The basics of Connecticut workers’ compensation benefit applications

If you have been hurt on the job, you likely have many concerns. You're probably wondering how long it will take you to heal, who will cover your medical expenses, when you can return to work, how you will pay bills without a paycheck coming in, and about other issues. Your brain is busy, and that doesn't even take into account the pain you are suffering.

It is common to have these questions and more after a workplace accident. However, you don't have to go through this alone and without resources. There is help available for those who are injured in the course of their employment in Connecticut, in the form of workers' compensation benefits.

Background

Chapter 568 of the Connecticut General Statutes is the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Act. The Act provides that employees injured on the job - or those who have become ill as a result of their employment (an example would be workers exposed to asbestos who have now developed asbestosis or mesothelioma) - receive wage-replacement benefits, medical care and the payment of other expenses related to their injury. Additional government authority and guidance comes from the Workers' Compensation Commission and Connecticut's Workers' Compensation Administrative Regulations.

Getting started

The first step after any workplace injury is to, as soon as possible, alert your employer about the injury. Some employers will establish an injury care plan, including a list of preferred providers, that injured employees should follow. If your company has such a plan, you should try to comply with it as closely as you can. This will increase the chances that your work comp medical benefits claim will be approved.

Clearly, there are emergency situations in which you cannot help but seek treatment at the closest care facility regardless of whether it is preferred by your employer. That doesn't mean that your claim for benefits will be denied, but it could cause delays.

Once your employer is given notice of an injury, he or she has a duty to inform the work comp insurance carrier and the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission about it. That will get the benefits process started on your behalf while you are seeking treatment or recuperating.

The approval process

Most workers whose benefits have been approved start receiving benefits in just a few weeks. Employers have the right to challenge a benefit application, though, by saying that you were injured due to your own negligence, were not engaged in job duties at the time, you or another person committed an intervening criminal act or for other reasons.

Once you get notice that your employer is challenging a benefit award, you should be prepared to argue your case. This is where the help of an experienced workers' compensation attorney could be crucial. A skilled attorney will have the inherent system knowledge necessary to make a persuasive argument as to why you deserve workers' compensation injury or disability payments. Furthermore, a lawyer could increase your chances of successfully being awarded benefits, and could possibly prevent you from having to wade through the red tape associated with an appeal if your initial application is denied.