State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Sec. 31-291

Workers’ Compensation Act as amended to January 1, 2007

Principal employer, contractor and subcontractor.

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Sec. 31-291. Principal employer, contractor and subcontractor. When any principal employer procures any work to be done wholly or in part for him by a contractor, or through him by a subcontractor, and the work so procured to be done is a part or process in the trade or business of such principal employer, and is performed in, on or about premises under his control, such principal employer shall be liable to pay all compensation under this chapter to the same extent as if the work were done without the intervention of such contractor or subcontractor. The provisions of this section shall not extend immunity to any principal employer from a civil action brought by an injured employee or his dependent under the provisions of section 31-293 to recover damages resulting from personal injury or wrongful death occurring on or after May 28, 1988, unless such principal employer has paid compensation benefits under this chapter to such injured employee or his dependent for the injury or death which is the subject of the action.

(1949 Rev., S. 7423; 1958 Rev., S. 31-154; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 13; P.A. 88-226, S. 1, 2.)

History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; P.A. 88-226 added the provision limiting the immunity for principal employers.

Section makes each one of a chain of contractors liable to the employee. He need not sue his immediate employer first. 99 C. 353. One who lets out by contract the construction of an entire building is not a “principal employer”; aliter, if he gives out parts to different contractors. 101 C. 34. Conditions to liability of principal employer. 106 C. 113; 107 C. 191. General contractor liable for death of employee of subcontractor; both may be held jointly liable. 109 C. 39. General contractor may recover from subcontractor sum which he has been compelled to pay under act to an employee of the latter. 110 C. 221. Question of whether one is a principal employer is largely one of degree and fact. 114 C. 126. Collection of rubbish part of business of city. Id., 546. Cited. 118 C. 368; 119 C. 224. Principal employer liable for compensation cannot be sued at common law. 122 C. 188. Independent contractor not subject to control of employer. 123 C. 320. Cited. 124 C. 230. When one is an employee and not a contractor. Id., 409; Id., 433. Principal employer not liable for compensation as injury did not occur on premises under its control, although work was part or process of trade or business. 125 C. 109; Id., 728. Cited. Id., 265. Independent contractor not servant at time of injury. 126 C. 379. Relationship of principal employer and contractor did not exist. 127 C. 316; 132 C. 81. Work held not “part or process of” employer’s trade or business. 129 C. 44; Id., 636. Cited. Id., 593. Work not done in, on or about premises under control of defendant. 130 C. 256. Work held “part or process of” employer’s trade or business. Id., 385. Cited. 131 C. 246; 134 C. 468. Cited. 135 C. 500. No distinction between “contractor” and “independent contractor” as used in this section. Id., 294. Emphasis is on area rather than actual control of implements which caused accident. 136 C. 529. Work not a part or process in trade or business of defendant. Id., 698. Cited. 138 C. 77. If work is of such a character that it ordinarily or appropriately would be performed by principal employer’s own employees in the furtherance of his business, or as an essential part in the maintenance thereof, it is a part or process of his work. Id., 569. Work held not a part or process in trade or business of principal employer. Id., 646. Special purpose of section is to protect employees of minor contractors against irresponsibility of immediate employers by making principal contractor liable where three conditions of statute are met. 154 C. 611. Cited. 166 C. 298. Cited. 189 C. 701. Not unconstitutional within provisions of section 1 of article first of the Connecticut Constitution. 212 C. 427. Cited. 226 C. 508. Injured employee of a subcontractor may sue general contractor if employee can establish contractor’s liability to employee under case law. 264 C. 509.

Cited. 6 CA 60. Cited. 10 CA 261. Cited. 15 CA 806. Purpose. 48 CA 449. Specific meaning of “control”. Id.

Where employee’s injuries are compensable, it is improper under statute for the court or compensation commissioner to determine question of liability between employer, contractor and subcontractor defendants. 1 CS 78. Remodeling and installing fixtures as a “part or process in the trade or business” of a department store discussed. 9 CS 429. Where a third person was permitted to conduct a nonprofit cafeteria for the convenience of employees, the cafeteria was not “a part or process in the trade or business” of the employer. 12 CS 203. To satisfy statute, work must be carried on in some defined physical area within observation of principal employer affording opportunity, by sufficient oversight, to prevent or minimize danger. 27 CS 281. Cited. 30 CS 330. Cited. 42 CS 168.

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Page last revised: July 18, 2007

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