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Proposed Colorado law could help injured workers with bills

When looking for a job, the insurance coverage an employer carries for workplace accidents may never come to mind. An employee may not know whether or not an employer has the proper coverage until the medical bills start to pile up. If an employer does not carry the otherwise lawfully required insurance for employees, where can an injured worker turn for help?

Business insurance coverage is mandated and enforced on a state-by-state basis. When the state fails to enforce compliance among employers, workers may soon be able to rely on a state fund to cover costs related to an on-the-job injury. House Bill 1119, the Colorado Uninsured Employer Act, would allow employees to make injury claims to the state. A state-sponsored board would then consider payout.

Employers may not carry the proper coverage

An employee victimized by a company's lack of coverage can turn into a drawn out, dead end battle for injured workers. In Pennsylvania, a fast food worker who slipped and injured both of his knees was left without coverage for his injuries after his employer lacked the proper insurance. He then lost his appeal to a state compensation board and may be left with limited options moving forward.

Even with the proper employer coverage, the workers' compensation process is complicated enough. Although H.B. 1119 could be considered a step forward for employee rights in Colorado, how can the average worker tell that their employer has the proper coverage?

Employers are required to display a poster board in a public area with information related to an employee's right. This board can usually be found in a break room or other common area in which all employees have access. Lack of proper signage can a red flag that an employer doesn't carry the state mandated coverage.

How can employees gain access to compensation?

Poster boards and the Colorado Uninsured Employer Act could be critical for low-wage workers in ensuring a safe workplace. Regardless of how an employee is injured, he or she should seek the guidance of a workers' compensation attorney. Often, employers and their insurance companies are motivated by their bottom line to limit coverage for injured employees.

Speaking to a workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible after an injury can ensure that an injured worker gains access to coverage for an injury to the fullest extent of the law.

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