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Connecticut Workers' Compensation Attorneys
If you are injured on the job in Connecticut, or become ill as a result of your work, you are entitled to benefits. Cases are handled by the Workers’ Compensation Commission. This agency covers all injuries caused by your job – from isolated incidents like a back injury from heavy lifting, to repetitive stress injuries that develop over time such as carpal tunnel from working on an assembly line. Diseases and illnesses caused by your work also are covered, such as asthma from dust or irritants created by manufacturing.
Workers’ compensation cases in Connecticut are “no-fault” – you will receive benefits regardless of whether the injury was your fault or your illness was predisposed. You cannot sue your employer for negligence in most cases. For example, if you are injured by a machine at work, it doesn’t matter if your employer was negligent in maintaining the equipment, or if you weren’t following the safety procedures. You are entitled to benefits either way. You do have to show that your work was a “substantial and contributing factor” of your injury. Simply catching the flu at work does not entitle you to benefits.
The available benefits in Connecticut include:
- Medical treatment. All necessary medical treatment related to your injury should be covered 100%.
- Temporary total disability. When you are not able to perform any part of your job, you can receive 75% of your average weekly wage.
- Temporary partial disability. When you can perform some but not all of your job duties (“light duty” or “restricted”), and you are making less money than before, you can receive 75% of the difference between your new wage and the wage you were making before you were injured.
- Permanent partial disability. This is compensation for your disability and not lost wages. The amount you can receive, and for how long, is determined by a formula that includes a “percentage disability rating” from your doctor. The limit is 520 weeks, but amount of time you receive these benefits depends on the part of the body that is disabled.
Benefits are also available for relapse or recurrence, disfigurement or scarring (of the face/hands/neck), and job retraining if you cannot go back to your old job due to the nature of your injury.
When you are injured on the job in Connecticut, your employer has the option of choosing the doctor who will provide your initial treatment. This is called a managed care plan. If your employer has such a plan in place, you must see this doctor in order to get full benefits (payment of medical expenses). After the initial treatment, or if your employer has not designated a doctor (no managed care plan), you may choose your own. Your employer, the commission or your employer’s insurance carrier may request an exam by their chosen doctor at any time while you are receiving benefits.
Attorneys who take work-injury cases are paid on a contingency basis – this means that they only get paid if your case is successful. If you don’t get any benefits, you don’t pay. We recommend hiring a Connecticut attorney who focuses their practice on workers’ compensation. Because you do not have to pay your attorney an hourly fee, there is no reason not to hire the best attorney you can find.
Attorney fees are limited to 20% of what you recover. If you get $20,000, your attorney gets $4,000. If you get nothing, the fee would be zero. Fees in complex cases may be higher – up to 25%. All attorney fees in Connecticut work-injury cases are subject to Commission approval.
Just like lawsuits, workers’ compensation claims have strict rules and deadlines. It’s important to follow these so that you aren’t denied benefits. The most important thing is to act quickly. When you are injured or begin to experience symptoms, you should report them as soon as possible. The deadline is one year from the date of your injury, or three years from the first symptom of your occupational illness.
To meet the deadline, you must file a 30C form with the Commission. This officially informs your employer that you are filing a claim. (Note that this is not the same as an accident report you might fill out for your employer.) Your employer has 28 days to dispute the claim. If it’s disputed, you will receive an official notice and the Commission will hold a hearing. If your employer does not dispute your claim by the deadline, you are considered automatically entitled to benefits (although the amount is still disputable).
A workers’ compensation case is not a lawsuit. You are not suing your employer. Instead, it is similar to a health insurance claim – during most of the process you will be dealing with your employer’s insurance carrier rather than the employer themselves. But unlike a health insurance claim, quick action can improve your chances of receiving benefits.
An attorney is not required in workers’ compensation cases, but it may be a good idea to consult with one, especially if your benefits are disputed or denied. Your district office of the Commission will give you information on workers’ compensation, but they do not act as your lawyer. We believe that a good workers’ compensation attorney can make a difference. Whether it’s helping you file the paperwork correctly, or representing you at a hearing before the Commission to resolve a disputed claim, an experienced law firm can give you peace of mind and improve your chances of receiving benefits.
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