Colorado Workers’ Compensation FAQ

If you get injured at work in Colorado, Bell & Pollock, your Denver workers’ compensation attorney, can help. The legalities of workers’ comp can be confusing and frustrating, but we have the answers you need.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation covers injuries and illnesses sustained in the workplace that are related to your occupation. If the Division of Workers’ Compensation determines that an injury or illness is work-related, workers’ compensation covers medical bills, lost wages up to two-thirds of an employee’s pay, and in the event of the worker’s death, benefits to the worker’s family.

What happens when I file a workers’ comp claim?

First, notify your employer after you’ve been injured or become ill as a result of your job. You have four days to do so, and your employer will file an insurance claim within ten days after notification.

When reporting an illness, the date of your diagnosis by a medical professional counts as the date of injury. You provide a written statement to your employer, who then completes an Employers’ First Report of Injury to file an insurance claim.

You may still get benefits even if you notify your employer after the four days, but this puts you at risk of losing some of your workers’ compensation benefits.

Why do I have to go to an Authorized Treating Physician?

If you don’t go to a doctor your employer approves, you risk losing your workers’ comp benefits. Your employer will most likely give you a list of approved physicians and allow you to select one from that list. As long as you choose one of these physicians, your benefits are safe.

Sometimes your employer won’t give you an approved list of physicians. If this is the case, you can go to any doctor of your choice without jeopardizing your benefits. However, you must be evaluated by a medical professional to receive workers’ compensation.

Can I go to a chiropractor, naturopath, or another medical specialist?

No. Chiropractors, naturopaths, and many other kinds of medical specialists are not covered by workers’ compensation benefits and are not usually on the approved list of doctors provided by your employer.

With sufficient reason, you may be allowed to switch to a specialist. However, you must discuss this with the insurance company first to find out if the change in medical care is appropriate and necessary for your injury or illness.

How will I be compensated for my time away from work while I’m injured or ill?

As a Colorado employee, you have up to 90 days of injury leave once you’ve missed three days of work. The first three days use sick leave. After that, you receive 100% of your wages during the 90 day period.

Each day is measured in occurrences as opposed to hours. This measurement means that any time, no matter how brief, that you take off from work related to your injury counts as one complete occurrence. You do not need to use a full day for it to count as one occurrence.

What types of benefits can I receive?

Permanent Partial Disability and Permanent Total Disability apply if your work-related injury prevents you from returning to your job in the same capacity as before you were injured.

Permanent Partial Disability means you receive compensation for a limited amount of time based on your injury. You may be able to work in a different role with Permanent Partial Disability.

Permanent Total Disability entitles you to two-thirds of your average weekly wages until you reach age 65.

In the event of a worker’s death, their family receives benefits. The worker’s spouse receives these benefits for life or until they remarry. Children receive benefits until they reach age 18 (or if they are a full-time student, age 21).

Can I refuse workers’ compensation benefits?

No. If you are awarded workers’ compensation benefits, you cannot voluntarily decline them.

Can I lose my workers’ compensation benefits?

Yes. If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your injury, you may lose or decrease your benefits. If your injury is a result of you intentionally not following proper safety regulations in the workplace, this also puts your workers’ comp benefits at risk.

What is Maximum Medical Improvement?

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is the point where an employee no longer needs treatment for their injury. MMI does not necessarily mean you can return to work in the same capacity as before your injury or illness.

Sometimes a person reaches MMI without returning to the same level of health or ability. MMI simply means there is no further treatment recommended for your injury.

What is a modified duty position? Should I take it if my employer offers it to me?

Yes. Consult your physician to ensure the terms comply with any medical restrictions. Think carefully if you consider refusing a modified duty position. If you refuse, your employer will terminate your workers’ compensation benefits.

What if I need medical treatment after my claim is closed?

You may be able to receive compensation for medical treatment despite your closed claim. Claims automatically close after 60 days, so contact your claims adjuster for help with your next steps.

Can I sue someone else if I believe they are responsible for my injury?

Because workers’ compensation benefits protect your employer as much as they protect you, you cannot sue them if you believe your injury was their fault. You also cannot sue another employee at your company, even if you think their negligence caused your injury.

If someone outside of your workplace caused your injury, you might be able to file a subrogation lawsuit to receive damages.

Who can I call if I need help with my claim?

For more information or help filing your claim, you can contact:

  • Your supervisor
  • Your workers’ compensation liaison
  • Your insurance claims adjuster
  • The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Division of Workers’ Compensation
  • State Office of Risk Management
  • Broadspire

If you need help understanding what you are legally entitled to as an employee, call Bell & Pollock, your Denver workers’ compensation attorney. We have experience negotiating on your behalf in workers’ compensation claims, and we’ll make sure you get the benefits you deserve.

If you did not find the answer to your question here, contact us at (720) 613-6736. We are happy to give you any additional information you need.

Contact Us

Call a trusted attorney at Bell & Pollock, P.C. at (303) 795-5900 to get on the road to recovery now. You can also email our firm via the contact firm on this page.

As proud champions of the people, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions, explain the law and your rights, and help you take whatever steps necessary to recover the compensation you’re entitled to. With us in your corner, you can be confident that you have the legal support and representation necessary to successfully resolve your claim.

Don’t delay your recovery for a second longer – and don’t be misguided into thinking that you have to go through the process alone. Our attorneys are here, ready to help – and you won’t have to pay us anything until (or unless) there is a recovery in your case.

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Case Results


CASE: Client was injured by a drunk driver. As a result of the motor vehicle accident, client was rendered a quadriplegic and needed a life care plan.
Outcome: $9,600,000

CASE: Against Insurance company for failure to pay for property damage after a gas and fire explosion.
Outcome: $1,600,000

CASE: Medical malpractice for failure to diagnose a descending aorta aneurism, resulting in death.
Outcome: $1,300,000

CASE: Neck and back injuries from car accident. Client had ongoing symptoms and needed injections for attempted remediation of pain.
Settled for $485,000

CASE: Client was injured in a 2 vehicle collision. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, concussion and multiple injuries to the neck.
Outcome: $6,000,000

CASE: Client was in her car and was T-Boned by a commercial vehicle. Her cerebral spinal fluid leaked and she suffered a concussion and traumatic brain injury with neck and lumbar (low back) injuries. Her neck injury caused radiating pain, numbness and tingling in her arms.
Outcome: $3,400,000

CASE: Client was driving on a rural road when another car crossed the center line and caused a head-on collision in the snow and ice. Client did physical work for a living. Both knees were injured, along with a neck injury.
Outcome: $2,300,000

CASE: Client was driving on South Parker road when another vehicle rapidly changed lanes and rear-ended the client. That vehicle was cited for careless driving. The collision caused a concussion with traumatic brain Injury. Client missed time from work and had a positive correlation between brain scan and neuropsychological test results.
Outcome: $950,000

CASE: Client was rear ended by a dump truck, was then knocked forward and hit another vehicle. Client had a concussion with traumatic brain injury. Client underwent a brain scan which showed hypoperfusion, correlated with her concussion symptoms. Client suffered neck injuries and injuries to her low back.
Outcome: $650,000

CASE: Client was rear-ended. The mechanism of injury from the forces in the collision caused her neck injury and at the same time, damaged her organs inside her throat. Client had swallowing and choking issues.
Outcome: $1,250,000

CASE: Client was in a motor vehicle accident. Both injections in the neck rendered some temporary relief. The Injections were transforaminal epidural steroid injections. Surgery was recommended on the lumbar (low back). The low back was injured by the forces in the collisions.
Outcome: $933,000

CASE: The client was driving in her car and was rear-ended thereby causing injuries to her lower back and neck. Client also suffered a concussion. Client had to undergo facet injections multiple times, through multiple procedures. Client also had cognitive issues which required cognitive training and therapy.
Outcome: $400,000

CASE: Client was entering a highway from an on ramp and was rear-ended by a commercial van. Client tested positive for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and failed conservative treatment. Client underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgey, which involved removal of the first rib to attempt to relieve pressure in the thoracic outlet. Client also suffered a back injury.
Outcome: $750,000

CASE: Client was injured by a drunk driver, who crossed the center line of the road. Client underwent multiple surgeries and could not work. Client was late 40s and needed a modified life care plan.
Outcome: $750,000

CASE: Client was rear ended by a tow truck driver who was a diabetic. The diabetic at fault party was a non-compliant diabetic and claimed he had a syncope episode, and was “blacked out”. Client had a preexisting back condition known and the forces from the collision aggravated, or made worse, the preexisting back condition in addition to, causing neck injuries.
Outcome: $350,000

CASE: Client was a passenger in a car where the driver fell asleep on a country road in the early morning hours. The car rolled multiple times. Client had eye injuries, facial injuries and neck and knee injuries.
Outcome: $850,000

CASE: Client was on the job, driving her own car, when she was rear-ended. She suffered a concussion with traumatic brain injury and pursued Workers Compensation Claim.
Outcome: $150,000

CASE: Client slipped and fell on snow and ice in Central City. He suffered back injuries, that did not require injections.
Outcome: $125,000

CASE: Client slipped and fell on snow and ice on a sidewalk in front of a business. She had to have knee surgery and multiple injections in her back.
Outcome: $175,000

CASE: Client was visiting a friend who was renting a house. Client tripped on untreated, dangerous section of deck and injured his back.
Outcome: $150,000

CASE:Client was rear ended and needed fusion spinal surgery. Insurance proceeds were limited.
Outcome: $125,000

CASE:Client was rear-ended and had to have rotator cuff surgery. Insurance proceeds were limited.
Settled for $65,000

CASE:Client was at Denver International Aiport traveling through Denver, slipped and fell and broke her ankle.
Settled for $118,750

CASE:Client was exposed to mold in a multi-family dwelling that was caused by leaking water.
Settled for $125,000

CASE:Motorcycle accident, reconstructive surgery, post-traumatic stress disorder, neurological injuries
Settled for $1,275,000



I could not have made a better decision than to call Bell & Pollock with my case. Dana Miller and her team were the best.
Brian B.
Jason H.
I appreciate brad and his team the bell and Pollock attorneys are by far the best ones i have ever worked with.
Aliviya D.
Brad Pollock is educated, experienced, and is the world’s greatest attorney. Marlena Elsloo helps him focus in on the most important issues.
Kathy T.
He is very professional and we would recommend Mr. Bell to anyone who is looking for an attorney.
Dianna C.
He was kind, compassionate and knowledgeable, but also tenacious when working with the insurance companies.
Michelle K.
I was blessed to be put in contact with Dana, who not only provided me free feedback and counsel when we spoke on the phone, but also took the time to call me back on multiple occasions to check on me.Dana Miller, you are a sweet, caring and amazing person and I appreciate all your help.
Grady C.