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Connecticut lawmakers may expand workers' compensation coverage

In Connecticut, workers compensation generally covers injuries to employees that occur while the employee is on the job. This includes incidents like getting into a vehicle accident or workers injuring their backs while lifting something heavy. Other workplace injuries may not be as easy to spot-such as those not visible to the eye or that develop over a period of years, like cancer or mental illness.

In many states, presumption laws already grant workers' compensation to police officers, first responders and other emergency personnel who develop certain types of cancer and heart diseases that are believed to be work-related. There is now a push for expanding workers' compensation to cover mental health illnesses as well. Proponents want illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder-when employees are faced with mental and emotional difficulties-to be covered for individuals such as the staff at Sandy Hook may have experienced in the December 2012 shooting.

At the other end of the spectrum, employers fear that the expansion of workers' compensation coverage may cause workers' compensation costs to skyrocket. Employers also argue that it may be difficult to determine whether certain conditions formed as a result of something outside of work. Despite these concerns, Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill related to workers' compensation and PTSD. In addition, experts are looking deeper into work-related cancer as an occupational disease.

Expansion of injuries available for coverage under workers' compensation could be a good thing for those seeking compensation. Those who experience injuries as a result of their line of work may suffer for a variety of reasons, but victims should not have to suffer financially as a result of work-related injury or disease.

Source: Business Insurance, "States consider expanding workers comp presumption law for public employees," Stephanie Goldberg, June 8, 2014

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