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.
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The next generation of personal injury law firms
Goff Law Group is a law firm made up of experienced attorneys with various litigation backgrounds and skills. We focus all of our efforts on the plaintiff personal injury field of law and we do not practice in any other specialties. We maintain this focus because this field of law changes every day and you deserve an attorney who is a master of personal injury rather than a jack of all trades.
We invite you to have a cup of coffee with us and see for yourself how we are different. You deserve more. You deserve the modern-day law firm – you deserve Goff Law Group.