What to Do After a Workplace Accident
Step 1: Go See a Company-Appointed Doctor
Your health should absolutely be your first priority after a workplace accident. Go see a doctor — just check in with your employer to make sure you’re visiting a physician whose care will be legally recognized in your workers’ compensation claim.
Step 2: Report the Incident in Writing
No matter how good of terms you’re on with your boss, it’s important that you report your workplace accident correctly. By formally submitting a report in writing, you are in turn protecting yourself from potential consequences that could impact your workers’ compensation claim.
For instance, Colorado law states that failing to report the incident in writing within four days of its occurrence could mean losing up to one day’s compensation for each day that your report is late.
Timelines vary when the incident in question involves an occupational disease rather than an instantly obvious injury. The best thing to do is take immediate action when you know or suspect something is wrong.
Step 3: Talk to Your Boss About Filing
Assuming your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, they should report your accident to their insurance carrier within 10 days of the incident. If they fail to do so, or if they do not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can still apply for the benefits yourself.
In Colorado, the employee application process begins by filling out a form called “Workers’ Claim for Compensation,” which is provided by the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Step 4: Let an Attorney Help
You are not required to have an attorney in order to file for workers’ compensation, but if your employer is uncooperative, if anything about the application process is unclear, or if you’ve already applied and had your application denied, an experienced lawyer can take that stress off your shoulders and get your case back on track.