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Larimer County workers compensation attorney firefighter injury

With Colorado currently in the midst of the two largest wildfires in the state’s history, the importance of firefighters is clear now more than ever. If you have been involved in firefighting efforts, you know full well the risks that you face on a regular basis, and if you sustain an injury or illness as a result of your work, it is important that you understand how to obtain financial relief you need through a workers’ compensation claim.

Colorado Workers’ Compensation Laws

Under Colorado law, most employers are required to provide workers’ compensation benefits that cover employees’ work-related injuries and illnesses regardless of who was at fault. This provides important protection for firefighters, who are often at risk of injuries from fires and explosions, collapsing structures, and smoke inhalation, among other things.

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Larimer County workmans compensation attorney

In Colorado, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to anyone who has suffered an injury on the job or in the course of their employment. In many cases, workplace injuries happen because of physical trauma, but this is not the only situation in which you can pursue compensation. You also may be entitled to benefits if you have suffered injuries or negative effects on your health due to immediate or prolonged exposure to a hazardous chemical.

Common Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace

Depending on your occupation and the industry in which you work, you may be exposed to any number of dangerous chemicals on a regular basis. Some of the most common hazardous substances encountered at work include:

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Larimer County workers compensation attorney car accident

Any time you are traveling on the road, you run the risk of being involved in a car accident, and if your job requires you to drive on a regular basis, you may be at greater risk. If you are injured in a car accident while on the job, you may fear that your only options for compensation are a claim through your car or health insurance provider, or a personal injury lawsuit against another driver. Fortunately, this is usually not the case, as you can likely obtain recovery through your employer’s workers’ compensation policy.

Employees at Risk of Vehicle Collision Injuries 

Many employees must regularly drive as part of their job responsibilities. Commercial truck and bus drivers may spend the most amount of time on the road, but delivery drivers, postal workers, and first responders including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs all drive frequently as well. The same may be true for employees of any business that provides a traveling service, as well as employees who simply run occasional work-related errands. Any employee who is injured in a car accident during the course of his or her workday may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, whether the accident was the fault of another driver or the employee him or herself.

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Larimer County wrongful death attorney workplace accident

Each year in Colorado, thousands of people are injured or fall ill due to work-related incidents, entitling them to relief through their employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. However, over 100 Coloradans die each year as a result of their work-related injuries, and many of them leave behind families who may struggle to get by after the death of their loved ones. Fortunately, these families can often obtain financial compensation through a wrongful death claim.

When Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim in Colorado?

An employee can file a workers’ compensation claim when he or she has been injured on the job in the course of work, and the employee’s family members can file a wrongful death claim in a similar situation if the injuries lead to the employee’s death. The employee’s widow or widower has the first right to file a wrongful death suit within the first year after the death, and children and designated beneficiaries of the deceased can join the suit with the spouse’s consent. After the first year, children and other heirs can choose to file a suit without the spouse, and parents may file a suit if the employee has no designated heirs. In general, all wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within the two-year statute of limitations.

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Larimer County workplace injury attorney

The topic of unemployment, along with the benefits a worker may be entitled to after being laid off or furloughed, has been garnering increased media attention due to rising rates of unemployment and recent debate at the federal level. Although the spike of unemployment in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic has begun to decrease, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in June that the unemployment rate across most industries still more than doubles the rate of unemployment from the same time frame in years past. Given our current state of affairs in this country, it is important to consider how workers’ compensation may affect unemployed workers in Colorado.

Can I Receive Unemployment Benefits and Workers’ Comp Simultaneously?

This sudden rise in the rates of unemployment across the country has caused many families a lot of stress and worry, but how does this surge impact those currently receiving workers’ compensation? The number of nonfatal workplace accidents recorded in 2018 exceeded 900,000 according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Even though the number is sure to be lower in 2020 due to higher than normal unemployment rates and quarantining practices, many people receiving workers’ compensation may find themselves also being displaced by the pandemic.

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Larimer County workplace injury attorney heatstroke

Summer is often regarded as the time of year when construction projects peak. Regardless of the type of project, orange barrels and caution cones will be a common sight across the country for the next several months. Although summertime may see many construction projects undertaken in earnest, it is also a time when outdoor workers and laborers face increased risks due to heat-related illnesses. According to Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) magazine, “Productivity decreases by about one percent for every degree the temperature rises above 77 degrees Fahrenheit.” In sweltering 90 degree days, this can lead to substantial reductions in productivity, but also serious heat-related injuries for workers. In Colorado, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in the event of a workplace accident. 

What Is Heat Stress?

Extended periods of time in a hot and sunny environment can lead to serious heat-related injuries, which may be exacerbated by heavy gear and equipment, manual labor, lack of airflow, lack of water, and more. Heat-related injuries can range from heat rash to the possibly lethal heatstroke, or sunstroke as it is sometimes called. Between these two lies a variety of other potentially dangerous conditions, and somewhere in the middle of the spectrum lies “heat stress.” Although heat stress itself is an umbrella term for several heat-related injuries, heat stress injuries share many symptoms. 

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Larimer County workers compensation attorney disability

Although Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ “Stay At Home” order officially expired on April 26, many counties and cities in the state have continued to observe restrictions on business in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus. For many Coloradoans, the return to normalcy will be a much longer time in coming as the Colorado Public Radio reports the COVID-19 pandemic “has erased one in 10 jobs in Colorado.” As heavily affected industries—such as restaurants, construction, and public works—begin to operate again and resume their projects, it may be more important than ever to be vigilant about safety. Workplace accidents occur even in the best of times and to the most cautious of employees. As a number of employees begin to return to work and employee density around construction sites, high-pace workplaces, and hazardous areas increases, accidents can occur. Therefore, it is important to understand disability and how it relates to workers’ compensation claims.

The Four Categories of Disabilities in Colorado

When dealing with the possibility of lost time or wages due to a workplace injury, it is imperative to remember not all injuries and their resulting disabilities are equal. The State of Colorado Department of Labor and Employment recognizes this and has defined four categories of disability under which injured workers can make claims. They are temporary or permanent, and partial or total disability as explained below:

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Larimer County workplace injury attorney

Every job comes with certain risks, and some occupations can be more dangerous than others. If you suffer a workplace injury in any type of industry, the consequences can be devastating. It is imperative that you seek proper medical attention quickly. However, Colorado has a specific timeline and method that employers and workers must follow regarding the choice of a medical provider. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can play a key role in this process, as they will be able to help you navigate the law and ensure that you receive the benefits that you deserve.

Selecting a Medical Practitioner

Colorado law dictates that either an employer or his or her workers’ compensation insurance company has the right to choose a designated medical provider. In most cases, a victim of a workplace injury must be given a list of at least four physicians or corporate medical providers to choose from if available. This is to prevent a victim from not having any say in the matter. To ensure that the selections are at least somewhat diverse, one of the doctors on the list must have distinct ownership. This means that an employer cannot just present a list of providers who are under shared ownership and at the same location.

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Larimer County workers compensation attorney overexertion

A workplace accident can occur even when proper protocol is followed. Whether you work in a physically taxing job such as construction, or you are in an office setting, it is important to understand the protection that you have under workers’ compensation laws. In general, all companies in Colorado are required to carry workman’s comp insurance to cover their employees in the event of an accident. Some injuries are relatively minor, while others can result in permanent disability or even death. If you were hurt while performing your job, you may need significant rehabilitation, or you may be unable to continue working at your full potential. That is why it is imperative that you consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn your options regarding benefits. 

What Is “Overexertion”?

You do not need to suffer from a severe injury like a broken bone to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. A large percentage of the workers’ comp claims in this country are filed under overexertion, which occurs when a person feels acute pain either from repetitively using the same muscle or from pushing their body past its limits. Some cases of overexertion, like frequently lifting of heavy objects resulting in severe back pain, are obvious, while others are much more subtle. For example, if you believe that your job leaves you chronically fatigued, and you injured yourself because of that, you could claim that you suffered from overexertion. The subtlety involved in many of these potential claims might be contested by your employer’s insurance company, which is why it is essential to have legal representation when making a workers' comp claim. 

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Larimer County workers compensation attorney coronavirusNow that the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared COVID-19 (coronavirus) a pandemic, this pervasive virus brings with it a slew of legal concerns. One such concern is whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you contracted coronavirus while working. The answer to this question is complicated. However, if you take certain factors into consideration, you will have a better understanding as to whether filing a coronavirus workers’ comp claim is an option for you.

Does Coronavirus Qualify You for Workers’ Comp?

The average cold and flu typically do not necessitate workers’ compensation claims, since they are usually not serious and can be handled with paid time off or sick time. However, coronavirus is more complex. This highly contagious pandemic can mean life or death for some people. Even if you contract an infection while working, but your symptoms are mild, you could still transmit it to family and friends who might be more susceptible to life-threatening conditions resulting from the virus. In that sense, it is more dangerous than most illnesses that you might contract at work.

Since this virus is so new, the insurance and legal professions are rushing to catch up with the times. Some workers’ comp policies are being amended in light of the coronavirus. Employers and employees alike are reinterpreting the policies already set in place. Some states, specifically Washington, are already requiring workers’ compensation benefits for those exposed to the virus while at work.

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Larimer County workplace injury attorney

While no two workers’ compensation cases are the same, many of the questions injured employees ask overlap with each other. Having any kind of life-altering injury can be a traumatic experience, but for workers, there is also the uncertainty of where their next paycheck will come from if they are unable to work for an extended period of time. When a person is injured while performing his or her job in Colorado, workers’ compensation kicks in to handle the costs of medical expenses related to the injury and address lost wages. Below are some of the typical questions employees ask when seeking workers’ compensation.

How Do I Report the Accident?

In Colorado, the ideal time to report a workplace accident to an employer is four business days. The official notice must be in writing, even if you have verbally reported the accident. It is possible to report the incident after four days, but workers’ compensation benefits may be restricted depending on the length of time after the accident. If you cannot report the accident yourself, then someone may do so on your behalf. 

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Larimer County workplace accident injury compensation attorney

When a worker accepts a job, he or she should also understand any occupational hazards that come with that profession. For an office worker, that may mean carpal tunnel syndrome, but for a construction worker, the consequences can be more serious. Regardless of a person’s occupation, most employers in Colorado are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. This type of insurance prevents employers from being held liable in the instance of a workplace accident, but it also provides benefits to any injured employees. 

What Benefits Are Included With Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a government program, and any eligible employee has the right to file for benefits. If a person is hurt and cannot return to work temporarily or permanently, he or she can file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation will replace lost wages for the time an employee is away and cover the costs of medical care for work-related injury or illness. 

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Larimer County back and neck injury attorney

Back pain is one of the most common injuries which a person can suffer. It is estimated that 80 percent of the population in the United States experiences back pain at least once in their lives. There are infinite ways to sustain a back or neck injury, such as falling on ice to getting hurt on the job. Minor pain is inconvenient, and may be caused by a strained muscle, but what happens when back or neck pain severely affects your quality of life? Thanks to workers’ compensation laws in Colorado, if work-related pain or an injury to the neck or back affects an employee's ability to continue working, they are protected financially. 

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

The Industrial Revolution led to a higher rate of employee injuries. The first no-fault workers’ compensation law was put in place in Colorado in 1915. Although laws change, the fundamentals of workers’ compensation remain the same today. If a person is injured because of work conditions or a work accident, he or she is entitled to benefits. This type of relief includes no-cost medical care and financial coverage for lost wages. How injured a person is, and whether or not he or she can return to the workforce, will determine the benefits given. Workers’ compensation protects employees' rights, but it also protects employers from lawsuits relating to an injured worker. 

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Larimer County workplace injury attorney

When an accident happens at home, most people know what to do right away if they suffer an injury. When a person is injured at work, however, there are more variables, and a person may not know where to begin. Although most employees are eligible for workers’ compensation in the event of a work injury, there are certain steps and timelines to follow. In Colorado, it is important to obtain professional legal counsel to make sure you follow the proper procedures for filing a claim when seeking benefits. 

Steps to Take After a Work-Related Injury

When an injury is life-threatening, or there is a risk of losing a limb, an employee is allowed to seek immediate medical attention. Otherwise, medical care will need to be administered from a provider chosen by the employer. This doctor will then become the authorized treating physician for that employee’s work-related injury. 

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Larimer County workers' compensation lawyer

Even when safety precautions are put in place, accidents can and do happen in many industries. Although no workers’ compensation case is alike, there are certain things a person can expect when filing for benefits regardless of the type of accident. If an individual is hurt and cannot work due to a workplace-related incident, most employees have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Employment laws exist to protect employees, and if a claim is approved, an injured worker will be compensated for lost wages and medical bills.  

Colorado Employment Law

Almost all public and private employers in Colorado are required to have and maintain workers’ compensation insurance, with few exceptions. Keeping with regulations, a “Notice to Employer of Injury” poster should be visible to employees at all times. Employees should not feel threatened to report an injury if it ever happens. It is illegal to fire an employee who reports an injury and files a workers’ comp claim. 

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Larimer County workplace injury lawyer

Workers in industries that require manual labor, such as construction, are at most risk for a spinal cord injury while on the job. The spinal cord is one of the most important organs in the human body. Housed by vertebrae, the spinal cord is the information highway of the nervous system that transmits signals to and from the brain. Humans have 33 individual vertebrae, which are the bones that make up the spine. These bones can be damaged as easily as a femur or humerus bone, except that instead of a broken leg or arm, the result can be damage to the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis in some cases. When this happens, and an employee is unable to return to work, he or she may be eligible for workers’ compensation

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Every Colorado business with employees, no matter the size, is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. This is a protection for employees in the unfortunate event they are hurt on the job. Workers’ compensation also protects employers from lawsuits solely based on an accident or an injury an employee may sustain. Eligible employees have the right to file for workers’ compensation if the injury is suffered at the workplace. Whether an employee is permanently or temporarily disabled, workers’ compensation benefits provide financial security by compensating an employee for lost wages and medical bills. Even if an accident on the job is the employee’s fault, he or she is still eligible for workers’ comp benefits. 

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Larimer County workers compensation lawyer

When it comes to workers’ compensation, truck drivers who are injured are in a unique situation in Colorado, depending on their employment status with a company. Many trucking companies hire drivers as independent contractors as opposed to regular full-time employees in an effort to save costs. There are many liabilities with having truck drivers as employees, so technically, an independent contractor would not qualify for workers’ compensation. Instead, under 2018 legislation, independent contractor truck drivers in Colorado qualify under occupational accident coverage for vehicles weighing more than 16,001 pounds. This coverage must be comparable to the employer’s workers’ compensation benefits. 

Types of Truck Accidents

Every type of job has the potential for a person to get injured while performing their occupational duties. Truck drivers are different than office workers due to the amount of time they spend on the road for their jobs. While truck drivers are subject to common workers’ compensation claims, such as slips and falls, they can also be involved in accidents specific to trucking. The following are accidents that a truck driver may face while on the job: 

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Ft. Collins work injury lawyer

People work in order to support themselves and their families. That is why if you are hurt and cannot perform your job, there is a cause for concern. The good news is, if you are injured while at work, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits to compensate you for your lost wages and medical bills. If you were hurt at work, you may wonder if you are entitled to benefits, depending on the type of injury. You may also not know how to initiate the process. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions by those who are considering filing for workers' compensation.   

What Is Workers’ Compensation? 

Most employers throughout the United States are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that provides coverage in the unfortunate event an employee gets hurt while at work. In these cases, workers' compensation insurance will pay for the full costs of any necessary medical treatment. If an employee cannot return to work due to an injury he or she sustained while on the job, then workers’ comp will pay a percentage of his or her lost wages. In Colorado, some classes of employees, such as real estate agents and federal employees, are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. 

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Larimer County workplace brain injury attorney

A head injury can be one of the most dangerous and life-altering situations a person can face on the job. In regard to the workplace, most head injuries are the result of a fall. It is more common for physical laborers, such as construction workers, to suffer a fall as a result of working conditions, but it is possible for an office worker to fall and receive a head injury, too. Regardless of the circumstances, a traumatic brain injury can be devastating. If you sustain head trauma at work, you may be entitled to benefits for medical expenses or lost wages. 

Symptoms of Head Injuries

After falling and hitting your head, it is recommended you seek medical attention immediately. This is especially important to ensure that you receive workers’ compensation. A doctor will be able to verify the severity of your injury to report to your employer and workers’ compensation representative. This will allow you to be eligible for benefits such as compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Head injuries are also not always apparent right after a fall or accident. If the following symptoms appear after you fall, be sure to visit a doctor:

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Ft. Collins Work Accident Lawyer

Workers’ compensation claims involve many types of workplace injuries, including falls and motor vehicle collisions. Some of the most traumatizing work injuries come in the form of severe burns. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 486,000 Americans were hospitalized due to serious burns in 2016, and here in the state of Colorado, burn injuries are not uncommon for workers in the construction and oil and gas industries. If you or a loved one suffered a burn injury while at work, it is time to seek experienced legal representation to ensure your rights are protected.

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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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Greeley, Colorado 80634 |
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