What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Anyone can cause an accident, it’s just a part of life. Unfortunately, these accidents sometimes lead to people being injured. Workers’ compensation allows any worker who has been injured while on the job to be compensated for their injuries. You will be compensated regardless of who was at fault for the injuries that you sustained. Virtually all companies are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage, unless that company is run by a sole proprietor or you are employed by private home and work for 26 hours or less.
What Are The Benefits Involved With Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Law?
- Medical Coverage
Connecticut State Law requires that an employer’s insurance company pay for all relevant medical costs. This includes treatments, tests, medications, etc.
- Vocational Rehabilitation
If your injury requires rehabilitation or retraining to return to work, you will be able to receive training from the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Rehabilitation Services free of charge.
- Total Incapacity Benefits
If your injury stops you from working or finding sustainable work, then you may be able to receive benefits specific to total incapacity benefits, as described under Connecticut’s State Code Chapter 568, Sec. 31-307. There are two different kinds of total incapacity benefits: Total Temporary Disability (TTD) and Total Permanent Disability (TPD), but both provide the same amount of compensation. The amount that total incapacity benefits that you can be compensated is equal to 75 percent of the average weekly wage that you made before your injury (after taxes and social security has been deducted). In order to qualify for total incapacity benefits, you must have suffered:
- A reduction of at least 90 percent in total vision.
- The loss of (or loss of use in) both feet at or above the ankle.
- The loss of (or loss of use in) both hands at or above the wrists.
- The loss of (or loss of use in) one foot at or above the ankle and one hand at or above the wrist.
- An injury resulting in complete imbecility or mental illness.
You cannot receive compensation for a total incapacity after (or if) your injuries heal to the point at which you can return to work.
- Partial Incapacity Benefits
If your injuries limit the amount of work that you can do, or require you to work somewhere else, you can qualify for partial incapacity benefits. However, you must suffer from a wage deficit from your injury in order to receive partial incapacity compensation. Injuries that result in partial disabilities allow you to receive 75 percent of the difference between the average weekly wage you made before and after your injury (with taxed and social security costs included). However, the amount of time that you can be compensated for depends on the area of your body that was damaged and the allocated amount of compensable weeks for that injury under Chapter 568, Sec. 31-308 of Connecticut’s State Code. To calculate the amount of time that you will be compensated, take the impairment rating (that will be determined by your doctor) and multiply it by the number of compensable weeks allocated by the type of injury you’ve sustained. It is important to note that the amount of income benefits you can receive (total and partial impairment) cannot be less or more than Connecticut’s State average weekly wage.
- Recurrence of Injury
If your injury recurs after your income benefits have been paid, you may be able to receive compensation for your recurred injury. The amount of compensation you may receive for a recurring injury is the base compensation rate that you had at the time of your injury, or compensation could be based on the salary you earned at the time of the injury recurrence, whichever is greater. This form of compensation will last for the duration of the injury relapse.
- Discretionary Compensation
A Workers’ Compensation Commissioner presides over an informal hearing should you request it. You may be able to gain further compensation after you have collected all of your income benefits, depending on the context of your case.
I’ve Been Injured At Work, What Should I Do?
- Inform your employer that you believe that you are injured and request to visit a doctor. Your employer will provide the name of a doctor or facility where you will receive initial treatment. If the situation is an emergency, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Inform the doctors, nurses, and emergency medical technicians that your injury was sustained while you were at work so they will know who to bill.
- Choose your medical provider after your initial treatment. You have the right to choose your own doctor who will provide the rest of your medical treatments and can refer you to other doctors. You may also choose to switch doctors later in the process. However, if your employer has a medical care plan, your options may be limited to the doctors listed on the medical care plan.
- File a 30C form and send it to both your employer and the Workers’ Compensation Commission District Office located in the area where you were injured. It is very important that you fill out a 30C form and send it as soon as possible, otherwise your claim may be denied. Once you have done this, you should receive a Voluntary Agreement form from your employer’s insurance company that you will have to sign and send back to start collecting benefits.
What Should I Do If My Connecticut Workers’ Comp Claim Is Denied?
If your claim is denied, it may be because there was an error with paperwork or filing, and claim denials are rare to begin with. However, it is possible that your employer’s insurance carrier is challenging your claim. If this is the case, your you should retain an Connecticut experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will be able to assess your case and determine what the best course of action is. You will need to file an appeal with the Compensation Review Board (CRB), who will then provide a Commissioner for an informal hearing. You attorney should represent you during this hearing, as your employer’s insurance carrier will have an attorney to represent them. Appeals can be made to the CRB, the Appellate Court, and even the State Supreme Court, but these cases are very rare. Your attorney will fight for your fair compensation.