Workers' compensation claims arising out of car accidents in Colorado involve unique complexities. While a workers' compensation carrier is obligated to pay for all reasonable and necessary accident-related medical bills, a little-known fact involving car crashes is that, by statute, the workers' compensation carrier - for instance, Pinnacol Assurance, Broadspire, or Sedgwick - essentially owns a portion of the claim asserted against the at-fault driver.
C.R.S. 8-41-203 provides that the payment of compensation shall operate as an assignment [to the workers' compensation carrier] of the cause of action against such other person.” Importantly, this only extends to economic damages, physical impairment, and disfigurement. The statute provides that the assignment does not extend "[t]o amounts of money collected for non-economic damages awarded for pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional stress, or impairment of quality of life.” This means the workers' compensation carrier, not the injured worker, has the right to the claim against the at-fault party for recovery of medical bills and wage losses.
In these matters, prompt action and statutory notice requirements to the involved insurance carriers are critical to preserving the injured workers' claim for damages. Despite this statutory language, the injured worker may still pursue a claim for recovery of accident-related medical bills paid for by the work comp carrier - provided appropriate statutory notice requirements are timely issued. If the statutory requirements are satisfied, any repayment request asserted by the workers' compensation carrier is reduced an amount equal to the reasonable attorney fees and costs paid by the injured employee in pursuing recovery against the driver who caused the car accident.
When workers' compensation claims arise out of a car accident, a statutory maze of requirements follows. These matters are very complex and specific deadlines and notice requirements must be complied with in order to maximize financial recovery to the injured worker while minimizing repayment obligations to the workers' compensation carrier. Prompt consultation with a Denver personal injury attorney is critical.
Mandelaris Law has secured millions in settlements for our clients. If you were injured in a car accident while on the job, you need our team on your side. Our Denver personal injury lawyers are dedicated to achieving the best results for our clients. Consultations are always free and we are available 24/7 to address your particular needs.