The 411 on Connecticut Injuries at Work and Workers Compensation

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1 52 Holmes Avenue Waterbury, CT (203) The 411 on Connecticut Injuries at Work and Workers Compensation

2 Injured at Work? What now? If you are reading this, you most likely have been injured at work. We are genuinely sorry to hear it. In this booklet, we have outlined some important information for you, so you can understand your legal rights with Connecticut s Workers Compensation System and how to get through this tough situation. You may not need assistance from an Attorney on your specific case. The following information is for you to read and learn about what you can do if you have been injured or developed an illness at work and what you may face in dealing with the Connecticut Workers Compensation system. A Basic Overview of the Connecticut Workers Compensation System: The Connecticut Workers Compensation System is a wide-ranging set of laws and benefits that cover those who are injured at work or have developed illnesses due to workplace conditions. A set of Commissioners oversees all disputes and hearings in regards to workers compensation. A Commissioner is a government official who presides as a mediator at Informal, Formal and Appellate hearings on Workers Compensation cases. Commissioners are nominated by the Governor and appointed by the General Assembly, and must have been a member in good standing of the Connecticut bar for at least five years before his or her nomination. There are eight District Offices all over Connecticut that oversees Workers Compensation cases. The offices are located in Hartford, Norwich, New Haven, Bridgeport, Waterbury, New Britain, Stamford, and Middletown. These offices hold hearings to resolve claim disputes. There are implements put in place to prevent fraud. The Workers Compensation Fraud Unit investigates all cases dealing with alleged Workers Compensation fraud. Those found guilty will be arrested and prosecuted. Under the Workers Compensation Act, employees are not permitted sue their employer for benefits, unless the employer intended to cause injury. However, employees and/or employers are allowed to sue third parties if they are responsible for the injury or illness.

3 Did you know? Workers' Compensation requirements in the United States began early in the 20th century, in 1911, starting in Wisconsin and many other states followed right after. Connecticut s Workers Compensation Act was passed in What to do if you have been injured: 1. Tell your employer right away. They should provide you with medical treatment (first aid kit, call 911, etc.) and then they must fill out an "Employer's First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness" form through their insurance company and with the Connecticut Workers Compensation Commission. The form must be completed early to prevent disputes later on. 2. Receive medical attention. Your employer should bring you to a medical facility, such as a walk-in clinic, a hospital, or a physician s office, as soon as possible. Make sure you keep your medical expenses and the medical report from your doctor who treated you. You will need this information in case there are issues your employer s workers compensation insurance carrier and your rightful benefits. 3. File an official claim for record. You should file a written notice of claim like a 30C Form as soon as possible. You can find the forms at any District Office or the Connecticut Workers Compensation Commission s Educational Services. To receive compensation you must file the claim within a year from the date of the injury. For an occupational disease you must file the claim within three years from the first sign of the illness. You must file this form in order to be eligible for compensation and to permanently record your claim. Your employer s report is not sufficient as your sole claim. 4. If you don t receive a benefit check within two weeks of your workplace accident, contact your employer s workers compensation insurance company. To receive your benefit check, the insurance carrier needs the "Employer's First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness" form, your federal tax filing status, the number of exemptions shown on your federal tax return, a wage statement from your employer and your medical report. If you haven t received a check within two weeks of your injury, they may have not have all those documents yet.

4 Benefits Under the Workers Compensation Act: There are three main types of benefits employees are eligible to receive if they are involved in a workplace injury or illness. 1. Necessary Medical Treatment 2. Monetary Benefits Under the Act, if you are unable to work for a period of time due to your injury or illness you may be eligible for wage replacement benefits. According to statute: a. Whenever an employee is unable to perform ANY job, he or she is eligible to receive Temporary Total Disability benefits. The value of these benefits is calculated in different ways, depending upon the date of the work-related injury or illness. b. When an employee suffers a relapse or recurrence of the original injury or illness, he or she may receive benefits for the period of the relapse or recurrence. The value of these benefits is calculated based upon the original date of the injury or illness and the wages earned at that time and at the time of the relapse or recurrence. c. When an employee is able to perform SOME type of work, but not the original full-duty work, which caused the injury or illness, he or she may receive Temporary Partial Disability benefits. These are also valued at different amounts, depending upon the date of injury or illness. However, in many cases these benefits will be the same amount as those the claimant received while totally disabled. d. When an employee suffers a permanent disability, he or she may receive Permanent Partial Disability benefits, which serve as compensation not for lost earnings, but for having suffered a permanent and partial disability to some part(s) of the body. These benefits, again, are valued differently according to the date of the injury or illness, which caused the disability. e. An employee who suffers a disfigurement or scar due to a job injury or illness may be eligible for Disfigurement and Scarring benefits. The value of an award for disfigurement or scarring depends upon the nature of the disfigurement or scar and whether it falls within the statutory definition for benefits. f. In addition to the statutory benefits listed just above, a Workers' Compensation Commissioner may also grant benefits to an employee for any number of

5 reasons, which the claimant may present (i.e., still unemployed but looking for a job, going through a job retraining program and needs living funds for a short period, etc.). These are known as "308a" benefits and are discretionary. That is, a Commissioner may or may not award these benefits, based on his or her review of a claimant's request for benefits and any evidence, which supports such a request. 3. Vocational Rehabilitation The third type of benefit employees may receive is vocational rehabilitation. This is for those injured at work or became ill from work and cannot return to work. The vocational rehabilitation process is through the Workers Compensation Commission s Rehabilitation Services unit. You may apply at any of the eight District Offices for rehabilitation services if your physician says you are unable to return to your regular work. This service helps employees to find a more suitable place of employment and how to search for work. Programs are individualized, based on each person s needs. Services may include trainings, counseling, and evaluation.

6 FAQ: 1. What is Worker s Compensation? It is a no fault, fairly comprehensive system and specific benefits intended to make sure workers receive fair and prompt medical treatment and financial compensation for workplace injuries and occupational illnesses. Benefits include medical expenses, death benefits, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation. 2. Who is covered under the Connecticut Workers Compensation System? Almost everyone is covered from his or her first day of employment, even if you are a non-citizen, a minor, or are working part-time. There are some exceptions such as partnerships and proprietorship companies and those working on commission. It does not compensate those who are injured due to alcohol or substance abuse. 3. What if my employer disputes my claim? Your employer may choose to dispute your claim. You must receive an official written notice of denial, which describes the reason for it within 28 days from the accident. If your claim was denied, you must prove that your injuries were work-related by providing medical reports and witness testimonials. Also, you should request an informal hearing from a Commissioner at a District Office in your town where you were injured. This is e-book contains basic information about Connecticut s Workers Compensation system. It was designed to help familiarize you if you have been injured at work or have developed an illness at work. For more in-depth information on Connecticut Workers Compensation Laws visit the website at: We are here to answer any questions you have and give legal advice concerning work injuries and workers compensation. If you are in Connecticut or the New York area,

7 contact Personal Injury Attorney James A. Welcome at Other Things To Keep In Mind You hired a lawyer, not a paralegal or a secretary and you wouldn t expect that your lawyer would hand your case off to non-lawyer staff and then you never hear from that lawyer again. Be sure that you hire an attorney who has enough time and patience to give individualized attention to your workers compensation or work related injury claim. Your case is the most important thing to you and your personal injury attorney should treat it the same way. The Law Offices of James A. Welcome provides clients with dedicated individualized attention. Call Attorney Welcome today to discuss your case at or by at

8 Copyright Law Offices of James A. Welcome. This Book is NOT Legal Advice I know the arguments the insurance company will make and so should you before you file your claim. I am not your lawyer until you and I enter a written agreement for me to be your lawyer. I can offer suggestions and identify the traps, but the material displayed is for informational purposes only. Each case is different and an attorney can only give you quality legal advice when he or she understands the facts involved in your case.

9 Thank you for reading. I am here to represent you and guide you through every step of your claim. At times the best advice is that you do not have a claim that can be won. If that is the case, I will tell you. If your case meets our criteria for acceptance, I assure you that you will receive my personal attention. I will keep you advised to the status of the case and give you my advice as to whether your case should be settled or go to trial. Contact me today if you would like more information. 52 Holmes Avenue Waterbury, CT (203)

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