- DO I NEED A LAWYER?
- HOW MUCH DO I HAVE TO PAY THE LAWYER
- WILL I GET FIRED IF I FILE A CLAIM?
- WHEN DO I HAVE TO FILE A CLAIM?
- WHAT IS A VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT?
- WHAT RIGHTS DO I HAVE AS AN INJURED EMPLOYEE?
- SHOULD I REPORT THE INJURY OR SEE IF I GET BETTER?
- WHAT IS LIGHT DUTY?
- HOW MUCH DO I GET FOR MY PAIN AND SUFFERING
- DO I GET REIMBURSED FOR TRAVEL?
- WHAT IF I CAN’T GO BACK TO MY OLD JOB?
- DO I NEED A SPECIALIST?
Probably. Though the workers compensation act was set up as a “no fault” act so that the employee is only required to prove that his injury was sustained arising out of and in the course of his employment, the workers’ compensation forum has become increasingly adversarial. Even straight forward cases are becoming contested which shifts the burden of payment of medical bills to the workers health insurance company, instead of the employers insurance. In the meantime, the employee is out of work, without any income.
In the event the employer begins paying a benefits immediately, an attorney may not be needed at this juncture; however, should the employer subsequently file motions to cut off benefits, or should the employee want to settle out his case for an amount representing the fair value of the case, representation by an attorney is advisable.
If there is any doubt please fill out the questionaire using the Free Evaluation Link at the top of this page, so we can assess your case and advise you accordingly.
Generally, workers’ compensation attorneys get paid on a contingency basis. That means they do not get paid unless and until they get money for you. In Connecticut this contingency fee is based upon 20% of the amount the attorney is able to get.
NO. Employers are forbidden from terminating or discriminating against any employee who has filed employment a workers compensation claim. However, there are some employers that refuse to obey the law. Further,the employer is not required to hold open a job indefinitely while an employee in unable to return to work. In general, the smaller the company, the shorter the length of time that and employer will be able to hold open a job for an injured employee.
Connecticut law provides an employee with one year from the date of the injury to file a written notice of a claim for compensation with the employer and the Workers’ Compensation Commission, or three years from the date of the first manifestation of an occupational illness. While there are certain exceptions to filing a written notice, the only safe course of action is to file a Notice of Claim, or a 30C, in writing, by certified mail to both the employer and the workers’ compensation commissioner in the relevant district.
In addition, the employee has a separate duty to immediately report the injury to his employer. If an employee fails to immediately report the injury to his employer, the commissioner may reduce the amount of the compensation award. There is an increased likelihood that the emplyer will contest the claim if you wait to report the injury.
This is a document by which the employer voluntarily acknowledges that the employee was injured in a compensable accident. The employer is admitting that the accident happened during the course of employment, thereby alleviating this burden from the employee. This is not to say that there cannot be future disagreements about the nature and extent of the employee’s injuries or how much money he should receive for his injuries. The form sets forth various information about the nature of the injuries, the compensation rate at which the employee shall be paid, the date of the injury and other relevant injury. The employee and employer must both sign this agreement. The voluntary agreement is not a final agreement but only an intermediate agreement in which the employer acknowledges that the accident happened on the clock, and that the employee is entitled to whatever benefits he can prove are due to him.
You have an entire menu of rights as follows:
- Temporary Total Disability: When a doctor has said that you are temporarily, and totally disabled for work for a period of time, you are entitled to be paid at an amount known as your compensation rate, or TT rate, roughly two-thirds of your gross pay. This amount is not taxable.
- Temporary Partial: When the doctor says you can go back to work “light duty” or work with certain restrictions, your employer must return you to work in compliance with this light duty limitation if the employer has light duty available. You are entitled to be paid the difference between what you were making when you were injured and what you are currently making. In the event your employer does not have light duty available, you must conduct job searches during which time you will be paid at your compensation rate.
- Specific Award: Once you have made as much improvement as you are going to make, the doctor will make a determination as to whether you have made a full recovery. If not, the doctor will determine the extent of your permanent, partial impairment. You will then be paid an amount in conformity with the number of weeks allowed for the injured body part pursuant to the schedule set forth in the statute. For example, if you have a 10% permanent partial impairment, the statute allows for 37.4 weeks at your compensation rate.
- Wage Differential: If you cannot go back to doing the same type of work you were doing prior to the injury, you may be entitled to the wage differential between your higher paying former job and your current job for a period of time not to exceed the number of weeks awarded for your specific award.
- Vocational rehabilitation: In the event an employee is not able to return to his former occupation because of a work-related injury, the employee may get job training through the vocational rehabilitation office of the State of Connecticut, with offices located in every Commissioner’s office. This service is free to the employee courtsey of the State of Connecticut.
Always report your injury immediately, even if you are not sure you have suffered a significant injury. Too often employees adopt a wait and see attitude, and by the time they have confirmed their injury, weeks or months have passed by. The compensation carriers take a dim view of this wait and see approach, and can effectively argue to the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner that this late reported injury is due to some intervening, non-work related event. When considering whether to file a claim, safe is always better than sorry.
During the healing process of an injury, the employee will reach a point at which the medical provider may determine that the employee is capable of some kind of “light”or “clerical” or “sedentary” duty. This means that the doctor thinks that the employee may return to work in some capacity limited by the specific restrictions that the doctor imposes. if the employer can accommodate these restrictions , the employee will return to work there limited by the doctors restrictions. If the employer cannot offer work that meets the employee’s limitations, then the worker will be required to complete “work searches”. These are forms which document at least five contacts with prospective employers each week. The forms have to be submitted to the employer’s insurance company every week that the worker has a “light duty” capacity.
Nothing. Workers’ Compensation is a trade off, whereby the employee does not have to prove someone was to blame for his injury. In return for this no fault liability, the worker has to trade in some of his rights that he would enjoy if he were injured outside the workplace including compensation for pain and suffereing.
Yes. If you are required to be absent from work as a result of a work related injury, your employer must either furnish you with means of transportation, such as a cab or an ambulance, to get to the doctor, or reimburse you at the statutory rate of 36.5 cents per mile for your travel. Further, you are entitled to be compensated for the time you lose from your work while you are driving to the doctor, while you are at the doctor, and while you are driving home from the doctor.
There are wage loss benefits available to you, subject to the discretion of the Commissioner, up to the total number of weeks for which you received your specific award. For example, if you received a 10% permanent, partial disability of your back, this translates to 37.4 weeks at your Compensation Rate. You would be eligible to seek an additional 37.4 weeks of wage differential for the difference between what you were able to make at your old job, versus the reduced amount you can now make as a result of the injuries you sustained in your workers’ compensation accident. In addition, as long as the case has been accepted by the employer and a Voluntary Agreement has issued, you can seek Vocational Retraining through the State of Connecticut, for which you will receive, if eligible, special vocational training, including course work in a college up to an Associate’s Degree.
Yes. Any lawyer that has passed the Bar examination in Connecticut can legally represent you before the Workers Compensation Commission. It does not matter whether that lawyer has only practiced for one day or has never appeared before a Workers Compensation Commissioner. But, as specialists, we don’t “dabble in it” we do it every day.
We have the training, the experience and the knowledge to provide you with the representation you deserve. You would not trust your oil to be changed by someone who does not do it every day. Why should you expect less from your lawyer?