According to the summary of Work Related Injuries in Colorado published by the Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation, amputations accounted for 119 of the workers’ compensation claims in 2008 that involved time missed from work. Amputation is the removal of a body extremity as a result of trauma or as part of a surgical procedure to control infection or other problems. Amputation may occur at work if your limbs become caught in a machine, if there is an accident when using sharp objects or if you are involved in some other accident that severs an extremity or that causes a surgeon to need to remove one of your extremities.
Amputation of one or more of your body parts can have a serious impact on your life. You may need expensive medical treatment, including the attachment of a prosthesis when possible to replace the lost part of limb. You may require physical therapy, pain medication, surgical interventions and treatment to deal with any resulting problems, complications infections that develop as a result of the lost limb or your body’s rejection of the prosthesis. You may also be unable to perform the job you had before an amputation occurred. Your employer is obligated to compensate you for the losses that you endured as a result of an amputation that occurred on the job. At the Dominick Law Firm, our Boulder Colorado workers’ compensation attorneys will help you to get the benefits you deserve. Contact is today at 303-446-2644 for a free consultation to learn how we help after amputations.
Colorado Workers’ Compensation and Amputations
Compensation for amputation includes not just standard workers’ compensation benefits such as payment of your medical costs and compensation for temporary disability. In the state of Colorado, you are also compensated for the loss of the limb. This monetary benefit paid to you is established by statute and is equal to a certain number of weeks, depending upon what part of your body was lost in the work accident.
Colorado defines the number of weeks you will be paid for the monetary benefit for your loss of limb in section 8-42-107. For example, under 8-42-107:
- The loss of a leg above the foot including the ankle at or very near the hip joint; or the loss of an arm at the shoulder or above the hand, including the wrist; entitles you to 208 weeks of benefits.
- The loss of a hand below your wrist entitles you to 104 weeks of benefits.
- The loss of an index finger at the distal joint entitles you to nine weeks of benefits.
These are just a few examples of the full list found in section 8-42-107. It is also important to note that if injury to one of your limbs or extremities is so severe that the body part is rendered unusable, this is considered the equivalent of amputation for purposes of making a workers’ compensation claim.
Unfortunately, while you are entitled to these benefits, sometimes your employer may try to argue that your injury was not work related or that you are not as severely injured as you claim. When this occurs, it is your burden to prove that your job tasks led to the amputation and your burden to prove the severity of your condition as well as that it prevents you from working. You do not ever need to prove your employer was negligent in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits, but meeting your burden of proof can still sometimes be challenging, especially if you did not actually lose the limb but instead the limb is just significantly impaired.
The Dominick Law Firm can help you to understand your rights under Colorado workers’ compensation laws and under the specific policy your employer has in place. Our Boulder workers’ compensation firm has assisted clients with workers’ comp claims throughout Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Erie, Broomfield, Greeley, Ft. Collins, Superior, Denver and the entire Colorado Front Range. If you live in this area and need assistance understanding or enforcing your rights after an amputation, contact us today at 303-447-2644 or using our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help.