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What is the timeline for filing a workers' compensation claim?

Injured workers in Denver are often urged to take action as soon as possible if they want to claim benefits. But just how soon is that, and what action, or actions, are required in seeking workers' compensation? For the answer, we look to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, which offers a helpful timeline summarizing the claims process and the responsible parties at each step.

First of all, an injured employee has four days within which to file a written injury report with the employer. The employer then has 10 days to communicate with their insurance company regarding the worker's injuries. The insurer may take up to 20 days to admit or deny liability, depending on the nature of the claim.

If the claim is erroneously denied, the worker has 45 days from the date the denial notice was mailed to ask for an expedited hearing on the claim. The worker may also take up to 30 days to challenge any aspects of an insurer's admission of liability. If the injured employee does either of these things, but takes no further action, after six months the insurer can seek to have the claim closed out.

There are some other deadlines which may apply in some more serious situations. For example, if an injured worker is in a continuous period of total disability, he or she will have four weeks from the end of that period within which to file a claim for unemployment. If the employee was killed in the accident, the employer must report it to the state's Division of Workers' Compensation immediately.

Therefore, we can see that while there are several different steps to take at different times, generally the bulk of the activity involved in a workers' compensation claim will occur within the first six months after the workplace accident (although appeals will likely deviate from this timeline). The information is provided for general background on workers' compensation and is not intended as legal advice for any specific situation.

Source: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, "Important Claims Timelines," accessed on Jan. 26, 2018

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