You do not have to prove that someone else caused your work-related injury or illness to qualify for workers’ compensation in Colorado. You do, however, need to provide evidence that you suffered a bodily injury or illness that is related to your occupation before an insurance company will offer benefits. Although every case is unique, the following are common types of evidence that may be available to support your workers’ comp claim.
Always report your accident or injury to your employer immediately. While most states give workers 30 days to file an initial report of injury or illness, the deadline to submit a written report to your employer in Colorado is just 4 days. The best way to build a strong workers’ comp claim is by notifying your boss or a floor manager immediately upon suffering the injury or learning of an illness.
Telling your employer will lead to both a Date of Injury and First Report of Injury form, which can be important evidence for your claim moving forward. These documents can record your personal account of what happened, as well as list key facts about the incident, such as the location, date and time. You should also create an injury journal on your own, where you provide a detailed personal account of exactly what took place before, during and after your accident.
Eyewitnesses are people who saw your accident or injury take place, such as your coworkers or a customer. Eyewitnesses can have important information about how or why the injury occurred. Identify anyone present when your accident took place. Write down their names and ask for their contact information, as well as if they would be willing to give a statement about what they saw. The more detail you can get from eyewitnesses, the better.
If a hazard or defect in your workplace caused your injury, take photographs of the issue before you leave. If you were injured by damaged equipment, a wet floor or a missing guardrail, for instance, take a picture of the hazard before your employer has a chance to make repairs. Take photographs of your injury as it heals, as well, and any damage to your clothes. Most workplaces also have surveillance cameras that may have caught your accident on tape. Ask your employer for copies of any accident footage.
Medical evidence is key for a workers’ compensation claim. An insurance company will require proof of your injury or illness, often in the form of your medical records, prescriptions, x-rays, treatment plans, and letters or testimony from your doctor. If you wish to file a workers’ comp claim for a nonphysical injury, you may need evidence from a psychologist or psychiatrist. Although medical records are typically enough to prove a workers’ comp claim, some cases require testimony from medical experts to establish your diagnosis and how it will impact the rest of your life.
As an injured worker in Colorado, you already have enough to deal with, such as medical treatments and rehabilitation. You do not also need to take on the legal process required to file a workers’ compensation claim alone. Hiring a Denver workers’ compensation lawyer can take the legal burden off of your shoulders, allowing you to concentrate on healing and your health.
Your lawyer can preserve and collect evidence to support your workers’ comp claim on your behalf, requesting copies of important reports and records. An attorney can interview eyewitnesses, hire qualified experts, communicate with your employer and take other steps to help you recover fair compensation. Your lawyer can also negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf, protecting you from settling for less than you deserve. Request a free consultation with The Fang Law Firm today for more information.