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Workers Comp or Military Disability? What You Need to Know About Re-Injury

If you are a veteran who has returned from service with what is known as a "service-connected disability" - or in other words, a disability acquired during your time in service - then you are definitely not alone. In recent years, the number of veterans reporting long-term injuries or disabilities has risen steadily. The question is, what happens if you re-injure or aggravate these injuries on your civilian job in Colorado? In this blog post, I'll explore this question further.

What are some of the most common forms of a service connected disability?

Some of the most frequently reported service disabilities for which veterans are receiving VA compensation include:

  • Hearing loss and Tinnitus
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Scarring
  • Musculoskeletal issues (knee, ankle and spinal injuries)
  • Sciatic Nerve Paralysis

There are clearly several disabilities on this list for which a veteran could and should be receiving ongoing VA disability payments. However, there are also circumstances in which an injury has been treated and considered healed, or which disability payments do not need to continue.

Many veterans remain or return to Colorado to take civilian jobs, which may or may not be related to skills they learned in the military. Sometimes, in the normal course of their workday, previously existing injuries become an issue once again. There are also, of course, accidents that occur on the job, which can aggravate an injury that was previously treated

Can I receive Colorado workers compensation benefits for an injury that originated while I was in military service?

This can be a difficult road to navigate. If you are not currently receiving VA disability benefits, then it could be likely you will be able to receive Coloroado workers comp benefits, including covering your medical treatment. There are a lot of moving parts in workers compensation claims, including the circumstances leading to the accident or re-injury. These details include where the accident occurred, whether it was due to faulty equipment, and other pieces of information necessary for determining whether the employer is liable. There are so many possible scenarios that it's difficult to guarantee compensation is a possibility.

However, if you were already receiving some form of VA disability compensation, Colorado (and most states) will not allow you to receive both forms of benefits. The best advice if this is the case is to see a doctor and have your injury or disability evaluated thoroughly, in order to determine if it's something that is related to your pre-existing condition, whether it can be healed or rehabilitated quickly, or whether it will be a long-term medical problem.

Based on that evaluation, it should be easier to determine which form of compensation will provide more sufficient coverage for the injured party, and that is usually the route worth pursuing.

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