CONNECTICUT WORKERS' COMPENSATION ATTORNEY
Representing Injured Workers across Connecticut
If you have been seriously injured in the workplace, you can generally rely on workers’ compensation to reimburse you for your medical costs and lost wages. However, not all injuries in Connecticut are eligible for workers’ compensation—and, sometimes, claims are unjustly denied.
If you were injured on the job or while performing any duties related to your employment, the workers’ compensation attorneys at Goff Law Group - West Hartford can provide valuable insights and representation for your workers’ compensation claim. We can help you pursue the benefits that you rightfully deserve. If you are having any issues with your workers’ compensation claim, including if your claim was denied, we highly recommended that you consult with a legal professional on how best to proceed.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Generally, workers’ compensation covers both work-related injuries and occupational illnesses. Work-related injuries can be either traumatic in nature or incurred over time as a result of repetitive motions. Generally speaking, traumatic injuries are those that result from one-time incidents and on-the-job accidents.Workers’ compensation will cover traumatic injuries if:
- The injury suffered is not minor and requires medical attention
- The injury occurs within the scope of your job duties, even if you’re outside of the office
- Occupational illnesses and cumulative injuries are diseases or injuries that develop over a long period of time
- Carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive movements
- Overuse and overexertion injuries, such as strains
- Respiratory diseases due to work-related exposure to chemicals
- Asbestosis and mesothelioma due to work-related asbestos exposure
- Heat stroke or sunstroke due to prolonged exposure to heat or the sun
- Hearing loss due to unregulated noise levels in the workplace
If it can be shown that these ailments developed due to your working conditions, you may seek workers’ compensation benefits by filing a claim with your employer.
Is a Lawyer Required for Workers’ Compensation Cases?
On paper, the workers’ compensation benefits process is fairly straightforward. Because it operates on a no-fault system, injured employees only need to prove that their injuries were sustained during the course of their employment.
However, legitimate claims are often contested and denied without any seeming probable cause, leaving employees with a growing pile of medical bills and no foreseeable income. In such cases, it is highly recommended that you seek assistance from a Hartford workers’ compensation lawyer at Goff Law Group. We thoroughly understand the system and the process and can help you seek maximum compensation for your claim. Our team can represent you at your hearing, if necessary, and serve as your guide throughout the entire legal process.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
To recover workers' compensation, you must be an employee. Independent contractors and freelancers are not technically employees of the company they are working for, making them ineligible to recover workers' compensation. Sometimes, companies will incorrectly classify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying out workers' compensation claims.
If you believe you are incorrectly classified as an independent contractor, or if your workers’ compensation claim was denied because your employer says you are not technically an employee, contact our attorneys right away to discuss your legal options.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive?
In Connecticut, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. Unlike most personal injury claims, you do not need to prove that someone was negligent or reckless in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits. If you suffer an injury while performing duties related to your job, you are typically eligible to receive workers’ compensation.
Because this is a no-fault system, you are only allowed to recover specific benefits. With most personal injury claims, the court can award you damages for pain and suffering, which covers a difference in overall quality of life. Workers’ compensation in Connecticut does not cover pain and suffering and other similar non-economic losses.
If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you can receive:
- Medical Costs: Workers’ compensation in Connecticut covers all of your medical bills and expenses related to your on-the-job injury or illness. That includes initial hospital bills, subsequent doctor’s visits, rehabilitation costs, and any necessary medical equipment, such as prosthetics, wheelchairs, hearing aids, and prescriptions.
- Temporary Disability: If you are seriously injured for a prolonged period of time, you are also eligible to receive compensation for your lost wages while you are unable to work. These temporary disability payments are capped at 75% of your average weekly wages.
- Permanent Disability: If your condition does not improve and you are found to be permanently disabled, you may then receive permanent disability benefits. These are typically only available to employees with severely debilitating injuries that prevent them from effectively earning wages in their current or similar job.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: In some cases, if your work-related injuries prevent you from returning to your old job, you may be eligible for compensation for vocational rehabilitation, or job retraining. This covers certain costs associated with retraining, such as educational courses, job training, and more.
How to Get Workers’ Compensation in Connecticut
To begin the process, you must first report your injury to your employer immediately. Your employer may require you to fill out a form to disclose the terms of your injury.
Reporting an Injury
The first thing you need to do after suffering an injury at work is to report it. The sooner you report it, the sooner you may be able to begin receiving compensation. Additionally, delayed claims are a signal to employers’ insurance companies of possible fraud, meaning they may be hesitant to award you compensation.
You should include as many details as possible in your report, such as:
- When the accident occurred
- How you hurt yourself
- What symptoms you are experiencing
Going to the Doctor
After you report your injury, your employer should then begin the workers’ compensation claims process for you. Your employer will also send you to a pre-approved physician. If no pre-approved doctor has been designated, you can go to a doctor of your choosing. Make sure to tell the doctor as much as you can, including the fact that you suffered the injury on the job. Insurance companies look at medical records and doctors’ statements when determining eligibility, so it is important that your doctor has the correct information regarding your injuries.
Submitting a Notice of Claim Form
Along with sending you to a physician, your employer needs to submit a form to the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission called an Employer’s First Report of Injury. Insurance companies will not begin to process your request, however, until you submit a Notice of Claim form. You must submit the form within one year of the date of the injury or three years from the first symptoms of an occupational disease. If you miss the deadlines, you may not be able to receive compensation.
Additionally, you must file an official workers’ compensation claim by filling out Form 30C, the Notice of Claim for Compensation. Upon completion, this form must be submitted to both your employer and the Worker’s Compensation Commission.
Once the insurance company receives both a Notice of Claim form from you and the Employer’s First Report of Injury, it will begin investigating the claim.
The investigation may involve:
- Reviewing your medical records
- Analyzing your work experience, education, and wages
- Ordering a medical examination
- Sending you for a functional capacity evaluation
Connecticut law requires the insurance companies to either approve or deny your claim within 28 days of receiving it. If the company approves your claim, you will begin receiving payments.
Working to Get You the Compensation You Deserve
If your employer or your employer’s insurance company denies your workers’ compensation claim, you can appeal the decision. There is a series of levels in the appeals process. Goff Law Group has extensive experience navigating the Connecticut workers’ compensation appeals process; if the insurance company denies your request for workers’ compensation, we can help appeal the decision.
We are committed to fighting for the fair benefits you are owed. We have the experience and skills to navigate the workers’ compensation claims process with ease so you can have peace of mind and focus on recuperating your health. We thoroughly research and review your case and keep open communication lines with you for transparency.