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Blackman v. Connecticut Natural Gas Corp.

CASE NO. 1857 CRB-1-93-9

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JUNE 27, 1995

GHITA W. BLACKMAN

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

CONNECTICUT NATURAL GAS CORP.

EMPLOYER

and

HARTFORD INSURANCE GROUP

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant appeared pro se.

The respondents were represented by Jason M. Dodge, Esq. and Stephen Ekern, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton & Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, CT 06033-4412.

This Petition for Review from the September 16, 1993 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the First District was heard October 7, 1994 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl and Commissioners Angelo L. dos Santos and Michael S. Miles.

OPINION

JESSE M. FRANKL, CHAIRMAN. The claimant has petitioned for review from the First District Commissioner’s September 16, 1993 Finding and Dismissal. She argues on appeal that the commissioner improperly dismissed her claim for lack of timely notice under § 31-294 C.G.S. We affirm the trial commissioner’s decision.

The claimant was seriously injured on Friday, August 17, 1990, when her car was struck from behind while the claimant was driving home from a sales seminar in Farmington. The claimant reported the accident to her employer on the following Monday. In March 1991, the claimant settled her claim against the tortfeasor. The claimant filed a Form 30C with her employer on April 16, 1992. Noting that the claimant did not argue that any of the saving provisions of § 31-294 were applicable, the commissioner dismissed the claim because it was not filed within one year of the accident. The claimant appeals from that decision.

The claimant argues that her employer should have suspected that her claim was compensable as soon as she told her supervisor of her accident, and that this was sufficient to begin a claim for compensation under § 31-294. That section requires a claimant to provide written notice of a claim for compensation to the employer or any commissioner within one year of the date of the accident. Without such notice, a claim cannot be brought. It is undisputed that the claimant did not provide written notice to her employer, but simply told her supervisor that she was injured. Also, the claimant was not attempting to make a workers’ compensation claim when she told her employer of her injury. Therefore, the claimant’s oral report of her injury to her supervisor did not constitute the filing of a claim under § 31-294(a).

The claimant also failed to demonstrate that she met any of § 31-294(b)’s exceptions to the one-year requirement. She did not request a hearing within one year of her injury, nor was a voluntary agreement reached, nor did her employer furnish her with medical care. The claimant confirmed at oral argument that the treatment she received was paid for by her group health insurance policy, not by her employer. Therefore, the commissioner correctly ruled that the exceptions did not apply.

As to her argument that her employer should have provided her with medical care under § 31-294(c), we do not accept the claimant’s contention that her employer was aware of the existence of a compensable injury. The circumstances of the claimant’s accident were not such as to automatically put the employer on notice that the claimant’s injury arose out of and in the course of her employment. The commissioner was certainly not required to find that the employer was intentionally concealing the availability of workers’ compensation in this case. Similarly, § 31-316 only addresses injuries suffered in the course of employment, and we cannot say as a matter of law that the employer should have reported the claimant’s injury to the Workers’ Compensation Commission under the facts of this case.

There was sufficient evidence in the record to support the commissioner’s finding that the claimant did not satisfy the notice requirement of § 31-294. See Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535, 539 (1988). Therefore, we will not disturb his conclusion. Adzima v. UAC/Norden Division, 177 Conn. 107, 118 (1979).

The trial commissioner’s decision is affirmed.

Commissioners Angelo L. dos Santos and Michael S. Miles concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: January 21, 2005

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/1995/1857crb.htm

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State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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