Our Connecticut workers compensation lawyers represent people who have suffered serious injuries on the job. If you were injured at work in the State of Connecticut you should immediately report it to your supervisor and seek medical treatment. When you see a medical professional, you should tell the doctor that you were injured at work. Workers’ compensation will pay for your medical bills. During the medical examination, the doctor may concluded that you are unable to return to work for a certain time period or the doctor may conclude that you are “totally disabled”. You are then entitled to receive a weekly benefit for the weeks that you are disabled and unable to work. The weekly benefit is about 75% of your regular take-home pay. The insurance company will require you to sign a document verifying your weekly earnings so that the weekly benefit check can be calculated properly.
At some point in time, as your injury heals, your doctor will release you to “light duty” and place certain physical restrictions such as no lifting over 20 pounds. If the doctor does release you to light duty you must contact the employer to determine if light duty work is available. If there is light duty work available, you should accept the work. If the light duty job pays a lower wage than the regular job then you are entitled to temporary partial (wage differential) benefits. This weekly benefit is up to 75% of the difference between the regular job and the light duty job. If the employer does not light duty, you need to start looking for work and document your job searches. Generally, five job searches per week must be performed. Your temporary partial benefits will continue to be paid so long as you perform the job searches and the doctor continues to place restrictions on your ability to work.
Eventually (usually within nine to twelve months following the work related injury or last surgery), the doctor will perform a permanency evaluation. If you incurred a disability as a result of the work injury, the doctor will assign a percentage of disability to the body part that was injured. If you have been assigned with a disability, you are entitled to receive permanency benefits (also called specifics). The relevant statute lists the number of weeks of benefits each body part is worth (e.g. 100% loss of the back equals 374 weeks). The weekly benefit begins on the day you reached maximum medical improvement. This benefit will be received instead of your temporary partial benefit.
Unlike temporary total or temporary partial benefits, you are eligible for unemployment compensation should you not be working during this time. Once your permanency benefits run out, the only other benefit you may be able to receive is under Section 31-308a. Under this statute, you are eligible for a wage differential between what you earned at your regular job and what you are now capable of earning. This benefit is not automatic. It is up to the discretion of the Commissioner to award. If this benefit is awarded, the benefits are limited to the number of weeks of your permanent benefits. If you have received scars or disfigurements, you are entitled to benefits. This benefit is typically limited to the face, head and neck.
If after all the benefits have been exhausted, the case remains open should any future problems arise which relate to the injury. The only time the case is closed is in the event of a “stipulation” which is a full and final settlement of the case. The case should never be closed if you have not reached maximum medical improvement. Settlement of the case means that you will be responsible for any future medical bills related to the injury. If you have suffered a work-related injury in Connecticut, call us at 860-667-0839 to discuss your claim.