The Workers' Compensation Act
The Connecticut Workers' Compensation Act was first enacted in 1913. There have been numerous changes to the Act since that time, but the main premise of the Act has always been to provide wage replacement and other benefits, as well as medical treatment, for those employees who have been injured, disabled, or killed while performing their jobs. In most cases, such employees are ONLY eligible for benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act and are prohibited from suing their employers for benefits. (However, employees and/or employers may sue a third party, if they believe that another party or a product was responsible for an employee's accident.)
The Workers' Compensation Commission
The Workers' Compensation Act also sets up an administrative system to provide for workers' compensation benefits. The agency created in the Act is the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, which administers the statutes of the Act.
Workers' Compensation Benefits
When an employee is injured on or becomes ill from the job, he or she becomes eligible for a number of statutory benefits:
The most immediate concern in cases of occupational injury or occupational disease is the health and physical well-being of the employee.
In addition to necessary medical treatment, the employee may be incapacitated from work for a period of time, during which he or she is eligible for wage replacement benefits according to statute:
- Whenever an employee is unable to perform ANY job, he or she is eligible to receive Temporary Total Disability benefits. The value of these benefits is calculated in different ways, depending upon the date of the work-related injury or illness.
- When an employee suffers a relapse or recurrence of the original injury or illness, he or she may receive benefits for the period of the relapse or recurrence. The value of these benefits is calculated based upon the original date of the injury or illness and the wages earned at that time and at the time of the relapse or recurrence.
- When an employee is able to perform SOME type of work, but not the original full-duty work which caused the injury or illness, he or she may receive Temporary Partial Disability benefits. These are also valued at different amounts, depending upon the date of injury or illness. However, in many cases these benefits will be the same amount as those the claimant received while totally disabled.
- When an employee suffers a permanent disability, he or she may receive Permanent Partial Disability benefits, which serve as compensation not for lost earnings, but for having suffered a permanent and partial disability to some part(s) of the body. These benefits, again, are valued differently according to the date of the injury or illness which caused the disability.
- An employee who suffers a disfigurement or scar due to a job injury or illness may be eligible for Disfigurement and Scarring benefits. The value of an award for disfigurement or scarring depends upon the nature of the disfigurement or scar and whether it falls within the statutory definition for benefits.
- In addition to the statutory benefits listed just above, a Workers' Compensation Commissioner may also grant benefits to an employee for any number of reasons which the claimant may present (i.e., still unemployed but looking for a job, going through a job retraining program and needs living funds for a short period, etc.). These are known as "308a" benefits and are discretionary. That is, a Commissioner may or may not award these benefits, based on his or her review of a claimant's request for benefits and any evidence which supports such a request.
The Workers' Compensation Act also provides for vocational rehabilitation for those employees who are injured at or who become ill from their work and who cannot return to the work which caused the injury or illness. Such employees may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation from the Workers' Compensation Commission's Rehabilitation Services unit.
This is only a very brief overview of the benefits provided by the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Act. More detailed information about benefits and many other aspects of the workers' compensation system is contained within the pages of this web.
Injured at Work? Click here for information on what you need to do.
State of Connecticut
Workers' Compensation Commission
Page last revised: May 22, 2001
Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/gen-info/misc/wc-intro.htm