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Workplace accidents happen every day in Colorado Springs and throughout the United States. That’s why workers’ compensation insurance is required by federal law for most employers. Accordingly, injured workers can receive workers’ compensation benefits for their medical expenses and missed wages. If you were injured at work and need assistance with filing a workers’ comp claim, the Colorado Springs workplace accident lawyers from Zinda Law Group can help.
Although applying for workers’ compensation may seem simple, there could be issues with your claim. Your claim might be dismissed by your employer or the insurance provider, and you might not receive the full amount of compensation you may be entitled to. In some cases, a lawsuit is necessary to attain compensation.
For a free legal consultation with a workplace accidents lawyer serving Colorado Springs, call 800-863-5312
What is Workers’ Compensation?
In an ideal world, workers’ compensation benefits would not be necessary. However, with employers having the power to direct workers to engage in dangerous work-related activities, workers needed a way to protect their interests and livelihoods. Accordingly, the federal government mandates that companies maintain workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits to employees who sustain injuries while performing their job-related duties.
In Colorado, if an employer has one or more employees, they are obligated to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, regardless of whether the workers are part-time or full-time, or even a family member, anyone who receives payment for the work that they perform is presumed to be an employee under the law.
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Workers’ Compensation Benefits
While each state oversees running its own workers’ compensation system, injured workers across the United States can recover similar benefits. For example, the typical workers’ compensation package in Colorado covers:
- Lost wages
- Medical care
- Ongoing care
- Death expenses
- Disability benefits
However, if you were to become ill or injured outside of the workplace, these workers’ compensation benefits are less likely to be available. Additionally, employees who intentionally injure themselves or significantly contribute to the accident occurring may not be eligible for the foregoing benefits.
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How Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Paid?
How an injured worker receives workers’ compensation benefits is largely dependent on the way that his workers’ comp claim was resolved. Typically, after a workers’ compensation claim is filed, the employer’s insurance provider will either accept or reject the claim or perform further investigation into the circumstances of the injury.
If the injured worker’s claim is approved, then the insurance company will begin to pay medical expenses related to the injury. However, if the claim is rejected, the injured worker can appeal and should probably hire a workplace injury lawyer to advocate on their behalf. With the assistance of a personal injury lawyer, the injured worker can negotiate settlements with the insurance company, and, if necessary, go to trial to receive benefits.
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Third-party Workplace Accident Lawsuits
In some cases, the worker’s compensation claim is approved but the monetary benefits don’t amount to what is needed to cover all the damages. Sometimes, even a successful compensation claim will only pay out a small sum for the injury that represents only a fraction of what their income would’ve been if they weren’t injured. Furthermore, the benefits from workers’ compensation do not cover the non-economic losses the victim has suffered because of their injury at all. However, a personal injury claim may allow you to recover such losses.
To this point, filing a third-party lawsuit might help a workplace accident victim get more money to cover monthly living costs and prevent financial devastation. In most cases, unless the employer wasn’t carrying workers’ compensation coverage, or the injury was caused by their gross negligence, injured workers cannot file a lawsuit against the employer. Typically, you must seek compensation from a third party. After an attorney knows the facts of the case, they may suggest bringing a claim as against the following:
- Building/property owners
- At-fault drivers
- Manufactures of defective equipment
- Manufacturers of toxic substances
Although it’s easiest to try to point all the blame at one person or practice for causing the accident, the reality is that there are many reasons why workplace accidents occur. The Colorado Springs workplace accident lawyers from Zinda Law Group explore every possibility before bringing a workplace accident claim, and you can feel easier knowing that your interests are being protected.
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Occupations with the highest rate of injuries and accidents
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), ten occupations accounted for nearly 40% of all job-related injuries in 2020. In order from highest to lowest incident rate of injury, the top-ten most injurious occupations are:
- Nursing assistant
- Registered nurse
- Laborers and freight, stock and material mover
- Heavy truck and tractor-trailer driver
- Stockers and order filler
- Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurse
- Retail salesperson
- Personal care aide
- Production workers, all other
- Maintenance and repair worker
As the BLS report indicates, occupational injuries and illness data collected in 2020 included cases of COVID-19 when the worker was infected because of performing their work-related duties. While the pandemic accounts for the rise in the rate of work-related injuries for nurses, it is important to remember that the demands of an industry at any given time might make a work accident in that particular industry more prevalent.
Most Common Causes of Colorado Spring Workplace injuries
The number of total nonfatal injuries in 2020 was 2.1 million, which is down from 2.7 million in 2019. But even though there’s been a year-over-year decrease in the number of workplace accidents, there is still room for improvement when it comes to employee safety. The fact that there are common causes of workplace injuries speaks to their preventability of some accidents and to the injurious nature of some professions.
The most common causes of workplace injuries include:
Overexertion occurs when you push yourself too hard physically. According to the National Safety Council, excessive physical effort was the cause of 255,490 nonfatal injuries involving days away from work in 2020. Tasks performed by employees that led to injury often involved:
To combat work fatigue, it is important that the employer knows his workers’ limits and assigns work that accommodates them. For employees, they must know what their limit is and be clear when they believe that are approaching it. However, work environments often incentivize people to extend themselves beyond their limits.
Slips, trips, and falls
Injury data from the CDC shows that 27% of the nonfatal work injuries in 2019 were related to slips, trips, and falls. Slips, trips, and falls often occur in work environments where there are:
- Slippery floors
- Frequent liquid spills
- Damaged or uneven floors
Of course, many factors can contribute to a slip and fall accident at work, but these factors can be mitigated. Certain workplaces have standards and procedures that reduce slip and fall accidents, and others do not. Also, the number of slip and falls depends on the industry. For example, the kitchen floor in a restaurant is more likely to be slippery than the floor in an office building.
Read More: Slip and Fall Injury Lawyers
The leading cause of death across all major industry groups is motor vehicle crashes. Motor vehicle crashes occur for a number of reasons, including:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Speeding, etc.
With so many people engaging in these types of driving practices, the working people on the road are at constant risk of injury. If a negligent driver caused an accident involving your work vehicle, you may have several options when it comes to seeking financial compensation for your injuries.
In general, an employee’s task can be done one of two ways: the easy way and the right way. Of course, cutting corners to finish tasks quickly can save precious time during the workday, but it should never be done at the expense of health and safety. Unfortunately, in many instances, people ignore proper work procedures and end up endangering their co-workers. Usually, employers cuts corners to:
- Save company time
- To meet unreasonable demands
- Provide a temporary fix to a problem requiring a long-term solution
Unfortunately, occupational health and safety inspections often reveal that employers consistently violate the laws put into place to promote worker health and safety. For example, a 2017 report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health showed that the increase in construction fatalities in New York state was due to systematic violations of safety regulations and code requirements.
To our team of personal injury lawyers, there is nothing more reprehensible than an employer prioritizing the profits of their company over the health and safety of their employees. If you were injured in a workplace environment where it was routine or customary practice to ignore safety protocols, a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney can start helping you today.
Can I bring a claim on behalf of a loved one who died while at work?
The term “wrongful death” refers to a claim that a surviving family member may make after a loved one dies in a tragic accident. Under Colorado state law, surviving family members have the right to bring such a claim to recover damages associated with the loss of their loved one. Colorado Revised Statute §§ 13-21-201, known as the Wrongful Death Act, specifically provides the right of action to the survivors of a person who died as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
All states permit wrongful death claims, but Colorado has specific requirements as to who can file a claim and how much compensation they can receive. Under Colorado state law, the following people have the right to file a wrongful death suit:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving parents
- A representative of the deceased
Colorado is unique in that its wrongful death statute prevents some potential claimants from bringing a wrongful death claim until after a certain amount of time has passed. According to Colorado state law, only the spouse can file suit in the first year after death. For the surviving children and parents, they must wait until within the second year after death. Other states’ statutes do not preclude wrongful death claims in this same fashion.
Does the Statute of Limitations Apply to a Wrongful Death Case?
In short, the answer is yes. According to Colorado’s wrongful death statute, family members generally have a two-year window when they can bring a claim. Importantly, the two-year clock begins to run on the date of the death.
However, there are some exceptions to the general rule. For example, if the victim dies in a car accident, the widow has three years to file as opposed to two. Additionally, the two-year window may also be extended if the defendant engaged in a cover-up so that important evidence could not be found.
It is important to note that these exceptions are exceptions because their application is exceedingly rare. Whether you bring your claim within the window or whether any of these exceptions applies can certainly make or break a claim. If you have any doubts about whether your claim is still valid under the statute of limitations, you should dial (800) 863-5312 and speak with a Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer right away.
Is There a Difference Between Death Benefits and Wrongful Death Claims?
When compared to a workers’ compensation claim for death benefits, surviving family members often obtain substantially more money through wrongful death lawsuits. The main downside to filing a death benefits claim as opposed to a wrongful death suit is that the petitioner gives up the opportunity to sue their loved one’s employer for damages. Additionally, there are no rewards for intangible losses such as reduced quality of life or loss of companionship.
The biggest incentive to file a wrongful death claim as opposed to a claim for benefits is that a wrongful death claim has the potential for higher compensation, including benefits for intangible losses. Additionally, punitive damages, which are awarded to deter future wrongdoing, are available and there is no limit on how much they are worth. However, wrongful death claims often take months or even years to resolve and can involve arduous and emotional battles.
Contact our Colorado Springs workplace accident lawyers today
After you call the Colorado Springs workplace accident lawyers from Zinda Law Group, we can use our legal expertise to assist you with your workers’ compensation claim, help clear any obstacles in your way, and we can advise you on your legal options for suing the employer or a third party.
If you’ve been in an accident at work, call a Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer from Zinda Law Group. Our attorneys have the experience to help pursue compensation on your behalf. Additionally, we offer a No Win, No Fee Guarantee, which means that you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict in your case.
Call (800) 863-5312 to speak with an experienced Colorado Springs personal injury attorney from Zinda Law Group today.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA BY THE NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (2016-2020)
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA (2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2021), JOE CAPUTO (2019-2021), BURGESS WILLIAMS (2019-2020), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020), JOE CAPUTO (2016 – 2020) & BURGESS WILLIAMS (2016-2017)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA & JOE CAPUTO