How long your workers' compensation case stays open will depend on a variety of factors. Every case is different: different injury, different employee and employer, different insurance company, and different facts. A few of the factors affecting case closure include the benefits you need, your rehabilitation plan, the insurance company's denial of benefits, and progress of settlement discussions.
Depending on your injury and the time you miss from work due to the injury, you will be eligible for different types of benefits. If you miss no time from work, your claim will remain open while you receive any medical care you need. In Connecticut, If you miss time from work, payment of your wage loss benefits will begin after you have been disabled for 3 days. After that, you can receive wage loss benefits indefinitely depending on your injury and whether you can return to work. In Connecticut your claim will remain open during this time.
Rehabilitation Plan and Return to Work
If you participate in a vocational rehabilitation plan such as one offered by the Connecticut BRS, your workers' compensation claim will remain open while you finish the plan. Workers Rehabilitation services are available to injured workers in Connecticut even if they close out their claim by a full and final settlement.
It takes some injured workers a long time to return to work, whether because of the extent of their injuries or because they need changes to their job to continue working. A knowledgeable workers' compensation lawyer never pushes his or her clients to return to work before they are ready, even if the claim stays open for years.
Denial of Benefits and Claim Petition Process
Workers' compensation cases take longer to close if the insurance company denies benefits and the worker is required to pursue the claim to a formal hearing, or trial in the Workers Compensation Commission.. At this point, the worker and the insurance company conduct discovery and depositions to find out important medical information and other facts that may resolve the dispute over compensability. This can take six months or more to complete.
If the parties do not resolve the dispute (see below), the claim will go to a formal hearing before a workers' compensation Commissioner.. The hearing is like a court trial and will last a half-day or more. After the hearing, the Commissioner will issue a decision resolving the dispute. The injured worker or the employer can appeal the judge's decision to the Workers' Compensation Review Board and further to the Connecticut Appellate and Supreme Courts if necessary.
Some workers' compensation cases settle long before they go to a hearing. Settlement involves a compromise between the worker and the insurance company. The company agrees to pay a certain amount of money in exchange for a release of the worker's claims. Regardless if the claim is closed by settlement, the option for rehabilitation benefits continues..
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? The Law Offices of James F Aspell, P.C. stands up for injured Connecticut workers' rights. Jim's 30 plus years of workers' compensation experience and his team's dedicated service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 860-500-1414.