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Colorado Workers' Compensation Laws

UPDATED: March 30, 2011

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Colorado workers' compensation laws control the kinds of benefits available when a worker becomes injured or ill and cannot work, and the procedures through which these benefits are awarded in Colorado.

Claims under Colorado Workers' Compensation Laws

Physical Injuries Caused by Work-site Accidents: Employees suffering injuries in workplace accidents are typically covered by their employer's Colorado workers' compensation insurance. However, if a worker causes his own injury, or is using drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident resulting in his injury, his employer's insurance will not cover the injury. Similarly, if an employee has broken his employer's rules or statutory requirements and is injured as a result, workers' compensation insurance will not cover such an injury.

Occupational Illnesses: Occupational illnesses are covered under Colorado workers' compensation laws and include those diseases which come about because an employee is continually exposed to an unsafe work environment, or from repetitive motions performed at work that cause the worker to develop a disease.

Death: When an employee unfortunately dies because of his employment-related disease or injury, his surviving dependents may be eligible for death benefits under Colorado workers' compensation laws.

Colorado Workers' Compensation Benefits

Treatment of Injury or Illness: An employer's insurance carrier will pay for treatment of a worker's employment-connected injury or illness. Such treatment includes doctors' appointments, hospital bills, and any other procedures required to address the injury or illness.

Reimbursement of Mileage: If an employee loses wages and incurs expense because he has to travel to and from doctors' appointments, his mileage costs and the wages he loses may be reimbursed.

Death and Burial Costs: A worker's relatives are eligible for death benefits to compensate for his lost earning capacity if the employee dies because of his occupational injury or illness. Dependents of the deceased employee must file a Dependents' Notice and Claim for Compensation (Form WC-18) in order to claim death benefits. Additionally, as much as $7,000 may be paid to a deceased worker's dependents.

Replacement Income Benefits: Benefits to replace lost income make up a large part of many Colorado workers' compensation claims. Replacement income benefits are divided into four categories:

1) Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD): If you are totally disabled and cannot work while you recover, you may receive 2/3 of your average pre-injury weekly wages each week under TTD.

2) Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD): While an employee is recovering from his injury or illness and he can perform some work duties, but cannot go back to work full-time or perform all of his work duties and must work for less money, the employee gets 2/3 of the difference between his pre- and post-injury average weekly wage.

3) Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD): An employee is completely unable to work because of his work injury. The worker is entitled to 2/3 of the employee's average weekly wage before the illness or injury.

4) Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD): PPD may be available when the injured or ill worker will be indefinitely impaired by the injury or disease, but can still work in some capacity. A statutory schedule and a consideration of the part of the body affected will determine the amount of possible benefits.

 Colorado Workers' Compensation Statutes

For a complete list of the relevant Colorado workers' compensation statutes, consult the Workers' Compensation Act of Colorado in the Colorado Revised Statutes.

Employers Subject To Workers' Compensation: Workers' Compensation, Title 8, Art.41; Covered Employees: Workers' Compensation, Title 8, Art.41; Benefits: Workers' Compensation, Title 8, Art.42 §§ 105-107; Claims Procedure: Workers' Compensation, Title 8, Art.43 §§ 101,103.

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