As Colorado workers’ compensation attorneys, we frequently get asked by friends, family, and potential clients whether an injured worker needs to retain an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim. Ultimately, there is no absolute requirement that you have an attorney represent you in a workers’ compensation claim in Colorado.
In reality though, it is in your best interests to at least speak with an attorney to understand what to expect. And though it is not required, hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to represent you is generally a wise course of action. The following are just two of the many reasons it is beneficial to have an attorney represent you when filing your claim.
It’s Your Health, It’s Your Job
Workers’ compensation claims involve two of the most important aspects of your well-being: your health and your job. When injured on the job, workers have two needs: (1) a need for full and beneficial medical care; and (2) a need to retain their job without any adverse consequences. Oftentimes, the system protects both of these interests, but sometimes unscrupulous employers or insurance companies can make it difficult for an employee to obtain both of these necessary outcomes.
Attorneys can help foresee and avoid potential pitfalls in reaching these goals. Attorneys are also trained advocates who can confront employers and insurance companies on your behalf if they try to prohibit you from receiving the care you need or subject you to adverse actions in the workplace because you filed a claim. Additionally, insurance companies and employers have their own attorneys, and having one to represent you helps to level the playing field.
Rules, Deadlines, and Changes
There are a lot of different interconnected rules and laws that govern Colorado workers’ compensation claims. The result is a somewhat complicated system where almost every action is governed by a rule. For example, there are rules about what doctor you can visit and how much influence your employer has in your choice of doctor.
Embedded in these rules and laws are deadlines - and lots of them. These include deadlines for reporting your injury, deadlines for requesting a hearing on a denied claim, deadlines for appealing an negative decision, and many more. Failure to meet key deadlines could harm or even ruin your case, whether or not you knew about the deadline. A key part of an attorney’s job is to know the relevant deadlines and ensure they are met.
Moreover, these rules and deadlines can and do change. Failure to know about these changes might impact your claim. Attorneys specialize in the law and stay up to date on recent changes in relevant law. Moreover, they understand whether these changes will affect your claim, negatively or positively.
Let’s Talk About It
If you’ve been injured on the job and have questions about whether your injury is covered, what you should do next, and whether an attorney can help, contact us. At the Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group, we’d be happy to help you make an informed decision in your case.