The aftermath of an on-the-job car accident

Jan 01 2015

Some of our readers might remember a time when advice columns were a staple of daily newspapers. Dear Abby, Ask Landers and others dispensed advice to the lovelorn, neighbors annoyed with the person next door and co-workers fed up with someone at the office.

One of today’s surviving sages is Harriette Cole, a syndicated columnist who recently received a letter from a Denver woman whose husband was recently “seriously hurt” and cannot work as a result. Though the letter was short on details, it said her husband was injured in a car accident and that he has applied for workers’ compensation.

The letter writer doesn’t mention if her husband was on the job when he was injured in the accident. If he was not working at the time of the crash, his workers’ comp claim is destined for the wastebasket. But let’s assume he was delivering packages, running errands for his office, on his way to a sales meeting or some other work-specific task or duty making him eligible for Colorado workers’ compensation benefits.

Like every other injured Colorado worker, he had a mere four days to notify his employer of the on-the-job injury.

Because the man was “seriously hurt,” it sounds as if he will miss more than three shifts or three days at work, which means he can be eligible for temporary disability payments (also known as wage replacement).  Those benefits will end when the husband returns to work or he is given a release by the authorized treating physician that he can return to modified work or regular work.

The insurer can also request to suspend or end the benefits, often claiming that the claimant is able to return to work.

For workers seriously injured, this can be a time to speak with an attorney who understands insurance company tactics, who knows the workers’ comp system and who can use the law to protect people who have been hurt on the job.