained on-the-job. An example of this would be where an employee who was driving a vehicle as part of his job was involved in a car-collision cause by a stranger ( the third-party)
Reduction of Benefits…..On the other hand, your benefits may be reduced by 50% if your injury was the result of your knowingly violating a known safety rule. You may need to schedule a hearing before a judge to contest the employer taking this reduction of benefit.
A similar 50% reduction of benefits may be taken by an employer if it is determined that you had illegal drugs or alcohol in your system at the time of the injury which was a cause of the injury.
Loss of Benefits Due to Job Termination….If an injured worker is terminated ” for cause”, the employer may not be required to pat any further temporary disability. You should be careful to keep your employer informed of your condition and any restrictions and follow all normal rules of the employer to avoid giving the employer any grounds to terminate you. In any event, if the employer takes such action against you, the matter may be presented to a judge at a hearing to determine if it is justified.
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.