Sec. 31-296. Voluntary agreements. (a) If an employer and an injured employee, or in case of fatal injury the employee’s legal representative or dependent, at a date not earlier than the expiration of the waiting period, reach an agreement in regard to compensation, such agreement shall be submitted in writing to the commissioner by the employer with a statement of the time, place and nature of the injury upon which it is based; and, if such commissioner finds such agreement to conform to the provisions of this chapter in every regard, the commissioner shall so approve it. A copy of the agreement, with a statement of the commissioner’s approval, shall be delivered to each of the parties and thereafter it shall be as binding upon both parties as an award by the commissioner. The commissioner’s statement of approval shall also inform the employee or the employee’s dependent, as the case may be, of any rights the individual may have to an annual cost-of-living adjustment or to participate in a rehabilitation program administered by the Department of Rehabilitation Services under the provisions of this chapter. The commissioner shall retain the original agreement, with the commissioner’s approval thereof, in the commissioner’s office and, if an application is made to the superior court for an execution, the commissioner shall, upon the request of said court, file in the court a certified copy of the agreement and statement of approval.
(b) Before discontinuing or reducing payment on account of total or partial incapacity under any such agreement, the employer or the employer’s insurer, if it is claimed by or on behalf of the injured employee that such employee’s incapacity still continues, shall notify the commissioner and the employee, by certified mail, of the proposed discontinuance or reduction of such payments. Such notice shall specify the reason for the proposed discontinuance or reduction and the date such proposed discontinuance or reduction will commence. No discontinuance or reduction shall become effective unless specifically approved in writing by the commissioner. The employee may request a hearing on any such proposed discontinuance or reduction not later than fifteen days after receipt of such notice. Any such request for a hearing shall be given priority over requests for hearings on other matters. The commissioner shall not approve any such discontinuance or reduction prior to the expiration of the period for requesting a hearing or the completion of such hearing, whichever is later. In any case where the commissioner finds that an employer has discontinued or reduced any payments made in accordance with this section without the approval of the commissioner, such employer shall be required to pay to the employee the total amount of all payments so discontinued or the total amount by which such payments were reduced, as the case may be, and shall be required to pay interest to the employee, at a rate of one and one-quarter per cent per month or portion of a month, on any payments so discontinued or on the total amount by which such payments were reduced, as the case may be, plus reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the employee in relation to such discontinuance or reduction.
(c) The employer’s or insurer’s notice of intention to discontinue or reduce payments shall (1) identify the claimant, the claimant’s attorney or other representative, the employer, the insurer, and the injury, including the date of the injury, the city or town in which the injury occurred and the nature of the injury, (2) include medical documentation that (A) establishes the basis for the discontinuance or reduction of payments, and (B) identifies the claimant’s attending physician, and (3) be in substantially the following form:
STATE OF CONNECTICUT WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION
YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED THAT THE EMPLOYER OR INSURER INTENDS TO REDUCE OR DISCONTINUE YOUR COMPENSATION PAYMENTS ON .... (date) FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:
If you object to the reduction or discontinuance of benefits as stated in this notice, YOU MUST REQUEST A HEARING NOT LATER THAN 15 DAYS after your receipt of this notice, or this notice will automatically be approved.
To request an Informal Hearing, call the Workers’ Compensation Commission District Office in which your case is pending.
Be prepared to provide medical and other documentation to support your objection. For your protection, note the date when you received this notice.
(1949 Rev., S. 7444; 1953, S. 3047d; 1958 Rev., S. 31-170; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 18; 1971, P.A. 510, S. 1; P.A. 79-376, S. 44; P.A. 83-114, S. 1; P.A. 84-180, S. 1; P.A. 88-106, S. 1; P.A. 90-116, S. 6; P.A. 07-80, S. 1; P.A. 11-44, S. 48; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-1, S. 85.)
History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1971 act changed point at which discontinuance is effective from time notices are sent to commissioner to time when specifically approved in writing by commissioner; P.A. 79-376 replaced “workmen’s compensation” with “workers’ compensation”; P.A. 83-114 provided that the commissioner’s statement of approval of a voluntary agreement shall inform the individual as to his rights for an annual cost-of-living adjustment under this chapter; P.A. 84-180 provided that the commissioner’s statement of approval inform the employee of his rights to participate in a rehabilitation program; P.A. 88-106 authorized reduction of benefits; P.A. 90-116 provided that notices of discontinuance and reduction shall be made by certified mail, provided for priority hearing on discontinuances and reductions and provided for interest and attorney’s fees against the employer in cases of wrongful discontinuance or reduction (Revisor’s note: In 2001 the references in this section to the date “19..” were changed editorially by the Revisors to “20..” to reflect the new millennium); P.A. 07-80 divided section into Subsecs. (a), (b) and (c), made technical changes, in Subsec. (b), required notice to specify reasons for proposed discontinuance or reduction of benefits and changed from 10 days to 15 days the time for employee to request hearing and, in Subsec. (c), required specified information in notice and revised form; P.A. 11-44 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provision re rehabilitation program administered by Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, effective July 1, 2011; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-1 amended Subsec. (a) by replacing “Bureau of Rehabilitative Services” with “Department of Rehabilitation Services”, effective July 1, 2012.
Agreement for compensation approved by commissioner may be modified by him on facts not made known to him though known to the parties. 95 C. 356. Widow bound by agreement signed by her and late husband. 120 C. 280. Cited. 126 C. 491; 128 C. 578; 151 C. 559. Agreement by which employer waived all further claims under act was binding on him as waiver of his subrogation rights under Sec. 31-293. 157 C. 538. Cited. 159 C. 302; 177 C. 107; 231 C. 287; Id., 469; 233 C. 14; 237 C. 259. Sums paid pursuant to voluntary agreements are “compensation” and recoverable by employers or Second Injury Fund under Secs. 31-293 and 31-352. 259 C. 325.
Cited. 13 CA 208; 21 CA 464; 28 CA 113; 33 CA 490; 36 CA 298; 38 CA 754; 40 CA 36; 44 CA 771; 45 CA 324. Meaning of “voluntary agreement” as used in regulation Sec. 31-296-1 discussed; court was within discretion to deny request to execute voluntary agreement that was not a final settlement. 58 CA 45. Section procedural safeguards, postdeprivation remedies and public interest in providing speedy, effective, inexpensive method for determining workers’ compensation claims are sufficient to satisfy due process requirements. 144 CA 413.
Cited. 4 CS 467; 28 CS 5; 42 CS 514.