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Colorado Workers’ Compensation Law

September 29, 2022

Workers’ compensation laws in this state were established through the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act of 1915. The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DOWC) oversees this system that requires just about every employer in the state to carry workers’ comp coverage. There are very few exceptions to which employers do not have to carry this coverage under the law.

Colorado Workers’ Compensation Law

Workers’ Compensation Coverage in Colorado

The workers’ compensation law in Colorado helps protect both employers and employees. Employees are protected by the benefits they receive if they sustain a workplace injury, and employers are protected from civil lawsuits filed by injury victims. The insurance will pay the benefits. The money will not come from the employer’s assets.

Full- and part-time employees are covered by workers’ compensation laws in Colorado. Employers are required to display a Notice to Employer of Injury poster in a conspicuous place at all times.

What Injuries Are Covered

Workers’ compensation covers an incredibly broad range of injuries and illnesses. So long as it can be shown that the injury or illness occurred during the course of the employee carrying out job-related duties, they should be able to receive coverage. This includes:

  • Traumatic injuries
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Occupational cancers
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Mental and emotional trauma

Types of Coverage Available

All medical expenses caused by the workplace injury or illness will be covered through workers’ compensation benefits. This includes emergency medical expenses as well as ongoing treatment, physical therapy, prescription medications, medical devices, and more.

Additionally, there are various levels of disability coverage designed to help if an injured employee misses work and loses income.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

These benefits are designed to pay an employee who misses more than three days of work and cover two-thirds of the employee’s wages for the duration of the disability that prevents them from working.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)

These benefits are paid if a person can work, but at a job that pays less income. The TPD benefits pay two-thirds of the difference between the worker’s original wages and the current wages.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

These benefits are paid if a person suffers from a permanent loss of function to a body part or bodily system (digestive, respiratory, nervous systems). These benefits can be broken into scheduled impairment or non-scheduled impairment.

  • Scheduled impairment. This relates to the loss of function in fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, legs, eyes, hearing, or vision. A schedule determines the value of compensation.
  • Non-scheduled impairment. This relates to the loss of function of body parts not listed in the schedule of impairment. This can include the lungs, spine, and even mental functioning. An impairment rating is assigned by the treating physician.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

These benefits occur when a person sustains an injury that leaves them permanently disabled and unable to earn wages. These benefits will pay for two-thirds of the weekly wage individual was earning at the time the injury occurred. These benefits will continue for the entire lifetime of the employee.

Deadlines for Work Injury Claims

Information available from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment indicates that individuals should report their injury or illness to their employer within 10 days from discovering the injury or illness or from diagnosis. Another deadline related to these claims is the workers’ compensation statute of limitations, which is two years from the date an injury occurs. If you or a loved one was injured on the job, a Denver workers’ comp attorney may be able to help during a free consultation.