According to Article 41 of the Colorado code, employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance that will provide benefits to workers who experience an on-the-job injury. The benefits provided by workers’ compensation are comprehensive and include medical costs and lost wages. However, there is no requirement that workers compensation benefits include coverage for vocational rehabilitation.
Your rehabilitation rights, therefore, are limited to physical rehabilitation that is necessary to treat or cure your work injury. If your employer is denying required medical rehab, The Dominick Law Firm can help. Our Boulder workers’ compensation lawyers can also assist you in understanding your rehabilitation rights and in getting the maximum compensation you deserve. If you live in Boulder, Thornton, Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Erie, Broomfield, Lyons, Mead, Loveland, Wheatridge, Greeley, Ft. Collins, Superior, Denver and the entire Colorado front range, contact us today at (303) 447-2644 or using our online form for a free consultation to learn how we can help.
Boulder Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Rights
When you suffer a work injury, your employer must pay all of your medical costs for treatments that are deemed necessary by your authorized treating physician (ATP). If the insurer does not wish to cover some treatment your doctor said you need, an independent medical examiner may be called upon to determine if your treatment is really necessary. Depending on the opinion of the independent medical examiner, the insurer may pay your bills or you may need to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge to get the treatment you need.
This process of getting your bills paid is the same for any medical treatment you need- including any rehabilitation necessary to help you to recover from your work injury. For instance, if you suffer a severe fall, are incapacitated for months and need physical therapy or time in a rehab facility to regain the use of your limbs, this should be fully covered.
However, while physical or medical rehabilitation must be paid for by a workers comp insurer, there is no requirement that vocational rehabilitation be provided for workers who cannot return to the jobs they held prior to being injured. Although some states do require employers to pay for this type of rehabilitation or vocational training, Colorado has had no such requirement in place since 1986.
The fact that insurers are not required to pay for vocational rehabilitation does not mean that you will never receive this type of rehabilitation, since sometimes workers compensation insurers will voluntarily choose to offer this coverage. Insurers may opt for offering vocational rehabilitation to help train you for a new position when you are no longer able to do your old job, since they may wish to avoid paying permanent disability benefits.
Vocational rehabilitation may include skills training, on-the-job training, educational training, or a whole host of other services that are intended to help you find some job you can do even with your disability or with any restrictions your doctor has placed on you due to your medical condition.
If your workers’ compensation insurer does offer some type of vocational rehabilitation, it is very important that you are aware of any required training. In some instances, the insurer may mandate that you undergo this training and failure to do so may result in the insurer denying your permanent disability claim.
The Dominick Law Firm can help you to understand your rehabilitation 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 rehabilitation rights, contact us today at (303) 447-2644 or using our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help.