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Workers’ Compensation in Connecticut.

What is the Workers’ Compensation “Trade Off” and how does it ELIMINATE YOUR RIGHT to seek redress from your employer no matter how careless your employer acts.      

What is the Workers’ Compensation Tradeoff?
The Workers Compensation tradeoff is a tradeoff in which you lose one important right---the right to sue your employer for negligently causing your on-the-job injury, in exchange for a different right---the right to bring a Workers Compensation claim to receive workers compensation benefits.  

Why do we have Workers’ Compensation?  
In our society we have many workers like you.  In fact, we are all workers.  Just about everyone works a job of one type or another.  The vast majority of people are just like you working to earn a living for their entire adult life.
There are many different types of jobs.  Some jobs are desk jobs while others require physical labor and dexterity.   The fact that a job is being done is an indication that the job is needed by society.  Otherwise, no employer would employ people for that job because there would be no demand for that job.   Therefore, all of jobs are important.  Some jobs pose a small risk of injury while others are very dangerous.  
No matter how careful employers and workers are, some workers will be injured.  And some will be seriously injured so that they can no longer work to support their family.
As a society, how do we provide for workers who are injured on the job, and who can no longer work due to their injury?  That is where Workers Compensation comes into play.  
Workers Compensation is an insurance system in which people who are injured on the job receive benefits called workers compensation benefits.   There are several types of benefits available to provide for the needs of injured workers. 

Can a worker sue his employer if the employer was negligent or careless in causing the injury?  And what if the worker himself was negligent in causing his own injury?
But when a workers is injured on the job he cannot sue his employer in Court even when the injury was caused by the negligence are carelessness of the employer.  He only receives workers compensation benefits.  That is the workers compensation tradeoff.  Also, keep in mind that the worker can still receive workers compensation benefits even when the worker was negligent in causing his own injury.  It is a no fault system. 

What does the worker have to prove in a Workers’ Compensation claim?
In order to receive workers compensation benefits you do not have to prove fault on the part of your employer.  You only have to prove that your injury or condition was caused on the job.  Because you do not have to prove fault on the part of your employer, proving a workers compensation case is easier than proving a negligence case.  

How do most employers pay Workers’ Compensation benefits?
Employers are required to provide workers compensation benefits.   They can pay for the benefits directly, or they can get workers compensation insurance.   Most employers opt to get insurance.  Therefore, when you file a workers’ compensation claim, you should expect to be dealing with a workers compensation adjuster.  

What benefits are you entitled to in a Workers’ Compensation claim?
Medical benefits.  For an injury caused on the job, you are entitled to have your medical care paid for by the workers compensation insurance carrier.  But they only have to pay for what is reasonable and necessary.  So, don’t be surprised if the insurance company refuses to pay for something that you want done.  
When the insurance company disputes your claim, they will file a form called a form 43.  When that form is filed, you can submit your medical care bills to your health insurance carrier.  That way you can get the medical care you need today without waiting for the workers compensation claims commissioner to make a decision about some disputed medical care.  
Mileage.  You receive a small sum for each mile you have to travel to your medical appointments or hearings.  It is not a lot, but it adds up.
Wage replacement benefits.  These are called temporary total disability benefits.  If you are unable to work due to your injury, then you receive benefits.  These benefits are about 2/3 of your wages.  So, it is better if you work because you make 100% of your wages.  When you are able to work again, the benefits stop.  If you are able to do light work (called light duty) your can work and earn your wages.  
Benefits for a permanent injury.  If you have an injury that fully heals, then you don’t receive any benefits for the injury itself.  But if the injury does not fully heal, and your doctor finds that you have a permanent injury to a body part, then you receive benefits for that disability called permanent partial disability benefits.  The amount you receive depends upon the body part, your wages / compensation rate, and the extent of the permanent disability.  

No retaliation allowed.  Your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for filing a workers compensation claim, or otherwise exercising your rights under the workers compensation act.  In practice, it definitely happens.  Under Connecticut General Statute Section 31-290a, you have the right to sue your employer for money damages, if they retaliate against you for exercising your rights under the Workers Compensation Act.

Pain and Suffering.  In a Workers Compensation claim, you do not get pain and suffering damages.   That is the Workers Compensation trade off—you can’t sue your employer for pain and suffering for an injury that occurred on the job.  Instead, all you receive are benefits under workers compensation. 

If you or anyone you know has a serious injury caused on the job then contact the New London Workers Compensation lawyers at The Bartinik Law Firm, PC., 100 Fort Hill Road, Groton, CT., 860 445 8521 or toll free at 888 717 4211.

First Edition 
© Peter J. Bartinik, Jr., Esq.

About the author, Peter J. Bartinik, Jr. Esq.
Peter J. Bartinik, Jr. is a board certified civil trial lawyer practicing law in Connecticut.  He is Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  He is on the Board of Governors of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association.  He is also licensed in Rhode Island, but the vast majority of his practice is in Connecticut.   He has received the designation Super Lawyer for Connecticut and New England for each year continuously since 2006 when that rating system started.  He has a perfect “10” Avvo rating.  He gives seminars to other lawyers on personal injury trial practice topics such a proof of damages, and evidence.  He is an author.  He has authored book on the topics of personal injury practice including How to Put Your Best Foot Forward in Your Truck or Car Accident Case in Connecticut, published in 2013.  

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Peter J. Bartinik, Jr.
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Civil Trial Attorney, Practicing Law in Connecticut