An injured worker might have numerous questions prior to and upon reporting the facts of their injury to an employer. After filing a workers’ compensation claim, he or she might question whether they will be able to promptly obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, however, that is not always the case and there may be bumps along the road.
What if my workers’ compensation case doesn’t go as planned? A Connecticut worker may wonder what to do if his claim is contested. He may know he was injured on the job and is racking up medical expenses, but an employer might still contest his claim for benefits. In the event an employer contests an employee’s claim, the employee can request an Informal Hearing.
At an Informal Hearing, the injured worker will want to present proof that the injury or illness is work-related. Testimony of witnesses and medical reports are often sufficient to establish the connection between the ailment and the workplace.
If a claim is denied, an injured worker will need to contact the District Office of the town where the worker was injured and request an Informal Hearing. If a case advances to an Informal, Formal or Appellate hearing, a Commissioner will act as a mediator. The Commissioner, whose role is similar to that of a judge, will try to resolve any disputes in the workers’ compensation case before him or her.
Of course an employer may not contest a claim, but instead offer what is called a Voluntary Agreement. Under a Voluntary Agreement, an employer agrees that the worker’s claim is deserving of benefits and agrees to provide those benefits. It is important to review a Voluntary Agreement carefully as it contains information about an injured worker’s claim.
A claimant has the right to have an attorney with him throughout this entire process, and it may be helpful, particularly as a claimant navigates what is often unfamiliar territory. It will benefit the worker to be as prepared and thorough as possible as he pursues workers’ compensation benefits.
Source: State of Connecticut Workers Compensation Commission, “What to do if your claim is contested“, accessed April 25, 2015