Relapse Rate

If an employee is injured in the year 1990 when the comp rate was $275 per week, and then sustains a relapse, or re-injury, of the same body part in the year 2005, and that employee now has a comp rate of $550, is the claimant stuck with the old, or lower rate? The answer is provided by Connecticut General Statutes §31-307b which provides that the claimant may choose the old comp rate or the new rate for the relevant recurrent period, whichever is greater.

There are instances in which the earlier rate was a much higher rate because the employee was a police officer or fire officer earning the maximum rate, but then as a result of permanent injuries, he was not able to return to his regular employment again, and had to accept a much lower paying job. In those cases, he/she will wish to choose the old rate, which is much higher. This is not true if there is a new, separate injury. The key is whether the recent injury is a relapse, or a new injury, which is sometimes the subject of a great deal of litigation, especially if there is a new workers’ compensation carrier on the risk. If it is a new injury, then you are stuck with the new rate.

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