This section of the Workers’ Compensation Act was amended by Public Act 17-141 (effective October 1, 2017).
Please also read the Commission’s MEMORANDUM NO. 2017-08, which provides further information on new provisions passed by the General Assembly, as well as procedures created by the Commission to assist parties in complying with the new provisions.
Sec. 31-294c. Notice of claim for compensation. Notice contesting liability. Exception for dependents of certain deceased employees. (a) No proceedings for compensation under the provisions of this chapter shall be maintained unless a written notice of claim for compensation is given within one year from the date of the accident or within three years from the first manifestation of a symptom of the occupational disease, as the case may be, which caused the personal injury, provided, if death has resulted within two years from the date of the accident or first manifestation of a symptom of the occupational disease, a dependent or dependents, or the legal representative of the deceased employee, may make claim for compensation within the two-year period or within one year from the date of death, whichever is later. Notice of claim for compensation may be given to the employer or any commissioner and shall state, in simple language, the date and place of the accident and the nature of the injury resulting from the accident, or the date of the first manifestation of a symptom of the occupational disease and the nature of the disease, as the case may be, and the name and address of the employee and of the person in whose interest compensation is claimed. An employee of the state shall send a copy of the notice to the Commissioner of Administrative Services. An employee of a municipality shall send a copy of the notice to the town clerk of the municipality in which he or she is employed. As used in this section, “manifestation of a symptom” means manifestation to an employee claiming compensation, or to some other person standing in such relation to him that the knowledge of the person would be imputed to him, in a manner that is or should be recognized by him as symptomatic of the occupational disease for which compensation is claimed.
(b) Whenever liability to pay compensation is contested by the employer, he shall file with the commissioner, on or before the twenty-eighth day after he has received a written notice of claim, a notice in accord with a form prescribed by the chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission stating that the right to compensation is contested, the name of the claimant, the name of the employer, the date of the alleged injury or death and the specific grounds on which the right to compensation is contested. The employer shall send a copy of the notice to the employee in accordance with section 31-321. If the employer or his legal representative fails to file the notice contesting liability on or before the twenty-eighth day after he has received the written notice of claim, the employer shall commence payment of compensation for such injury or death on or before the twenty-eighth day after he has received the written notice of claim, but the employer may contest the employee’s right to receive compensation on any grounds or the extent of his disability within one year from the receipt of the written notice of claim, provided the employer shall not be required to commence payment of compensation when the written notice of claim has not been properly served in accordance with section 31-321 or when the written notice of claim fails to include a warning that (1) the employer, if he has commenced payment for the alleged injury or death on or before the twenty-eighth day after receiving a written notice of claim, shall be precluded from contesting liability unless a notice contesting liability is filed within one year from the receipt of the written notice of claim, and (2) the employer shall be conclusively presumed to have accepted the compensability of the alleged injury or death unless the employer either files a notice contesting liability on or before the twenty-eighth day after receiving a written notice of claim or commences payment for the alleged injury or death on or before such twenty-eighth day. An employer shall be entitled, if he prevails, to reimbursement from the claimant of any compensation paid by the employer on and after the date the commissioner receives written notice from the employer or his legal representative, in accordance with the form prescribed by the chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, stating that the right to compensation is contested. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, an employer who fails to contest liability for an alleged injury or death on or before the twenty-eighth day after receiving a written notice of claim and who fails to commence payment for the alleged injury or death on or before such twenty-eighth day, shall be conclusively presumed to have accepted the compensability of the alleged injury or death.
(c) Failure to provide a notice of claim under subsection (a) of this section shall not bar maintenance of the proceedings if there has been a hearing or a written request for a hearing or an assignment for a hearing within a one-year period from the date of the accident or within a three-year period from the first manifestation of a symptom of the occupational disease, as the case may be, or if a voluntary agreement has been submitted within the applicable period, or if within the applicable period an employee has been furnished, for the injury with respect to which compensation is claimed, with medical or surgical care as provided in section 31-294d. No defect or inaccuracy of notice of claim shall bar maintenance of proceedings unless the employer shows that he was ignorant of the facts concerning the personal injury and was prejudiced by the defect or inaccuracy of the notice. Upon satisfactory showing of ignorance and prejudice, the employer shall receive allowance to the extent of the prejudice.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a dependent or dependents of a deceased employee seeking compensation under section 31-306 who was barred by a final judgment in a court of law from filing a claim arising out of the death of the deceased employee, whose date of injury was between June 1, 1991, and June 30, 1991, and whose date of death was between November 1, 1992, and November 30, 1992, because of the failure of the dependent to timely file a separate death benefits claim, shall be allowed to file a written notice of claim for compensation not later than one year after July 8, 2005, and the commissioner shall have jurisdiction to determine such dependent’s claim.
(P.A. 91-32, S. 11, 41; 91-339, S. 47, 55; P.A. 93-228, S. 8, 35; 93-419, S. 8, 9; P.A. 05-230, S. 2; P.A. 16-112, S. 1.)
History: P.A. 91-339 amended Subsec. (b) to change “commissioners” to “chairman of the workers’ compensation commission”; P.A. 93-228 amended Subsec. (b) to change the circumstances under which a conclusive presumption of employer liability is established and to allow an employer who successfully contests liability for a claim to recover compensation paid to the claimant, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 93-419 made technical change in Subsec. (b), replacing “commended” with “commenced”, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 05-230 added new Subsec. (d) re jurisdiction of commissioner over specified claim of dependent or dependents of deceased employee, effective July 8, 2005, and applicable to claims pending on or filed on and after that date; P.A. 16-112 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provision re employee of municipality to send copy of notice to town clerk of municipality in which he or she is employed and making a technical change, effective July 1, 2016.
Cited. 228 C. 1; 231 C. 529; 232 C. 780; 237 C. 1; 239 C. 19. Workers’ compensation legislation is remedial and should be broadly construed to accomplish its humanitarian purpose; where workers’ compensation appeal involves issue of statutory construction that has not been subjected to judicial scrutiny, Supreme Court has plenary power to review the administrative decision. 252 C. 596. HIV is an occupational disease for correction officers who are members of emergency response units which are special teams of correction officers that respond to major disturbances and riots, and, therefore plaintiff’s notice of claim was timely filed under statute; HIV is peculiar to and distinctively associated with decedent’s occupation as a correction officer in an emergency response unit because of the direct causal connection between the specific duties of his employment, which required him to interact with inmates with a high HIV infection rate and in a manner that greatly increased the risk of contracting HIV and the AIDS the decedent contracted. 268 C. 753. Fact that an occupational disease cannot be qualified as such until a causal connection with exposure at employee’s workplace can be established compels the conclusion that such a connection is a prerequisite to commencement of the statute of limitations for making a claim for an occupational disease. 280 C. 723. For purposes of section, commissioner must determine whether plaintiff’s repetitive trauma injury more closely resembles “an accidental injury” or “occupational disease”. 296 C. 463. For purposes of determining limitation period, claim brought pursuant to Sec. 7-433c was properly treated as one for accidental injury definitely located in time and place, rather than a repetitive trauma injury, because plaintiff failed to present evidence that hypertension was causally connected to employment; formal diagnosis of hypertension or heart disease, communicated to an employee by his or her physician, constitutes the “injury” that triggers the running of the limitation period. 299 C. 265. Evidence that claimant had elevated blood pressure readings, or had been advised by physician to monitor blood pressure, is insufficient to trigger one year filing period under section, rather there must be evidence that claimant knew he or she suffered from hypertension, ordinarily shown by proof claimant was informed of diagnosis by a medical professional. 302 C. 755. Hypertension diagnosis is sufficient to trigger 1-year filing period and prescription of hypertension medication is not required. Id., 767. Board’s imposition of 1-year statute of limitations for filing of survivor’s benefits improper when a valid claim has previously been filed by either the employee or a representative; plaintiff was not required to file a separate timely notice of claim for survivor’s benefits when decedent, during his lifetime, had filed a timely notice of claims for benefits that was accepted and paid. 320 C. 299. An estate is not a legal representative capable of bringing a claim under this section or any other under this chapter. 323 C. 26.
Cited. 38 CA 1; Id., 73; 44 CA 465. Employer’s first report of injury form and an attorney’s letter taken together meet statutory requirement of written notice of claim. 52 CA 194. Workers’ compensation review board properly concluded that, under the totality of the circumstances, completion of accident investigation form by defendant’s fire department indicating that plaintiff had been transported to the hospital for high blood pressure, plaintiff’s filing of first report of injury for high blood pressure with defendant’s workers’ compensation division and the employer’s investigative report prepared by defendant’s workers’ compensation division for defendant’s controller’s office constituted “substantial compliance” with notice requirements. 63 CA 570. Does not require that notice of injury by employee include statutory reference. 70 CA 321. Partially completed form 30C, which was not signed by employee and did not include a description of employee’s injury, delivered to supervisor was sufficient to trigger employer’s responsibility to file form 43; rule of strict compliance is not supported by either the plain language or legislative history. 127 CA 619.
Cited. 239 C. 408; 240 C. 788; 242 C. 570. Notice of claim for repetitive trauma injury is sufficient to support a motion to preclude if it provides adequate information as to period of time over which the injury is alleged to have occurred sufficient to allow employer to make timely investigation of the claim. 252 C. 596. Service on employer of amended complaint in third party action and employer’s acknowledgment that it “may” become obligated to pay benefits to plaintiff are not sufficient to establish that employer had actual notice of plaintiff’s intent to seek survivor’s benefits as a result of decedent’s death. 265 C. 525. Statute of limitations in Subsec. applies to all potential claims of employee’s estate or his dependents and requires that a compensable claim be filed within the applicable limitations period, irrespective of whether initial claim is filed by the employee, the employee’s estate after his death, or the decedent employee’s dependents; proviso is not a condition precedent for commencement of dependents’ claims, but rather a modified limitations period for commencement of such claims. 283 C. 813. Statute of limitations implicates commissioner’s subject matter jurisdiction, and a subject matter jurisdictional statute of limitations may not be waived and court may address it sua sponte. 299 C. 800.
Cited. 40 CA 446; 42 CA 803; 44 CA 465; 45 CA 707. “Accident” and “occupational disease” must be read broadly enough so that even an injury that is defined as stemming from repetitive trauma under Sec. 31-275(8) may be deemed to fall into one of the two categories. 56 CA 90. Without timely written notice of claim, commissioner lacks subject matter jurisdiction over such claim. 68 CA 590. Separate notice of claim not required when dependent pursues derivative claim for death benefit. 71 CA 140. If the employee dies within 2 years of the accident or the first manifestation of symptoms of an occupational disease and the employee’s dependent is filing a claim for benefits, the dependent has 2 years to file a claim for benefits or has 1 year from the date of the employee’s death, whichever is longer. 137 CA 665. Because it was reasonable for Workers’ Compensation Commissioner to determine that form 30c was filed on behalf of decedent’s widow and sufficiently put defendants on notice of plaintiff’s claim for survivor benefits, and because the savings provision of section cautions against arbitrary dismissal of plaintiff’s claim, the claim was timely filed and the commissioner had subject matter jurisdiction over it. 150 CA 699. With respect to the notice of claim requirement, the proper inquiry is not whether defendant had notice of plaintiff’s injuries and intent to pursue a claim, but rather whether plaintiff met the statutory requirements to give commission jurisdiction over his claim. 156 CA 700.
Cited. 241 C. 692. Notice to contest liability must state both date of alleged injury and specific reasons for contesting compensation. 252 C. 596. Compensability, in terms of whether a type of injury falls within scope of act, is a jurisdictional fact that would allow employer to contest liability beyond the time frame allotted by Subsec.; hence, because emotional impairment claimed by plaintiff does not fall within scope of act, commissioner and board initially properly denied plaintiff’s motion to preclude defendants from contesting liability. 270 C. 532. P.A. 93-228 did not alter status quo that if employer neither timely pays nor timely contests liability, conclusive presumption of compensability attaches and employer is barred from contesting employee’s right to receive compensation on any ground or extent of employee’s disability. 286 C. 102. Where payment for claim is not commenced or liability is not contested within the period required by statute, employer cannot challenge proof of claim but commissioner is not barred from further inquiry. 291 C. 537.
Cited. 30 CA 295; 40 CA 446. Employer not precluded from challenging commissioner’s subject matter jurisdiction; issue of compensability of an injury does not implicate commissioner’s subject matter jurisdiction and, accordingly, statutory presumption of liability cannot be circumvented. 64 CA 1. Does not implicate insurer’s right to raise defense of lack of coverage against an employer. 67 CA 361. Conclusive presumption of compensability for a workers’ compensation claim under Subsec. is not an unconstitutional denial of employer’s right to due process. 127 CA 619. Employer who was making payments for plaintiff’s prior injury was precluded from contesting liability on subsequent claim when it failed to file notice to contest liability or commence making payments on subsequent claim for alleged new and separate injury, with a reported date and type of injury different from the earlier claimed injury, and any claim by employer that payment on new claim would result in plaintiff’s double recovery should have been raised in a notice to contest liability. 137 CA 324. Sending notice to contest liability to employee by certified mail meets requirements, despite employee’s failure to claim it; notice to contest liability stating employee did not suffer an injury which arose out of or in the course of employment is not a general denial and therefore meets requirements for valid notice to contest liability; notice to contest liability form stating date of employee’s injury differently than stated by employee on claim form did not render notice insufficient because date of injury stated by employer fell within the time period of claimed repetitive injury stated by employee. 138 CA 826. Employer not deemed conclusively precluded from contesting extent of disability under Subsec. when it was impossible to commence payment of compensation within statutory time period. 145 CA 261. Employer’s disclaimer citing “lack of medical evidence” to support causal connection between injury and employment met specific notice requirement. 159 CA 180. The equitable doctrine of laches does not apply to a motion to preclude filed under section and, in the absence of legislative action, there is no recognized time limitation within which an employee must file a motion to preclude. 168 CA 92.
Medical care exception does not apply to toll statute of limitations under Sec. 7-433c because plaintiff failed to establish, in keeping with board’s time-tested interpretation of Subsec., that employer previously furnished medical care for specific condition or later claimed condition was causally related to timely reported incident for which employer furnished medical care. 304 C. 571.
Employer’s insurer’s payment of medical bills during 1-year period constituted the furnishing of medical treatment. 47 CA 530. Employee’s claim was not time barred because he failed to file notice of claim that specifically referenced all of his injuries. 48 CA 357.
Trial court did not lack subject matter jurisdiction in concluding that Subsec. constitutes a public emolument in violation of Sec. 1. of state constitution. 299 C. 800.