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Workers' compensation: Who is covered, and what is compensable?

Workplace injuries are suffered by Colorado workers every day -- regardless of the industries in which people are employed. While all employees likely know about workers' compensation, there may be many questions about the insurance program. Knowledge about who is eligible to claim benefits and which injuries or illnesses are covered is important. Every injury and its circumstances are unique, and the appropriate person to consult with is an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Not all injuries involve broken bones and other visible signs. An individual who spent years working in an environment where smoking was allowed may develop lung cancer, and a person who carries out repetitive motions all day may develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Not many people realize that occupational diseases such as these are also compensable. Work-related injuries are not only those that occur on the premises of the employer or a job site. If any injury is suffered while a worker is doing something for a company -- such as driving a company vehicle that is involved in an accident -- benefits may be claimed.

Employers in Colorado who have one or more employees must carry workers' compensation insurance -- although some exceptions exist. Those may include domestic workers such as housekeepers, nannies and babysitters. Questions may also exist about coverage for seasonal and undocumented workers. Injuries that happened during actions of horseplay or instances in which the company's safety rules were disregarded may not be covered. Benefits for injuries suffered while an employee was under the influence of alcohol or drugs may prove difficult to claim.

It is not uncommon for injured workers in Colorado to consult with a seasoned attorney who is skilled in the navigation of workers' compensation claims. An experienced lawyer can also provide information about injuries suffered at a work function -- even if alcohol was consumed. Other claims that may require legal assistance include those in which job-related mental injuries occurred such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing a traumatic workplace accident.

Source: FindLaw, "What Types of Injuries are Compensable Under Workers' Compensation?", Accessed on Sept. 28, 2016

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