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Worker injured on the job awarded record $4.5 million

A work accident victim may have very limited options for seeking financial damages. Connecticut's workers' compensation system may be the only avenue to obtain damages and lost wages according to a settlement of a claim by a worker who suffered permanent disability in a workplace accident.

The undocumented construction worker was awarded $4.5 million for being paralyzed in a November 2007 fall at a Milford job site when he was 18-years-old. This is the largest settlement in the history of the Connecticut worker's compensation program.

This worker was injured when he was doing roof work and fell off an 18-foot ladder, according to his attorney. He became a quadriplegic after suffering a crushed spine in the fall.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also cited the worker's employer. The OSHA investigation found visible defects in the ladder that the worker used while he was injured and other numerous safety violations at that construction site, according to its records.

The worker is now 24-years-old and was treated in several Connecticut rehabilitation centers. His family first obtained legal assistance to seek workers' compensation in November 2011.

His attorney said that the workers' compensation system was the only method to obtain relief for these injuries. This worker would have had to prove conduct amounting to criminal behavior in a private lawsuit against this employer, according to his attorney.

Workers who suffer medical and wage losses should also seek advice on exercising their right to compensation. Attorneys may help workers utilize the state's compensation system, which may be the most effective and perhaps the only option to obtain needed financial relief.

Source: Connecticut Post, "Injured worker awarded record settlement," Daniel Tepfer, June 11, 2014

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