The employer's burdens in workers' compensation


Workers who are injured on the job in Connecticut have the right to compensation for injuries and lost wages. However, this right is governed by laws and procedures and is not always a foregone conclusion. Employers have the burden of promptly investigating a claim for compensation and informing workers of the reasons for denying the claim.

Employers can contest a workers' compensation claim only if they give notice of their defense to the action within 28 days of the filing of a claim for compensation. The denials have to be on the prescribed form, allege that the employer is contesting the right to compensation, contain the names of the claimant and the employer, list the date of the alleged injury or death and contain the specific grounds that the employer relies upon to contest the claim.

Denials that are overly general which does not contain a specific defense or reason is insufficient. If this denial is insufficient, the Connecticut workers' compensation commissioner may grant the claimant's motion to stop the employer from disputing liability.

Employers' disclaimers must dispute at least one of the five elements that a worker must prove to obtain compensation. First, that the workers' compensation commission possesses jurisdiction over this claim. Next, the claim was filed within the requisite time period or within any exceptions to this period. Third, the claimant is legally qualified to claim benefits under Connecticut law. Claimants also have to show that the workers' compensation act governs the employer. Fifth, claimants have to prove that they suffered a personal injury within the definition of the act which arose out of and in their course of employment.

Notice of denial, however, does not have to be expressed with technical precision. It only has to show the specific grounds on which the employer is disputing its liability for the claim. Denials can express objections such as the injury did not arise within the course of the claimant's employment or there is insufficient medical documentation to support the claim that the injury was causally related to employment.

A work accident victim should seek prompt legal representation to help assure their right to compensation is protected by obtaining evidence and following procedural requirements. The legal procedures governing these claims can determine whether a worker obtains compensation.

Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch, "Riveiro v. Fresh Start Bakeries, et al., 159 CA 180 (Ct Sup. Ct., 2015)," Retrieved Sept. 6, 2015

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