The first thing to understand about the Connecticut workers’ compensation appeals process is that a denied claim does not mean that the injured worker lacks a valid claim. Although workers’ comp systems were created to make the process of compensating individuals injured on the job more efficient, it is not a simple process and initial denials are not uncommon.
The Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission has a hearing and appeals process to address disputes over workers’ compensation claims. The process of receiving benefits, including medical, rehabilitation and
wage benefits, becomes more complex the farther into the hearing and appeals process a claim travels; an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the system.
A Short Breakdown Of The Connecticut Work Comp Appeals Process
Informal hearing. This is a short conference with a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner to resolve any dispute in coverage and can include introducing evidence to support the claim for benefits.
Pre-formal hearing. If resolution cannot be met at an informal hearing, a pre-formal hearing may be scheduled to determine a timetable for preparing for a formal hearing. If an injured worker has not yet been represented by an attorney, it is recommended that an attorney be engaged at this point.
Formal hearing. Resembling formal in-court trials, this hearing is presided over by a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, witnesses may give testimony, evidence is submitted, and a record of the proceeding is made. The Commissioner will review the material presented at the hearing and return a decision of “Finding and Award” or “Finding and Dismissal.” Both are a written decision covering the findings and conclusions made by the Commissioner.
Compensation Review Board (CRB) appeal. Made up of two Workers’ Compensation Commissioners and the Workers’ Compensation Commission Chairman, the board reviews the Formal Hearing Decision, based on the record created at the hearing. There is no separate trial; injured workers have 20 days to request CRB from the date of the Formal Hearing Decision.
Connecticut Appeals Court and/or Supreme Court. Decisions of the CRB can be pursued in the Connecticut Court of Appeals as well as the Connecticut Supreme Court, although it is rare that a case is pursued to this point.
Gathering The Correct Information, Seeking The Right Assistance
If you’ve been injured at work, you should first seek medical attention. Follow the instruction of your employer at the time if there is a specific facility or doctor you should see. Having an experienced Connecticut
workers’ compensation lawyer involved in your request for benefits with the initial application may save time down the road. If your claim for benefits has been denied, an attorney can help you understand your options for requesting a hearing on your request.