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FAQ: Workers’ Compensation

Answers To Your Workers’ Compensation Questions

What is workers' compensation?

Workers’ compensation insurance, also known as workers’ comp, helps cover medical, disability, and rehabilitation expenses for injured workers on the job. Workers’ compensation may also provide death benefits to an employee’s dependents if the worker is killed in a work-related incident.

However, workers’ compensation helps protect employers as well. As an injured employee’s exclusive remedy, workers’ compensation helps protect businesses from liability for employees’ workplace injuries, allowing them to avoid paying directly for those injuries.

If you or a loved one have suffered a work-related injury, let the experienced attorneys at Brown Paindiris & Scott, LLP help you explore possible options, including workers’ compensation claims.

If I am injured at work, what benefits am I entitled to receive?

The Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act provides for benefits for periods of time when an injured worker cannot return to work and when an injured worker is released by a physician to do light duty work but no such work is available. Additionally, the act provides for an injured worker to receive a specific award for loss of function of certain body parts enumerated in the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act. Finally, the act provides for the injured employee’s medical bills to be paid.

What if the workers’ compensation insurance company refuses to pay benefits to me?

An employer and its insurer will often deny liability and refuse to pay benefits under the act to an injured employee. When this happens the injured employee and his or her representative must seek relief from the Workers’ Compensation Commission. If you believe that you are entitled to benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act and you are not receiving those benefits, you should contact an attorney immediately to protect your rights.

What if I am fired after my injury?

The Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act prohibits discrimination based upon an employee’s claim for benefits under the act.

Should I try to settle my case for a lump sum payment?

The workers’ compensation insurer will often seek to settle a workers’ compensation case rather than continue to litigate a case or continue to pay benefits on a weekly basis. A full and final settlement may be in the injured employee’s best interests. An attorney experienced in workers’ compensation law can discuss the various issues surrounding an offer to fully and finally settle an injured employee’s case and advise that employee about all of the benefits available under the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act.

What paperwork must I file to ensure that I receive all of the benefits to which I am entitled?

Similar to a claim for damages in Superior Court or the United States District Court, there are certain forms that must be filed to preserve your claim for benefits under the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act. Failure to properly provide notice of your claim for benefits may preclude you from receiving benefits to which you otherwise be entitled. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you ensure that comply with all notice and filing requirements under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

What is a voluntary agreement?

A voluntary agreement is one of the most important documents in the workers’ compensation system. This document includes important information about the injured worker, the employer and the insurance company. This document contains a description of the injury, the name of the authorized physician and the employee’s base compensation rate as calculated under the act. This document must be approved by a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. Because of the importance of this document, it should be reviewed carefully and corrected, if necessary, before signing.

What if I work for than one employer?

Injured workers who have more than one employer may be entitled to benefits based upon income earned from both the employer who is responsible for the workplace injury and from the non-responsible employer. The state of Connecticut’s Second Injury Fund is obligated to pay benefits on behalf of the non-responsible employer.

Do I really need a lawyer for a workers’ compensation case?

Many workers’ compensation cases can take months, if not years, to litigate. It is likely that the insurance will retain experienced counsel to represent their interests. Anytime a person is involved in litigation with a large insurance company, it is important to retain equally qualified and experienced counsel.

What does it cost to retain an attorney in this area?

The Workers’ Compensation Act limits an attorney fees to 20 percent of the recovered amount.

What are the most common types of workplace injuries?

Some of the most common workplace injuries/illnesses include:

  • Slips, Trips, and Falls. Nearly every surface in the typical workplace will become slippery or cluttered at some point, which means the likelihood of a slip, trip, or fall increases. Another significant risk in many work environments is falling while working at heights, such as a ladder, scaffolding, and other high platforms.
  • Falling Objects. Falling objects strike all too many workers, which is not just a problem in warehouse-type environments. Objects may fall from shelves or out of cupboards and can cause serious injuries, particularly if the individual who ends up feeling the full force does not see it coming.
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). RSIs are another problem becoming increasingly commonplace at work, though many employers do not seem to take it as seriously as they should. It is not just a problem with computer keyboard use, resulting from the joints’ repetitive motion. The cumulative impact of RSI can be severe in some cases. Taking regular breaks and using ergonomic equipment can help prevent these types of injuries.
  • Crashes and Collisions. Accidents resulting in crash or impact injuries, often involving cars or forklifts, are also quite frequent at work. Employers should ensure that seatbelts and other safety precautions are both in place and use.
  • Cuts and Lacerations. Many types of office equipment can leave an employee nursing a painful cut. From paper cutters to scissors, it is easy to cut yourself at work, be it from poor training, inadequate safety procedures, or failing to wear proper protection.
  • Strained Muscles. Strained muscles are more common than you would think, especially those tasked with regularly lifting heavy items at work. Back and neck strains, in particular, are all two injuries frequently sustained while working. These injuries can be avoided with some basic training on proper lifting techniques.