State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Sec. 31-284

Workers’ Compensation Act as amended to January 1, 1999

Basic rights and liabilities. Civil action to enjoin noncomplying employer from entering into employment contracts. Notice of availability of compensation.

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Sec. 31-284. Basic rights and liabilities. Civil action to enjoin noncomplying employer from entering into employment contracts. Notice of availability of compensation. (a) An employer who complies with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section shall not be liable for any action for damages on account of personal injury sustained by an employee arising out of and in the course of his employment or on account of death resulting from personal injury so sustained, but an employer shall secure compensation for his employees as provided under this chapter, except that compensation shall not be paid when the personal injury has been caused by the wilful and serious misconduct of the injured employee or by his intoxication. All rights and claims between an employer who complies with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section and employees, or any representatives or dependents of such employees, arising out of personal injury or death sustained in the course of employment are abolished other than rights and claims given by this chapter, provided nothing in this section shall prohibit any employee from securing, by agreement with his employer, additional compensation from his employer for the injury or from enforcing any agreement for additional compensation.

(b) Each employer who does not furnish to the chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission satisfactory proof of his solvency and financial ability to pay directly to injured employees or other beneficiaries compensation provided by this chapter shall insure his full liability under this chapter, other than his liability for assessments pursuant to sections 31-345 and 31-354 in one of the following ways: (1) By filing with the Insurance Commissioner in form acceptable to him security guaranteeing the performance of the obligations of this chapter by the employer; or (2) by insuring his full liability under this part, exclusive of any liability resulting from the terms of section 31-284b, in any stock or mutual companies or associations that are or may be authorized to take such risks in this state; or (3) by any combination of the methods provided in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection as he may choose, subject to the approval of the Insurance Commissioner. If the employer fails to comply with the requirements of this subsection, an employee may bring an action against such employer for damages on account of personal injury sustained by such employee arising out of and in the course of his employment or on account of death resulting from personal injury so sustained, except that there shall be no liability under this section to an individual on the part of the employer if such individual held himself out to the employer as an independent contractor and the employer, in good faith, relied on that representation as well as other indicia of such status and classified such individual as an independent contractor. In case of an alleged noncompliance with the provisions of this subsection, a certificate of noncompliance under oath, by the chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, shall constitute prima facie evidence of noncompliance.

(c) Each employer who does not furnish to the chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission satisfactory proof of his solvency and financial ability to pay directly to the State Treasurer the assessments required in sections 31-345 and 31-354 shall insure his full liability for the assessments in one of the following ways: (1) By filing with the Insurance Commissioner in form acceptable to him security guaranteeing the payment of the assessments by the employer; (2) by insuring his full liability for the assessments in any stock or mutual companies or associations that are or may be authorized to take such risks in this state; or (3) by any combination of the methods provided in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection as he may choose, subject to the approval of the Insurance Commissioner. The payment of the assessments required under sections 31-345 and 31-354 is a condition of doing business in this state and failure to pay the assessments, when due, shall result in the denial of the privilege of doing business in this state or to self-insure under subsections (b) and (c) of this section. If the liability for the assessments is insured, the insurance shall be by endorsement to a policy meeting all of the requirements of the Insurance Commissioner, or by a separate policy insuring the liability for the assessments, and otherwise meeting all of the requirements of the Insurance Commissioner. In the case of any employer who files acceptable security guaranteeing the liability for the assessments, failure to pay the assessments, when due, shall result in the denial of the privilege to self-insure under subsections (b) and (c) of this section.

(d) Any employer to whom a certificate of self-insurance has been issued pursuant to this section who fails or is unable to pay any compensation mandated by the provisions of this chapter, thereby requiring payment from the Second Injury Fund pursuant to section 31-355, shall be prohibited from self-insuring his liability under this chapter for a period of ten years from the date of the payment. The employer shall be required during the ten-year period to insure his full liability under this part, exclusive of any liability resulting from the terms of section 31-284b, in any stock or mutual companies or associations that are or may be authorized to take such risks in this state. Failure to so insure his liability shall result in the denial of the privilege of doing business in this state.

(e) Whenever an employer fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section, the Attorney General may bring a civil action in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford to enjoin the employer, until such time as he fully complies with such requirements, from entering into any contracts of employment as a result of which he will employ additional employees.

(f) Each employer subject to the provisions of this chapter shall post, in a conspicuous place, a notice of the availability of compensation, in type of not less than ten-point boldface. The notice shall contain, at a minimum, the information required by regulations adopted pursuant to section 31-279.

(1949 Rev., S. 7417, 7418, 7419, 7453, 7461; 1949, S. 3038d, 3050d; 1958 Rev., S. 31-148, 31-149, 31-150, 31-180, 31-189; 1959, P.A. 580, S. 13, 15, 17, 20, 21; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 10; 1967, P.A. 842, S. 4; P.A. 77-614, S. 163, 610; P.A. 80-482, S. 202, 348; P.A. 82-398, S. 2; P.A. 85-184, S. 2; 85-189, S. 1; 85-349, S. 1; P.A. 86-165; 86-403, S. 64, 132; P.A. 88-230, S. 1, 12; P.A. 90-98, S. 1, 2; P.A. 91-32, S. 7, 41; 91-339, S. 11, 55; P.A. 93-142, S. 4, 7, 8; P.A. 95-220, S. 46; P.A. 96-65, S. 1; 96-216, S. 2, 5.)

History: 1959 act increased fine from one hundred to two hundred fifty dollars, required that fines be paid over to second injury and assurance fund or its successor and replaced references to specific sections, parts, etc. with references to chapter; 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1967 act added proviso protecting employee’s right to secure additional benefits from employer in Subsec. (a); P.A. 77-614 placed insurance commissioner within the department of business regulation and made insurance department a division within that same department, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 80-482 reinstated insurance division as an independent department with commissioner as its head following abolition of department of business regulation; P.A. 82-398 excluded liability resulting from terms of Sec. 31-284b in Subsec. (b)(2); P.A. 85-184 amended Subsec. (b) to require that proof of solvency be filed by employers with the board of compensation commissioners, rather than with an individual commissioner; P.A. 85-189 added Subsec. (c), which establishes the liability of employers for the assessments required for the various funds under workers’ compensation, and permits the purchasing of insurance for such liabilities; P.A. 85-349 added Subsec. (d), which prohibits employers from self-insuring their workers’ compensation liability for ten years if payment from the second injury fund has been required; P.A. 86-165 added Subsec. (e), empowering the attorney general to bring a civil action to enjoin any employer who doesn’t comply with the issuance requirements of the section from entering into new employment contracts; P.A. 86-403 made technical change in Subsec. (c); P.A. 88-230 replaced “judicial district of Hartford-New Britain” with “judicial district of Hartford”, effective September 1, 1991; P.A. 90-98 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1991, to September 1, 1993; P.A. 91-32 made technical changes and added Subsec. (f) re notice of the availability of compensation; P.A. 91-339 changed “board of compensation commissioners” to “chairman of the workers’ compensation commission” and made technical changes; P.A. 93-142 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1993, to September 1, 1996, effective June 14, 1993; P.A. 95-220 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1996, to September 1, 1998, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 96-65 amended Subsec. (a) to exempt employers who comply with the requirements of Subsec. (b) from liability and amended Subsec. (b) to allow an employee to bring an action against an employer who fails to comply with the subsection, replacing provision imposing one-thousand-dollar fine; P.A. 96-216 amended Subsec. (b) to change the penalty for an employer from a fine to the penalties in Subsecs. (c) and (d) of Sec. 31-288, effective June 4, 1996, but failed to take effect, P.A. 96-65 having deleted the penalty provision in its entirety.

Annotations to former statutes:

Former statute which applied to employers of five or more employees. “Serious and wilful misconduct” defined. 98 C. 597. Does not include failure to take shelter during a blast; 93 C. 60; nor trying to jump on a moving truck; 93 C. 589; nor going on a scaffold though subject to vertigo; 97 C. 55; nor driving auto 35 to 40 miles an hour; 98 C. 548; nor disobedience of safety rules by an ignorant woman. 98 C. 600. Cited. 112 C. 462; 114 C. 130; 116 C. 96; 125 C. 297; 126 C. 275; 128 C. 611; 129 C. 534; 130 C. 259; 131 C. 157; id., 246; 133 C. 308; id., 644. The claimant will have sustained the burden of proof of five or more employees if it does not appear that the condition exists upon which exemption for less than five rests. 125 C. 22. Number employed relates to group; not number during period. 117 C. 496. When arises out of and in the course of employment. 109 C. 178; 122 C. 343; 127 C. 248; id., 528; 132 C. 563; 133 C. 78. When injured after return to way necessary to go, even if there had been a prior departure, entitled to compensation. 109 C. 378. When horseplay considered to arise out of employment. Id., 473. What constitutes serious and wilful misconduct. 124 C. 409. Burning while washing overalls of fellow employee considered to arise out of the course of employment. 127 C. 248. Going to picnic, while being paid, injury arises out of employment. 110 C. 384. Drowning on route chosen by employee. 114 C. 519. Store manager killed by robbers while mailing employer’s report on way home. 115 C. 665. Permitted smoking in overtime. 112 C. 635; 132 C. 279. Employer contracts to furnish transportation; injury occurring on way to place of employment arose out of employment. 125 C. 238. Arises out of employment when using own car on employer’s business. 118 C. 295; 132 C. 388. Injury on afternoon off not compensable. 128 C. 488. Arises out of when traveling salesman is injured while on highway. 111 C. 532. When does not arise out of employment. 111 C. 365; id., 655. When injured on highway does not arise out of employment unless it arises in course of it. 123 C. 327. Accident while crossing railroad adjacent to employer’s plant not always compensable. 122 C. 129. Arose in course of, but did not arise out of. 130 C. 8. May arise before work begins or after it ceases. 125 C. 238. Sunstroke is personal injury. 125 C. 380. Heat exhaustion must be special hazard. 113 C. 721. Cerebral thrombosis not chargeable to employment. 123 C. 327. Coronary occlusion not caused by employment. 127 C. 717. Two back injuries; compensated for first; returned to light work at full wages; injured again in employ of another; second employer liable. 123 C. 188. Burden of proof on claimant. 130 C. 1. Wilful misconduct. 118 C. 312. Walking beside truck as it proceeds up mountain. Id. Worker in federal relief program not employee. 123 C. 504. Apportionment for aggravation not applicable to death cases. 114 C. 389. Burden on respondent to show fact that he is only liable for aggravation. Id. Finding that head injury causing death arose out of employment sustained. 139 C. 215. Cited. 141 C. 539; 143 C. 77.

Minor employed in violation of law is nonetheless an employee and as such is denied the right to obtain damages from his employer; he may recover under the workmen’s compensation act. 12 CS 304. Effect of intoxication of employee discussed. 17 CS 246.

(1958 Rev., S. 31-148.) General consideration; when within act. 109 C. 178. Cited. 111 C. 236. Injured while traveling on duty. 123 C. 327.

(1958 Rev., S. 31-149.) Cited. 111 C. 236. Injured compensation claimant may sue fellow employee responsible for injuries. 115 C. 117. When one is not “casual”. 122 C. 185. Exception of employer “having regularly less than five employees” construed.

(1949 Rev., S. 7418.) 125 C. 22.

(1958 Rev., S. 31-150.) Proper method of pleading, in a civil action for damages, the fact that the plaintiff is covered by the workmen’s compensation act and therefore cannot sue at common law. 21 CS 240. This section is not a denial of jurisdiction in the superior court, but is a destruction of an otherwise existent common-law right of action. Id.

(1958 Rev., S. 31-180.) Cited. 112 C. 468, 580; 113 C. 516; 116 C. 221; 122 C. 192; 125 C. 259.

(1958 Rev., S. 31-189.) In the original act an employer of less than five was under Part B. By failing to comply with Sec. 31-180 he exposed himself to suit at law, but it did not take away from employee his right to claim compensation. 89 C. 168. Cited. 112 C. 468; 122 C. 192.

Annotations to present section:

An employee seeking workmen’s compensation has burden of proving that he sustained an injury, not merely in the course of his employment, but arising out of, that is, caused by his employment. 150 C. 328. Burden of proving injury sustained in course of employment on claimant. 151 C. 430. Cited. 153 C. 410; 156 C. 280, 281. Persons employed by board of education deemed town employees. 164 C. 65. Summary judgment for defendant employer sustained where plaintiff employee, injured while parking his car in the employees parking lot by a fellow employee driving the employer’s truck, had claimed and been paid benefits pursuant to Workmen’s Compensation Act. 167 C. 621. Cited. 169 C. 646, 653. Cited. 175 C. 174, 182. To be compensable, injury must, inter alia, occur while employee is reasonably fulfilling duties of employment or engaged in activity incidental to it. Activity is incidental if regularly engaged in on employer’s premises within period of employment, with employer’s approval and acquiescence. 176 C. 547-563. Cited. 178 C. 371-373, 375, 376; 179 C. 662, 665. Cited. 183 C. 508, 509, 511. Cited. 185 C. 616, 619. Cited. 189 C. 671, 678; Id., 701, 705. Court declined to extend an exception to the statute to include injuries to employees resulting from “intentional” or “wilful” or “reckless” violation by employees of safety standards established pursuant to federal and state laws such as OSHA. 196 C. 91, 93, 96, 97, 99, 100, 106. Cited. 203 C. 34, 42, 43. Cited. 204 C. 104, 110. Cited. 206 C. 495-497. Cited. 212 C. 138, 146. Cited. Id., 427, 429, 430. Cited. Id., 814. Cited. 219 C. 439, 445, 448, 454, 455, 458, 460. Cited. 221 C. 465. Cited. 223 C. 336, 342, 348. Cited. 229 C. 99, 100, 107, 113. Cited. 237 C. 1, 9. Cited. 238 C. 285. Cited. 242 C. 255.

Cited. 3 CA 16, 21. Cited. Id., 547, 548. Cited 5 CA 193, 195. By granting immunity to employees from loss of consortium suits statute does not violate due process clause of federal or state constitutions. Id., 369-371, 375, 377. Cited. 7 CA 296, 297. Cited. 10 CA 618, 622. Cited. 15 CA 615, 621. Cited. 16 CA 660, 673. Bars receipt of uninsured motorist’s benefits by plaintiff in receipt of workers’ compensation benefits from same circumstances. 19 CA 169-171. Cited. 24 CA 739, 742. Cited. 25 CA 492, 494, 495; judgment reversed, see 222 C. 744 et seq. Does not bar employee in receipt of compensation benefits from also obtaining uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits reduced by compensation benefits paid or payable. Id., 651, 653; judgment reversed, see 222 C. 769 et seq. Cited. 27 CA 800, 801. Cited. 30 CA 630-632. Cited. 34 CA 521, 527. Cited. 44 CA 1. Cited. 46 CA 346.

Cited. 27 CS 280. Action in negligence, against insurer of employer who has paid compensation to plaintiff employee for failure of insurer to inspect dangerous machinery in shop, is precluded by merger of identities of employer and insurer and policy of workmen’s compensation acts. 28 CS 1. Cited. 30 CS 126. An employer cannot be sued as a joint tortfeasor by a third party whom his employee is suing for negligence, absent a separate contractual relation with third party. 31 CS 322. The Workmen’s Compensation Act is not a bar to indemnity where such a right can be predicated on some legal relationship between the third party and employer giving rise to a duty on the part of the employer to the third party which is either contractually or tortiously breached. 32 CS 96, 102. Cited. 38 CS 359, 362; Id., 607, 608. Cited. 39 CS 408, 409. Cited. 42 CS 168.

Subsec. (a):

Cited. 176 C. 320, 321. Cited. 179 C. 215-217, 220. Personal injuries are compensable under workers’ compensation when incurred while walking from employer-furnished transportation to employer-furnished lodging. Id., 501, 503, 507. Cited. 183 C. 508, 509. Cited. 189 C. 550, 557. Cited. 196 C. 91, 98, 103, 108, 109. Cited. Id., 529-533, 544. Did not bar plaintiff administrator’s wrongful death action where minor illegally hired in violation of public policy. 203 C. 34, 38, 40, 43, 44. To the extent inconsistent overruled 131 C. 157. Id. Cited. Id., 324, 336, 337. Cited. 204 C. 104, 111. Cited. 205 C. 219, 221. Cited. 208 C. 589, 592. Cited. 209 C. 59, 62. Cited. 212 C. 138, 141, 143. Cited. Id., 427, 430. Cited. 218 C. 531, 553. Cited. 219 C. 439, 445, 455, 460. Cited. 220 C. 721, 729. Cited. 221 C. 356, 366-368; Id., 465, 466, 469-471. Construing uninsured motorist coverage as “exception” to workers’ compensation act is irreconcilable with language of section. Judgment of appellate court in Bouley v. Norwich, 25 CA 492 reversed. 222 C. 744-746, 750-756, 758-764. Section bars work-related claim for uninsured motorist benefits under insurance policy procured by employer including employer’s personal automobile liability insurance. Judgment of appellate court in CNA Ins. Co. v. Colman, 25 CA 651 reversed. Id., 769-774. Cited. Id., 775, 776. Cited 223 C. 917. Cited. 226 C. 282, 298. Cited. Id., 404-406. Cited. 227 C. 333, 349, 358. Cited. 229 C. 99, 100, 106. Cited. 234 C. 51, 65. Cited. 235 C. 790, 792. Employee not barred from recovering uninsured motorist coverage benefits against employer’s insurer in regard to accident occurring prior to effective date of P.A. 93-297. 238 C. 285. P.A. 93-297 cited. Id. Cited. 240 C. 694.

Cited. 2 CA 363, 373. Cited. 3 CA 40, 42. Cited. 5 CA 369-373, 375, 377. Cited. 6 CA 60, 71. Cited. 16 CA 660, 673. Cited. 24 CA 739, 743. Cited. 27 CA 800, 801, 807, 809. Cited. 28 CA 660, 665, 666. Cited. 30 CA 630, 633. Cited. 32 CA 16, 19. Cited. 44 CA 1. Cited. 45 CA 324. Cited. 46 CA 699.

Not a bar to an action for indemnification by a bailee against an employer where the action is based on breach of a warranty of fitness under the bailment contract. 32 CS 210. Cited. 32 CS 213. Breach of an independent duty is sufficient to overcome the defense based on the Workmen’s Compensation Act. 32 CS 214. In absence of special relationship, workmen’s compensation is the exclusive remedy against an employer. 35 CS 268, 272, 273. Cited. 38 CS 324, 325. Cited 39 CS 250, 252, 254.

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