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A Transition Period For Connecticut workers hurt on the job

Posted by James Aspell | Mar 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

In sailing, we use the expression "heave to" to take a break and essentially put the boat in time out to rest during long periods of rough seas or stormy weather. I feel the same way about the current state of practicing workers compensation law in Connecticut. In the past year, we have seen the retirement of three very experienced workers compensation commissioners, and the appointment of a new chairman. These are the "judges" of your compensation case. They issue orders, preside over formal hearings (Connecticut workers compensation trials) and in general work to move business, resolve issues and help lawyers settle sometimes complex Connecticut job injury claims. At the same time, I have noticed a huge influx of new, younger lawyers into the Connecticut workers compensation defense bar. These lawyers are for the most part earnest and want to do a good job for their clients. In their effort to do a good job for their client, most of these lawyers have no experience in the value of moving business, on in the practice of evaluating claims for settlement. This is not a slight. It is just a fact. It takes years in the trenches to get a feel of what a case is really worth and what is needed to move it. Most times, pointless depositions and time-consuming reviews of ancient medical records are not necessary. If an injured worker falls off a ladder and breaks her leg, it is pretty clear that the fracture resulted from the fall. These new lawyers are not yet comfortable accepting that yet. This convergence of inexperienced Commissioners and inexperienced defense lawyers is resulting in a slow down in the moving of business. Neither the mediators over the case not the lawyers for the employer are comfortable enough taking a stand to move the matter forward. They are too wet behind the ears. It is a tough time to be a claimant in Connecticut these days. While those of us who represent injured workers try to adjudicate their business, the lawyers and Commissioners seem content to heave to, not yet comfortable in navigating the heavy seas. Like anything else, this will pass. It is just going to take time. Eventually,the new commissioners will find their sea legs and begin to do the necessary to move the docket. For the time being though, be prepared to clip onto the jack line and slog along for a few months while we try and get your case to safe harbor.

About the Author

James Aspell

Principal since August 1, 2006 James F. Aspell is the principal and managing attorney of the firm which he started in 2006 following 20 years of litigation practice in a mid -size firm in Hartford, Connecticut. Jim focuses his practice in the areas of worker's compensation and personal injury l...


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