If you are injured in the workplace or as a result of your job, Colorado law may entitle you to various forms of compensation. You can get coverage for medical bills, imaging and lab studies, and loss of salary. While many types of common injuries will make you eligible for worker’s comp, there are some notable exceptions.
There are two main types of injuries that can result in workers’ compensation. One kind comes about as a result of an accident in the workplace. For example, an employee falls on the stairs at work and breaks a bone. It is important to know that the accident does not have to be the employer’s fault in order to entitle you to compensation. Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, you do not need to show that anyone did anything wrong.
The other often-compensated type of injury is an occupational trauma or disease. Rather than resulting form a particular incident, this kind of injury comes about due to repeated exposure to harmful substances or repetitive motion on the job. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one such condition and is prevalent among employees who spend most of their day typing.
Mental and emotional illness
Emotional or mental illness related to the job can also result in workers’ co mpensation eligibility. While mental illness can be something of a gray area, especially when its cause is hard to define, valid conditions often create a real need for workers’ compensation. As with physical injuries, a mental illness can stem from one event or from repeated exposure to stressors. For example, an employee can witness an extremely traumatic incident and begin to suffer from PTSD as a result. In another type of case, constant elevated stress on the job can lead to an anxiety disorder. Like physical injuries, mental illnesses can lead to medical bills, decreased productivity and lifestyle limitations.
There are some circumstances under which a workplace injury will not be covered under workers’ compensation. One of these is a so-called “act of God” – if you are at work when an earthquake starts and you are injured, workers’ compensation will not cover you. Another category consists of injuries that happen when you are doing an activity at work that is not related to your job, whether that is goofing off or performing a task you are not qualified to do and that is not part of your duties. You also cannot get workers’ compensation if you hurt yourself purposely.
Workers’ compensation is governed by many rules, some of which are highly complicated. Many people make the mistake of just assuming they are not eligible. Speaking with a qualified attorney as soon as possible can help you get the help you need when you are injured.