If you injured yourself while performing duties due to your employment, i.e. while at the workplace, driving as a condition of employment, etc., you may be entitled to a variety of benefits under Connecticut law while you are pursuing your worker’s compensation case. Filing a workers compensation case is lengthy and complicated, hiring a worker’s compensation attorney ensures your rights are protected, forms are properly filled out, and timelines are met. You are also entitled to ask for an award or settlement from your employer.
Although Connecticut’s worker’s compensation benefits are in this article, it is not the primary focus. The benefits are complicated and depend on your level of injury and disability. It is best to consult with a worker’s compensation attorney to see what your state benefits are while awaiting your award/settlement.
You are typically pursuing a worker’s compensation case because your employer’s insurance carrier denied your claim. This is common and does not mean you are not entitled to an award. In fact, most worker’s compensation cases are settled without a trial. The ability to settle before a trial, which saves you time, energy, and effort, is a product of an excellent personal injury attorney and a well plead the case.
When a full and final settlement is made, it is called a “Stipulation” in Connecticut. This means that in exchange for a sum of money, you agree to withdraw your worker’s compensation claim, this usually results in your worker’s compensation benefits to stop as well. The sum of money can be paid as one lump sum or in installments. Your worker’s compensation attorney is the best professional to assist you in that decision.
You are also able to leave certain monetary areas open if your personal injury attorney is able to negotiate that, for example, future medical needs will be covered by the insurance company if that need arises. You are usually required to waive rights if you agree to a settlement, which may include rights to future medical issues, however, you cannot waive the right for vocational rehabilitation services. This is where you are re-trained for a job based on your abilities post-injury.
A voluntary agreement occurs when your workers compensation claim is not denied, in fact, it is accepted by your employer’s insurance company. The insurance company determines that you are owed a certain sum of money, and after consulting with your personal injury attorney, you decide whether you wish to accept it.
A voluntary agreement does not mean your worker’s compensation claim is closed. You will continue to receive your benefits each week and you can continue to receive medical treatment and care. If your condition becomes worse, you are able to file a petition, with your personal injury attorney’s help, to ask for additional benefits or treatment.
Both the Stipulation (full and final judgment) and the Voluntary agreement must be approved by the state’s Workers Compensation Commission. Stipulations typically require a hearing before the commission where an administrative judge with asking you a variety of questions, most of which your personal injury attorney will have already prepared you for, including questions surrounding the settlement, your income, your current medical condition, etc. The judge approves the Stipulation based on “in the best interest” standard, i.e. if the settlement is in the injured party’s best interest.
You should receive your Stipulation check or Voluntary Agreement check within 20 days of approval by the commission. Your personal injury attorney is entitled to as their fee, no more than 20% of the award per state law.
NOTE: This blog is for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.