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What is workers' compensation?

An injury that occurs while at work or while performing work-related duties, can negatively impact an individual's life in many ways. From an office worker who suffers a repetitive stress injury to a construction worker who is seriously injured in a scaffolding fall, workplace injuries are not only physically painful, but also impede one's ability to function normally and return to work.

Anyone, regardless of age or profession, can suffer a workplace injury. In Colorado, employers with one or more employees are required to have workers' compensation insurance. In the event an employee is injured at work or while performing work duties, workers' compensation insurance helps pay costs associated with medical care and treatment and lost wages.

If an employee suffers a workplace injury, he or she should take immediate action to report the injury. The employee must then select an employer-approved doctor to provide medical care. An official claim detailing matters related to a worker's injuries, medical costs and lost wages is then submitted to the employer's insurance.

In cases involving relatively minor injuries where an employee doesn't miss more than three days of work, a claim is typically approved and an individual is compensated for any injury-related medical expenses and lost wages. In cases involving more serious accidents or where an employer disputes or insurance company denies a claim, it may be wise to consult with an attorney.

Workers' compensation laws and procedures are notoriously complex and confusing. An attorney who handles workers' compensation matters can answer questions, provide advice and help an injured worker fight to receive fair compensation for injury-related expenses.

Source: Colorado Department of Labor, "Workers' Compensation: Disability and Benefits," 2014

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