As a personal injury lawyer entering his tenth year, one area where I have experience is workers’ compensation. My first two years were spent working exclusively at a boutique workers’ compensation firm, learning the procedures of this highly specialized area of administrative law.
A common theme that arises when potential clients come in for a free consultation is when a person is in a car accident while in the course of their employment. A common question is how do the two interrelate to each other? Can I file a workers’ compensation claim as well as a liability claim against the other driver?
Another common concern is fear of retaliation from their employer because they are going to raise their employers’ workers’ compensation rates.
For those that have these questions, here are some reasons why you should file a worker’s compensation claim when you are injured in the course of your employment:
1. You can choose to treat with any doctor that accepts workers’ compensation payments in the entire State of Connecticut (subject to certain exceptions by WC);
2. All your medicals are paid: no co-pays, deductibles, or out-of-pocket costs;
3. You are allowed to treat during work hours and be compensated for your time and mileage;
4. Your claim remains open and can survive your death, your employer’s solvency, and even your insurance carrier’s solvency; and
5. Permanently injured employees are entitled to additional benefits.
As for the fear of filing a workers’ compensation claim because they fear their employer will retaliate against them for raising their workers’ compensation insurance rates, here’s the catch—because there is another pocket, i.e. the other driver, the workers’ compensation carrier is entitled to be paid back from that driver’s insurance. There is also a regulation that requires workers’ compensation carriers to adjust the employers’ premium rate if there is a recovery for benefits paid. Most employers don’t know the workers’ compensation laws, so they push their employees toward not filing the claim and placing costs of treatment and other out-of-pocket costs on the employee, who may already be out of work because of their injuries and don’t have any additional income or savings to keep them afloat while they recover. Most employers do know, however, that there is statute that strictly prohibits retaliation for filing a claim.
Trantolo & Trantolo, LLC does take workers’ compensation cases, and they are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We also help current clients with their workers’ compensation cases that are injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, such as a car accident.
If you have been injured on the job, and even if you want to handle the claim yourself, I highly advise that you seek the advice of an attorney to find out all your rights and benefits to which you are entitled to under the law.