Most Connecticut businesses with employees are required to pay for workers' compensation insurance (WC or workers' comp insurance). The insurance provides compensation to employees who suffer work-related injuries. Here are some basic facts that you need to know about workers' comp insurance in Connecticut as a business owner and employer.
If your Connecticut business has just one employee, you're generally required to carry workers' compensation insurance. An exception applies if you only have household employees who work no more than 26 hours per week. In addition, business owners, such as members of LLCs, corporate officers, partners in partnerships, and sole proprietors, are not required to be covered by workers' compensation insurance.
The Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission (WCC) is the primary state agency that handles workers' comp claims. Most of the law for WC insurance is contained in Connecticut's Workers' Compensation Act (Chapter 568 of the Connecticut General Laws). In addition to the Act, there are also administrative rules that cover workers' compensation in Connecticut.
In Connecticut, workers' compensation insurance is available through private insurance companies. If your business is unable to obtain coverage through a private insurer, you can get coverage through the Connecticut Insurance Department. There is also an option to self-insure, but this may not be advisable for smaller businesses, in part because it requires that a lot of money be set aside to cover potential claims.
You are responsible for providing initial medical treatment to the employee at an office or facility that you have chosen for this purpose. If the employee refuses this initial treatment, they may lose their rights to workers' compensation benefits.
The injured employee, or his or her representative, should provide you with a Form 30C, Notice of Claim for Compensation, which will tell you about the employee's job-related injury. You should immediately forward a copy of this form to your WC insurer. In addition, within one week of receiving notice from the employee, you must file a Form FRI, Employer's First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness, with the WCC Chairman's Office.
Beyond these initial steps, there are subsequent steps to the WC claims process, not covered here.
If you think your employee's workers' comp claim is partly or totally invalid, you can file Form 43, which is a notice to contest a claim. (The full official name of this form is Notice to Compensation Commissioner and Employee of Intention to Contest Employee's Right to Compensation Benefits.) You must file the form with the WCC and also with the employee. In general, you have 28 days after receiving notice from the employee in which to file the form and contest the claim. However, if you start making WC payments to the employee within 28 days, you have up to one year to contest the claim.
After you file Form 43 to contest a claim, there is a formal process to decide if the claim is valid. In Connecticut, that process initially is handled by the WCC, not the state's trial courts. If you are not happy with the WCC's decision, you can appeal to a state appellate court.
If you don't carry workers' compensation insurance you may be subject to various penalties ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Many of the penalty rules are contained in Section 31-288 of Connecticut's Workers' Compensation Act.
There are many other workers' compensation requirements for Connecticut employers, such as putting up posters about workers' compensation coverage where employees can see them, that are not covered here. The Nolo website has a section devoted to workers' compensation. In addition, the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission website also contains many useful resources.