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CASE NO. 3515 CRB-07-97-01
COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION
MAY 6, 1998
CITY OF STAMFORD
KEMPER RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES
MURPHY & BEANE
The claimant was represented by Gary Wilson, Esq., 4 Daniels Farm Rd., Suite 168, Trumbull, CT 06611-3938.
The employer and Kemper Risk Management were represented by James Sullivan, Esq., Maher & Williams, P.O. Box 550, Fairfield, CT 06430-0550.
Murphy & Beane was represented by Booth Kelly, Esq., Two Union Plaza, New London, CT 06320 who did not participate at the trial level, and did not appear at oral argument before this board.
This Petition for Review from the January 10, 1997 Ruling Re: Motion to Preclude of the Commissioner acting for the Seventh District was heard September 19, 1997 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl and Commissioners John A. Mastropietro and Stephen B. Delaney.
JESSE M. FRANKL, CHAIRMAN. The claimant has petitioned for review from the January 10, 1997 Ruling Re: Motion to Preclude of the trial commissioner acting for the Seventh District. In that decision, the trial commissioner concluded that the notice of claim filed by the claimant provided insufficient notice to the employer as to a hypertension claim. The trial commissioner thus denied the claimant’s motion to preclude the employer from contesting the claimant’s hypertension claim. In support of his appeal, the claimant contends that the employer was provided with sufficient information regarding the alleged injury, and therefore that the trial commissioner erred in denying his motion to preclude.
The trial commissioner found the following relevant facts. The claimant was employed as a police officer by the respondent employer. On November 15, 1994, during the course of his employment, the claimant entered a burning building in an attempt to rescue anyone trapped in the building. The claimant suffered severe burns to his face, and also suffered smoke inhalation, and was admitted to the hospital for these injuries. While in the hospital, the claimant was diagnosed with an elevated blood pressure reading for which he was prescribed medication. The claimant’s supervisor filed a report regarding said incident, and the employer filed a First Report of Injury. (Finding No. 4 and 5).
On an undetermined date, the claimant filed a Form 30C Notice of Claim regarding the above incident. On the form, the employer is listed as “Anthony Taylor” and the injury is described as follows: “Attempting to rescue persons possibly trapped in a burning building. Caught in a ‘flashover.’” The Form 30C is unsigned and does not include the address, telephone number, social security number, or date of preparation. The respondents failed to contest the Form 30C within twenty-eight days. The respondents have accepted that the claimant sustained a compensable injury due to smoke inhalation and burns on his face and hands, and have paid benefits accordingly. However, the respondents contest the allegation that the November 15, 1994 incident caused the claimant to sustain a hypertension claim.
The claimant contends that the trial commissioner erred in denying his Motion to Preclude. Specifically, the claimant contends that the employer was provided with sufficient information regarding the claim for hypertension based upon the claimant’s signed statement to the employer’s insurance administrator. (See Finding No. 8). At one time, this board required strict compliance with § 31-294c in order for preclusion to lie. Our Supreme Court subsequently stated that the rule of strict compliance was unsupported by the language of the statute or its legislative history, and was contradicted by the remedial purpose of the statute. Pereira v. State of Connecticut, 228 Conn. 535, 542-43 n.8 (1994). The proper test in granting a Motion to Preclude is whether the notice of claim gave the employer sufficient notice to be able to investigate the claimant’s alleged injury. Bell v. Dow Corning STI, Inc., 13 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 109, 111, 1777 CRB-4-93-7 (Jan. 31, 1995); see also Knapp v. UTC Sikorsky Aircraft, 14 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 9, 2016 CRB-4-94-4 (April 28, 1995).
“Although minor errors in a notice of claim will no longer prevent preclusion, the basic elements of a notice of claim must still be present in order to trigger the employer’s responsibility to investigate the claim promptly.” Bennings v. State of Connecticut, 14 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 350, 2105 CRB-3-94-7 (Sept. 22, 1995); see also Belletto v. Wilson Motors, Inc., 15 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 223, 2257 CRB-4-95-1 (April 29, 1996). In the instant case, the Form 30C is incomplete and does not provide sufficient notice to the employer regarding any claim for hypertension, and thus does not ensure that the employer had an opportunity to undertake an immediate investigation. We thus find no error in the trial commissioner’s denial of the Motion to Preclude.
The trial commissioner’s decision is affirmed.
Commissioners John A. Mastropietro and Stephen B. Delaney concur.
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