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How do medical expenses affect workers' compensation benefits?

The workers' compensation system provides for a number of benefits for workers who suffer from a workplace illness or on-the-job injury. There are monetary benefits for which a worker may qualify based on his or her illness. Such benefits are available for total disability to partial disability, as well as day of wages and even benefits for a dependent survivor. One of the most crucial types of benefits, however, is those that compensate for medical expenses.

First and foremost, when a worker suffers from a work-related illness, he or she needs medical treatment. Under Connecticut law, it is the employer's responsibility to provide this initial treatment at a facility the employer designates. Subsequently, an employee chooses his or her own physician, but this practitioner must be listed on the approved list of the Workers' Compensation Commission.

Connecticut requires that an injured worker seek treatment from those practitioners who are licensed to practice in Connecticut. However, a Workers' Compensation Commissioner may authorize treatment by an out-of-state physician if there is a valid medical reason. Additionally, a claimant may change his or her treating physician but must follow a specific three-step process that includes a written request of the Workers Compensation Commissioner.

Any medications prescribed for a work-related illness or disease will be covered under an employee's workers' compensation benefits. Travel expenses, including expenses for an injured worker to travel by taxi or ambulance if necessary, will also be covered.

It is also possible to receive spiritual or prayer treatment in place of traditional remedies if a Workers' Compensation Commissioner approves such course of treatment.

Seeking proper medical care following a workplace illness is of the utmost importance so that an employee can fully recover. Workers' compensation benefits are designed to cover the necessary medical expenses in such a scenario. Questions and disputes may arise, however, as an employee seeks to obtain the appropriate benefits. An attorney familiar with the Connecticut workers' compensation system may be able to provide guidance during this process.

Source: State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, "What do I need to know about medical care under workers' compensation?", accessed May 16, 2015

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