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Connecticut workplace injury rate jumps 11 percent

Connecticut's rate of workplace injuries is among the highest in the country, according to a recent government report. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Connecticut had an injury rate of 4.5 cases per 100 full-time employees in 2011, significantly higher than the national average of 3.5 cases per 100 full-time workers.

According to the Bureau, private industry employers reported nearly three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available. Connecticut had 50,600 of those injuries and illnesses, an 11 percent increase over the number in 2010.

The study puts Connecticut among 19 states that had higher than the national average number of private industry workplace injuries and illnesses. The Bureau attributes at least some of the difference between states to the differing mix of industries in each state.

Most employers are required by Connecticut law to carry workers' compensation insurance to provide benefits for work-related injuries. However, a sticking point in many workers' compensation cases is the question of what constitutes a work-related injury.

It's easy for a court to determine that an injury was work-related when it happened at a workplace in the course of an employee's duties. It's also usually apparent that an injury was work-related when an employee was hurt somewhere away from the workplace while performing work-related duties, such as driving a company truck for a delivery. However, employers sometimes refuse to honor workers' compensation claims, arguing that the employees were not injured in the course of their employment.

When an employer refuses to honor one of these claims, the employee may burdened by heavy medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. It is important for these workers to understand their legal rights and how they might go about getting the help they need.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Connecticut Workplace Injury Cases Up 11% to 50,600 in 2011," March 5, 2013

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