Will an injured Colorado man be eligible for workers’ comp?

Dec 03 2014

The first surgery lasted six hours. The second major operation lasted nearly three hours. The family and friends of a Colorado man seriously injured by falling boulders west of Denver hope that the surgeries signal a return to health for the 49-year-old.

The Grand Junction man was reportedly driving a work van when boulders as large as six feet in diameter rumbled onto a highway near Carbondale. The van apparently slammed head-on into one of the boulders. He suffered internal injuries and broken bones when he was pinned by the steering wheel.

He is listed in serious condition in a Denver hospital.

One of the questions that many readers might ask about the incident: is the man eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to pay for his medical care and replace a portion of his wages? News reports indicate that he was engaged in work-related driving when the accident happened, so it is possible that his medical expenses will be covered.

That will be determined by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and the employer’s insurer. 

Unfortunately, in some situations insurers hope to avoid paying claims involving large medical expenses, such as those incurred by surgeries. Far too often, insurers also try to reject claims that could involve substantial time away from work for the injured employee.

In those cases, the injured worker can be forced to choose between accepting the insurance company’s rejection or fighting for the benefits they believe they deserve. An appeal of the rejection can involve high stakes, especially for the worker. After all, he or she could be on the hook for many thousands of dollars for surgeries, hospitalization, physical therapy and other enormous medical costs.

For many workers facing that possibility, getting help from an experienced Denver workers’ comp attorney in fighting the insurance company makes sense.