Can You Get Workers’ Comp for a Pre-Existing Injury in CT?

Doctor checking patients back pain from slip and fall accident.

After suffering an injury at work in Connecticut, you may worry whether you can still file a workers’ compensation claim if the accident aggravated a pre-existing injury. Fortunately, Connecticut law allows injured workers to get benefits for pre-existing injuries. As long as the work accident was a “substantial contributing factor” that made the condition worse, an employee should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for a pre-existing condition. You will need medical documentation showing the status of your condition before the accident and that your symptoms and condition are now worse to prove your case.

Common Causes of Workplace Accidents

Some of the most frequent causes of workplace accidents in Connecticut include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Falls from heights
  • Falling objects
  • Overexertion
  • Improper handling or storage of hazardous materials
  • Exposed wires or power lines
  • Defective or poorly maintained tools, equipment, and machinery
  • Negligent operation of equipment or vehicles
  • Lack of safety or personal protective equipment
  • Inadequate training and supervision
  • Disorganized or messy workplaces

Common Injuries Sustained in Workplace Accidents

Workers may suffer a wide variety of injuries on the job, such as:

  • Lacerations
  • Degloving injuries
  • Burns
  • Electrocutions
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Sprains, strains, and tears
  • Herniated spinal discs
  • Internal organ injuries and bleeding
  • Facial injuries and scarring
  • Hearing or vision loss
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Crush injuries
  • Amputation or dismemberment

What Compensation Can I Receive Through a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Connecticut?

A workplace injury can have a major impact on your life – both physically and financially. To help with these costs, benefits available from Connecticut workers’ compensation may cover:

  • Medical benefits that pay for all reasonable and necessary treatment
  • Reimbursement for travel to and from medical appointments and procedures
  • Reimbursement for prescriptions and medical equipment
  • Wage replacement
  • Total disability benefits
  • Partial disability benefits
  • Vocational rehabilitation services
  • Disfigurement and scarring benefits
  • Injury recurrence or relapse

What If I Was Partly Responsible for the Accident?

You have the right to receive the full scope of workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace accident – even if you bear partial responsibility for the accident. Connecticut workers’ compensation operates as a no-fault system. Employers must provide employees with benefits for any work-related injuries regardless of whether the employer or injured employee bears any fault for the accident.

However, Connecticut law does provide an exception to this no-fault rule if an employee suffers a work injury due to intentional and serious misconduct or on-the-job intoxication. Under those circumstances, workers’ compensation benefits will not be available.

How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Connecticut?

Under Connecticut workers’ compensation law, you must report your work injuries to your employer immediately after an accident. If your injuries prevent you from immediately reporting, have a trusted coworker or friend report it for you. Your employer should then file a First Report of Injury Form with their insurer and the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

The statute of limitations gives you only one year from the date of a workplace accident to file an official notice of claim for compensation. For occupational diseases, you have three years from the first symptoms to file notice.

Can I See a Doctor of My Choice After a Workplace Injury in Connecticut?

You must see an employer-designated healthcare provider for initial treatment if your employer has a designated provider. After this initial treatment, you may choose another attending physician. However, you may still not have full freedom of choice for your doctor.

If your employer participates in an approved medical care plan, you must pick a physician from the plan’s list of doctors. You may select any Connecticut-licensed physician if your employer does not participate in an approved medical care plan. If you move to another state, an administrative law judge may authorize an out-of-state physician to provide your treatment.

When switching attending physicians, you must either:

  • Get a referral from your current attending physician,
  • Obtain approval from your employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier, or
  • Petition an administrative law judge for approval

What Should I Do After a Workplace Accident in Connecticut?

Steps you can take to protect your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits after suffering an injury at work include:

  • Notify your employer – State law requires you to notify your employer of a work injury immediately, or you may jeopardize some of your workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Document the scene – Take photos and videos of the accident scene, get contact information from any eyewitnesses, and request copies of any accident reports drafted by your employer.
  • Seek medical attention – Seek prompt medical attention for your injuries. But remember that your employer has the right to select a healthcare provider for your initial treatment.
  • Gather your bills and pay stubs – If you have out-of-pocket expenses for your treatment or miss time from work, keep copies of records to ensure you get reimbursed.
  • Consult with a Connecticut workers’ compensation attorney – Talk to an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights and understand what to expect when pursuing workers’ compensation benefits.

Contact a Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Don’t let your employer or the insurance company unfairly deny your workers’ comp benefits after a workplace accident. Reach out to Jainchill & Beckert, LLC today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can discuss how your pre-existing injuries may affect your options for obtaining workers’ compensation. Let a Connecticut workers’ compensation lawyer from our firm fight to protect your rights and interests.

Aaron has been practicing law throughout Connecticut for over two decades. In that time, he has developed a strong reputation for providing both excellent and compassionate legal representation to every client that passes through our doors. He has litigated cases in nearly every courthouse in the state, and our clients benefit from his deep knowledge of the law within his practice areas and beyond.  

Reflecting the high quality of his services, he has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. This honor is granted to fewer than 100 attorneys in the state, as well as fewer than 4% of attorneys nationwide. Aaron graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1995 and the Western New England University School of Law in 1998.