Substitute Senate Bill No. 1112

Public Act No. 01-22

AN ACT CONCERNING THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 31-301 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) At any time within [ten] twenty days after entry of an award by the commissioner, after a decision of the commissioner upon a motion or after an order by the commissioner according to the provisions of section 31-299b, as amended by this act, either party may appeal therefrom to the Compensation Review Board by filing in the office of the commissioner from which the award or the decision on a motion originated an appeal petition and five copies thereof. The commissioner within three days thereafter shall mail the petition and three copies thereof to the chief of the Compensation Review Board and a copy thereof to the adverse party or parties.

Sec. 2. Section 31-299b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

If an employee suffers an injury or disease for which compensation is found by the commissioner to be payable according to the provisions of this chapter, the employer who last employed the claimant prior to the filing of the claim, or the employer's insurer, shall be initially liable for the payment of such compensation. The commissioner shall, within a reasonable period of time after issuing an award, on the basis of the record of the hearing, determine whether prior employers, or their insurers, are liable for a portion of such compensation and the extent of their liability. If prior employers are found to be so liable, the commissioner shall order such employers or their insurers to reimburse the initially liable employer or insurer according to the proportion of their liability. Reimbursement shall be made within ten days of the commissioner's order with interest, from the date of the initial payment, at twelve per cent per annum. If no appeal from the commissioner's order is taken by any employer or insurer within [ten] twenty days, the order shall be final and may be enforced in the same manner as a judgment of the Superior Court.

Sec. 3. Section 31-300 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

As soon as may be after the conclusion of any hearing, but no later than one hundred twenty days after such conclusion, the commissioner shall send to each party a written copy of [his] the commissioner's findings and award. The commissioner shall, as part of the written award, inform the employee or [his] the employee's dependent, as the case may be, of any rights the individual may have to an annual cost-of-living adjustment or to participate in a rehabilitation program under the provisions of this chapter. [He] The commissioner shall retain the original findings and award in [his] said commissioner's office. If no appeal from [his] the decision is taken by either party within [ten] twenty days thereafter, such award shall be final and may be enforced in the same manner as a judgment of the Superior Court. The court may issue execution upon any uncontested or final award of a commissioner in the same manner as in cases of judgments rendered in the Superior Court; and, upon the filing of an application to the court for an execution, the commissioner in whose office the award is on file shall, upon the request of the clerk of said court, send to [him] the clerk a certified copy of such findings and award. In cases where, through the fault or neglect of the employer or insurer, adjustments of compensation have been unduly delayed, or where through such fault or neglect, payments have been unduly delayed, the commissioner may include in [his] the award interest at the rate prescribed in section 37-3a and a reasonable attorney's fee in the case of undue delay in adjustments of compensation and may include in [his] the award in the case of undue delay in payments of compensation, interest at twelve per cent per annum and a reasonable attorney's fee. Payments not commenced within thirty-five days after the filing of a written notice of claim shall be presumed to be unduly delayed unless a notice to contest the claim is filed in accordance with section 31-297. In cases where there has been delay in either adjustment or payment, which delay has not been due to the fault or neglect of the employer or insurer, whether such delay was caused by appeals or otherwise, the commissioner may allow interest at such rate, not to exceed the rate prescribed in section 37-3a, as may be fair and reasonable, taking into account whatever advantage the employer or insurer, as the case may be, may have had from the use of the money, the burden of showing that the rate in such case should be less than the rate prescribed in section 37-3a to be upon the employer or insurer. In cases where the claimant prevails and the commissioner finds that the employer or insurer has unreasonably contested liability, the commissioner may allow to the claimant a reasonable attorney's fee. No employer or insurer shall discontinue or reduce payment on account of total or partial incapacity under any such award, if it is claimed by or on behalf of the injured person that [his] such person's incapacity still continues, unless such employer or insurer notifies the commissioner and the employee of such proposed discontinuance or reduction in the manner prescribed in section 31-296 and the commissioner specifically approves such discontinuance or reduction in writing. The commissioner shall render [his] the decision within fourteen days of receipt of such notice and shall forward to all parties to the claim a copy of [his] the decision not later than seven days after [his] the decision has been rendered. If the decision of the commissioner finds for the employer or insurer, the injured person shall return any wrongful payments received from the day designated by the commissioner as the effective date for the discontinuance or reduction of benefits. Any employee whose benefits for total incapacity are discontinued under the provisions of this section and who is entitled to receive benefits for partial incapacity as a result of an award, shall receive those benefits commencing the day following the designated effective date for the discontinuance of benefits for total incapacity. In any case where the commissioner finds that the employer or insurer has discontinued or reduced any such payment without having given such notice and without the commissioner having approved such discontinuance or reduction in writing, the commissioner shall allow the claimant a reasonable attorney's fee together with interest at the rate prescribed in section 37-3a on the discontinued or reduced payments.

Approved May 15, 2001