Going through life's repetitive routine, you wake up each day, you go to work, eat lunch, go to the meeting, drive home in traffic, etc., repeat it the next day. The difference is that on this day, you sustain an injury at work. You need financial support and access to medical treatment, and you need it now.
As in most other states, Connecticut’s workers' compensation (or “workers’ comp,” for short) system is a state-mandated program to help injured workers. Employers covered by Connecticut’s law are required to maintain insurance that pays the cost of medical care and provides monetary payments to employees who are injured on the job or who contract a job-related illness. As in most other states, the program is administered by a state agency. Unlike in some states, though, workers’ comp insurance in Connecticut is acquired from private carriers and paid for directly by the employer.
While the basic concept behind workers’ compensation is fairly straightforward. The emergence of worker's compensation in the early 20th century represents a significant change in the historical relationship between employers and injured employees. Previously, an employee was obliged to file suit and prove in court that his employer’s negligence caused his injury or illness. This obligation carried both the delays and uncertainty inherent in litigation. Moreover, any fault attributable to the employee would generally reduce or even foreclose his or her right to recover.
Workers’ comp laws effectively ignore the question of negligence. So long as the illness or injury is considered work-related, the employee is eligible for benefits. In exchange, employees generally give up their right to sue their employers. The system is thus based on tradeoffs by both employers and employees.
Whether the claimant is employed in a hospital, construction site or office, in most cases, a worker who is injured in Connecticut in the course of carrying out his or her job becomes eligible for workers compensation benefits. Benefits may also be payable in the case of an occupational disease, such as heart disease or hypertension, or a repetitive motion injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Virtually all types of workplaces and occupations are covered, from high risk construction and manufacturing to relatively low-risk retail and professional.
In theory, the system should enable all injured workers to submit legitimate claims easily and with the reasonable expectation, they will be expeditiously processed and paid, all without the need for legal representation. In practice, however, many seriously injured workers find that assistance from an experienced workers compensation attorney is critical to the success of a claim.
The State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission has specific claim requirements that must be met. While many employees are able to successfully navigate the initial claim process, many are unable to deal with its complexities. The result is often denial of the claim, necessitating an appeal. That means delays in payment of benefits and access to medical treatment.
Worse still, some injured workers decline to file a claim, fearing illegal retaliation by their employers. An experienced workers compensation attorney can help to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and get injured Connecticut workers the benefits to which they are entitled by law.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.