123 North College Avenue, Suite 160, Fort Collins, CO 80524
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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

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CO injury lawyerThe law in Colorado regarding which companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance and who is eligible to use it is relatively straightforward compared to some other states. Any company in Colorado that has at least one employee within the state is required to use the workers’ compensation program, meaning that there is generally no reason a worker in Colorado should not have access to these critical benefits when they are needed.

Workers’ compensation is an incredibly important program. No matter what line of work you are in, there is nearly always a chance that you will suffer an injury related to your career. Even white-collar employees who mainly sit behind a desk to perform their job duties may suffer an injury, whether due to a defective office chair or repetitive stress, as is the case with many who develop carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have been injured due to your work and are in need of workers’ compensation benefits, an attorney may be able to help you obtain the temporary or permanent benefits you need.

Who Is Considered an Employee for Workers’ Compensation Purposes?

Determining who is or is not an employee for the purposes of workers’ compensation benefits is generally, but not always, fairly straightforward. The rule in our state is that anyone who is paid by a company for work they perform is presumed to be an employee of the company issuing the paycheck. Employees are eligible for workers’ compensation whether they are full-time, part-time, or a family member of the business owner.

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Fort Collins workers' compensation lawyerDepending on where you get your information, you may have read some false information about workers’ compensation. If most of what you know about workers’ compensation was told to you by your employer, friends who have never personally used it, or popular media, odds are that you are familiar with at least one of a few common myths. Having the correct information about workers’ compensation is the key to making sure that you are adequately compensated after a workplace injury. After learning what is true about workers’ compensation and what is a myth, you may be ready to go ahead and file a claim and our attorneys can help. 

Workers’ Compensation Myths and Facts

Many of the myths going around about workers’ compensation have some truth to them but are still inaccurate. Some half-truths and myths you might have heard about using workers’ compensation include: 

  • You could get fired - Some injured workers say that they will not file a claim out of fear of losing their jobs. However, retaliating against an employee who uses workers’ compensation is illegal. If your employer tries to fire you, you could bring a wrongful termination claim. A successful wrongful termination claim could get you your job back in addition to lost wages, reimbursement for legal fees, and more. 

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fort collins work injury lawyerSince 2018, Colorado has specifically extended Worker’s Compensation protection to undocumented workers. While it may be illegal for a U.S, company to employ undocumented immigrants, if they do, and one gets hurt, the injured worker is just as entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation as a U.S. citizen. If being undocumented is holding you back from pursuing compensation after a workplace injury, it should not. While seeking Workers’ Compensation may be intimidating for undocumented individuals, you should know that you have rights. Our law firm has handled workplace injury claims for undocumented workers before, with great success. If you were injured at work, we may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve. 

How Can I be Sure That I am Eligible to Receive Workers’ Compensation?

Look no further than Colorado Revised Statue section 8-40-202. The law in this state explicitly states that for the purposes of Workers’ Compensation eligibility, the term “employee” includes foreign nationals. There is no distinction between those who are lawfully present in the country and permitted to work and those who entered the country unlawfully and are not legally eligible for employment. Therefore, all that matter is that you are, in fact, an employee working for and being paid by an employer. 

Can My Employer Argue That I Should Not Recover Certain Damages Based on My Undocumented Status?

Absolutely not. Employers in Colorado have unsuccessfully tried to deny compensation for lost wages or disability because they cannot legally work in the first place. If you were injured while working, you are losing wages and future earnings because of your injuries, not because you technically are not eligible to work. Colorado state courts have routinely shot down arguments that lost wages should not be paid to undocumented workers. 

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ft-collins-workplace-injury-lawyer.jpgNo matter what line of work you are in, there is always the potential for a workplace injury. Whether you do your job sitting at a desk or on a construction site, no worksite is completely safe. While in Colorado, you do not need to prove that your employer was negligent in causing your injuries, a large percentage of workplace injuries could have been prevented by a more safety-minded employer. It is not always the conditions of the work site alone that lead to injuries. The true causes of workplace injuries are often much more difficult to spot than a stray live wire. If you were injured in the workplace, Workers’ Compensation is most likely available to you. An attorney can help you determine how best to pursue compensation. 

Common Safety Concerns in the Workplace

Some of the greatest dangers in the workplace are the hardest to notice. A few safety concerns you may be faced with in your workplace include: 

  • Lack of training - If you are using any kind of potentially risky equipment or working in a hazardous environment, adequate training is everything. You should be taught how to safely use every piece of equipment you work with, as should your coworkers. Something as simple as a mechanical floor cleaner can become hazardous if you are not given clear instructions on how to control it or shut it off in case of an emergency. 

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CO job injury lawyerGetting hurt at work can create a serious interruption in your life. Making sure that you get the medical care you need to return to work - if that is possible for you - can be challenging in some cases. Not all employers are as cooperative with the process as they should be. When you are injured and trying to recover, you could probably benefit from having a professional with in-depth knowledge of workers’ compensation law to advocate for you. While not every workers’ compensation claim requires assistance from an attorney, if your injury is on the more serious or impactful side, then having quality legal representation can be invaluable. If you are in doubt, calling an attorney for a complimentary consultation may be the best course of action.

When Might I Need Legal Representation for My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

If your injury is fairly minor, you did not miss much work, and your employer is cooperative about covering your medical costs and required missed wages, you might be alright handling the claim on your own. However, if your injury is more serious, then having an attorney who knows your legal rights to advocate for you could result in a more favorable outcome. If any of the following factors is present in your case, it might be worth it to contact an attorney:

  • Unable to return - If you are not going to be able to go back to the same job you had, period, then you will almost certainly benefit from a lawyer’s help. If you will need to change to a different job due to your injuries - for example, if you can no longer perform construction work and will have to move to a more sedentary position - then you are in this category.
  • Total disability - If your injury has left you with any type of disability that will prevent you from working entirely, like a traumatic brain injury, then you will want a lawyer who understands the full scope of compensation you could be entitled to.
  • Long-term care - For severe injuries that will require a long course of medical treatment such as extensive rehabilitation, or if you will require professional care on a day-to-day basis permanently or for an extended period of time, an attorney should almost certainly be involved.
  • Fair compensation denied - If your employer decided to deny your claim entirely, or made an unfair decision that does not fully compensate you, a lawyer can help you through the appeals process.

In general, if your injury is very serious or will have a long-term impact, a lawyer may be able to help you obtain full compensation.

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

123 North College Avenue, Suite 160,
Fort Collins, CO 80524

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3835 W. 10th Street
Greeley, Colorado 80634 |
970-460-2220
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Longmont, Colorado 80501 |
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