A Familiar Story
A salesman for a manufacturing company has an early morning customer meeting and needs to swing by his office to pick up updated order forms. His regular days in the office are Tuesday and Thursday. His sales call days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On this day, it happened to be a Friday. The factory opens at 7 am for machinist and 9 am for office workers.
At 7:15, as the salesman is walking up to the main entrance, he slips and falls on a huge ice buildup right at the doorway. His injuries include a severed ACL and MCL in his right knee. Immediately, upon reporting the claim to his supervisor he receives resistance. Eventually, the employer's insurance carrier denies the claim entirely.
The salesman hires Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn.
What Happens Next?
There are several ways to look at this claim. One way is to simply argue that this is a work related injury. However, one could also look at this as an opportunity.
The 'Familiar Story' is EITHER a workers' compensation case (with its limitations on doctors that can be seen and limits on the value of the injury) OR it is a negligence claim against the employer (with few limits and lots of possibilities for full compensation).
Simply stated, if the employer admits this claim as a work related claim, the law of Colorado would prevent a separate claim against the employer for an unsafe buildup of ice on the walk way. That is called our Exclusive Remedy rules.
The employer/insurance company doesn't get it both ways. If they resist the Work Comp claim by insisting the injury did not occur within the "course and scope of the worker's employment" then they may very well be exposing themselves to a NO HOLDS BARRED CIVIL ACTION. Such a civil action is no different than any other that could be brought for an unsafe condition on the employers premises.
In this circumstance what might be a marginal valued worker's compensation claim, became a very lucrative non-work comp civil action under our Colorado Premises Liability Act - All because of the shortsightedness of the employer who wrongfully denied the claim in the first place.
If you have been injured at work and your employer is now denying your claim, call us at Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn today. There are likely other options available to you for your claim and we can help you determine which is the best for your case.