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From workplace injury back to the slopes

July 13, 2022
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JT loves his hands-on ski patrol job keeping the trails safe and assisting guests. When he injured his shoulder during a fall, he needed expert and efficient care to get him back on the slopes.

Below, JT shares how his Pinnacol claims representative guided him through the workers' comp claims process all the way to a full recovery.

How were you injured on the job?

When you're working for trail safety, you have to be on the mountain and be present for the guests, regardless of the conditions. So it was not an average day, not a typical day on the mountain.

It was a run that I had done many times, but just [with] very, very poor lighting and bad visibility. And it led to a fall where my ski pole was actually wrapped around my wrist and it tore my shoulder. I knew immediately that I had torn my shoulder.

My initial reaction was very concerned because I couldn't go back to work. I was sidelined from my job, which I really enjoyed. I was worried. I was like, when am I going to get back to work? How long is this [workplace injury] going to take?

Were you familiar with the workers' comp claims process?

Before my injury, I knew nothing about the workers' comp system. I wasn't even really familiar with what workers' comp was. I never imagined getting injured at work. So it was completely fresh for me.

What role did Pinnacol play in your recovery?

Pinnacol [insurance carrier] walked me through it and made an inherently complicated legal process very, very easy to navigate. Pinnacol was there to make the process more streamlined, so I could get a full recovery as quickly as possible. I do not believe I would have recovered to the extent that I recovered if I did not have Pinnacol.

How responsive was your Pinnacol workers' comp claims representative?

My claims rep was very hands-on throughout the process, without being intrusive in my care. She was there for me whenever I needed anything and held my hand throughout. She was so prompt in her communication. She was working a lot behind the scenes in my case, ensuring that things were in place for a full and healthy recovery.

Obviously, when you're recovering from an injury it's a time-consuming process. Pinnacol was there to make sure that my time wasn't wasted. And by the end of the process, I was very, very satisfied with how I was treated. I had an incredible experience with Pinnacol.

What was the workplace injury healthcare treatment process like?

Going through long physical therapy surgery, it's not ideal. But my recovery reflects that I was given the best medical care throughout.

I had incredible care the entire time. If I was in pain, I had medication. If I didn't have mobility, I had physical therapy. If I had a tear, I had surgery. And all of that was covered efficiently and effectively and allowed me to make a full recovery. And I'm very grateful for that.

Did you have any limitations as far as the treatments you needed?

Pinnacol works closely with the medical team to ensure that you're getting the best care possible. There's also a lot of freedom that Pinnacol gives you in getting the best care—like picking a doctor. Pinnacol was there to approve care from all medical providers promptly and efficiently throughout the process.

How did you feel about going back to work?

I returned to work about a third of the way through the process in a modified duty role. It was actually a big relief to be able to get back to work because being sidelined is not what you want. You're not making as much money, it's quite boring. So I was very happy to get back to work!

How do you feel now?

My shoulder is as strong as it ever was, if not stronger. The joint is more stable. I can do everything in my daily life. I can do everything at work. I can enjoy hobbies and activities just as I did before. I can do the things that I was doing before—some of them even better.

What advice would you give to a worker who is about to file a claim for the first time?

Have clear and consistent communication. If you're communicating with your representative and you're communicating well with your medical team, that's what makes the [filing a workers' comp claim] process run efficiently and smoothly. It helps you get out of PT as fast as possible and recover as quickly and fully as possible.

Injured at work? Stay prepared with workers' compensation insurance coverage

Work-related injuries and illnesses happen all the time on the job. Workers' compensation benefits and coverage help injured workers return to work safely and swiftly. Prioritize your employees' safety and health by partnering with an insurance company you can trust when the going gets rough.

Find out more about how Pinnacol puts care to work for Colorado.

Pinnacol Assurance assumes no responsibility for management or control of customer safety activities. Please ensure your business meets the requirements of all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances related to workplace safety.

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