CHAPTER 568*
WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT

      *State Workers' Compensation Act has concurrent jurisdiction with federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act over claims involving injuries sustained on navigable waters when employer and employee are locally based, employment contract was performed locally, injury occurred on state's territorial waters and employer required to secure compensation for land-based injuries sustained by employees. 283 C. 129.

Table of Contents

Sec. 31-275. Definitions.
Sec. 31-276. Workers' Compensation Commission. Compensation commissioners. Nomination by Governor. Appointment by General Assembly. Terms of office. Removal. Selection of chairman.
Sec. 31-280. Chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission. Powers and duties. Budget. Report of expenses.
Sec. 31-284. Basic rights and liabilities. Civil action to enjoin noncomplying employer from entering into employment contracts. Notice of availability of compensation.
Sec. 31-288. Additional liability. Penalty for undue delay, noncompliance with insurance requirements and for defrauding workers' compensation insurance carrier. Notice of penalty to Attorney General and State Treasurer. Payment. Civil action for nonpayment.
Sec. 31-290. Obligations not to be evaded.
Sec. 31-293a. No right against fellow employee; exception.
Sec. 31-294c. Notice of claim for compensation. Notice contesting liability. Exception for dependents of certain deceased employees.
Sec. 31-296. Voluntary agreements.
Sec. 31-301. Appeals to the Compensation Review Board. Payment of award during pendency of appeal.
Sec. 31-301b. Appeal of decision of Compensation Review Board.
Sec. 31-306. Death resulting from accident or occupational disease. Dependents. Compensation.
Sec. 31-307. Compensation for total incapacity.
Sec. 31-308a. Additional benefits for partial permanent disability.
Sec. 31-331. Control of associations. Insurance Commissioner authorized to accept statement of financial condition by certain employers' mutual associations organized before June 6, 1996.

PART A
WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION.
COMPENSATION COMMISSIONERS. EMPLOYERS' LIABILITY

I

WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION.
COMPENSATION COMMISSIONERS

      Sec. 31-275. Definitions.

      Compensation review board improperly concluded that workers' compensation commissioner lacked jurisdiction over claim because the injury occurred on navigable waters of the United States and, therefore, federal government had exclusive jurisdiction over the claim under Art. III, Sec. 2 and Art. I, Sec. 8 of U. S. Constitution and Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq. State has concurrent jurisdiction with federal government over claims involving injuries incurred on navigable waters when the employer and employee are locally based, the employment contract is performed within the state and partly on land, the injury took place on state's territorial waters and the employer was required under the state act to secure compensation for any land-based injuries incurred by employee. 283 C. 1.

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      Sec. 31-276. Workers' Compensation Commission. Compensation commissioners. Nomination by Governor. Appointment by General Assembly. Terms of office. Removal. Selection of chairman. (a) There shall be a Workers' Compensation Commission to administer the workers' compensation system. There shall be sixteen workers' compensation commissioners. On or before the date of the expiration of the term of each commissioner or upon the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of any commissioner for any reason, the Governor shall nominate a competent person to fill that office. Subsequent to July 1, 1993, each person nominated by the Governor to serve as a commissioner shall have been a member in good standing of the Connecticut bar for at least five years preceding the nomination, provided the Governor shall not be precluded from renominating an individual who has previously served as a commissioner. The commissioners shall, upon nomination by the Governor, be appointed by the General Assembly as prescribed by law. They shall serve for a term of five years, but may be removed by impeachment. The Governor shall from time to time select one of the sixteen commissioners to serve as chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission at the pleasure of the Governor. The commissioner selected by the Governor to be chairman shall have previously served as a compensation commissioner in this state for at least one year.

      (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), on and after October 1, 1988, any commissioner whose term expires on December thirty-first shall continue to serve until the next succeeding March thirty-first.

      (c) Each nomination made by the Governor to the General Assembly for a compensation commissioner shall be referred, without debate, to the committee on the judiciary, which shall report thereon within thirty legislative days from the time of reference, but no later than seven legislative days before the adjourning of the General Assembly. Each appointment by the General Assembly of a compensation commissioner shall be by concurrent resolution. The action on the passage of each such resolution in the House and in the Senate shall be by vote taken on the electrical roll-call device. No resolution shall contain the name of more than one nominee. The Governor shall, within five days after he has notice that any nomination for a compensation commissioner made by him has failed to be approved by the affirmative concurrent action of both houses of the General Assembly, make another nomination to such office.

      (d) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 4-19, no vacancy in the position of a compensation commissioner shall be filled by the Governor when the General Assembly is not in session unless, prior to such filling, the Governor submits the name of the proposed vacancy appointee to the committee on the judiciary. Within forty-five days, the committee on the judiciary may, upon the call of either chairman, hold a special meeting for the purpose of approving or disapproving such proposed vacancy appointee by majority vote. The Governor shall not administer the oath of office to such proposed vacancy appointee until the committee has approved such proposed vacancy appointee. If the committee determines that it cannot complete its investigation and act on such proposed vacancy appointee within such forty-five-day period, it may extend such period by an additional fifteen days. The committee shall notify the Governor in writing of any such extension. Failure of the committee to act on such proposed vacancy appointee within such forty-five-day period or any fifteen-day extension period shall be deemed to be an approval.

      (e) Each commissioner shall be sworn to a faithful performance of his duties. After notice and public hearing the Governor may remove any commissioner for cause and the good of the public service. Each compensation commissioner shall devote his full time to the duties of his office and shall not be otherwise gainfully employed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7435; 1958 Rev., S. 31-140; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 2; April, 1964, P.A. 3, S. 1; February, 1965, P.A. 577, S. 1; 1969, P.A. 662, S. 3; 1971, P.A. 639, S. 2; P.A. 80-414, S. 2; P.A. 83-353, S. 2; P.A. 84-320, S. 2, 6; 84-546, S. 154, 173; P.A. 85-420, S. 2, 4; P.A. 87-301; P.A. 88-125; 88-184, S. 2, 3; P.A. 91-339, S. 2, 55; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-12, S. 50, 55; P.A. 92-176, S. 1, 2; P.A. 93-228, S. 2, 35; P.A. 94-193, S. 2; May 25 Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-1, S. 29, 130; P.A. 96-72, S. 1, 2; P.A. 07-29, S. 1.)

      History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1964 act revised districts along other than congressional district lines; 1965 act raised number of commissioners from 5 to 7, consisting of one for each of the six congressional districts and one at-large commissioner; 1969 act raised number of commissioners to 8 and revised districts to be those created under Sec. 31-275b rather than congressional districts; 1971 act required commissioners to devote full time to duties of office; P.A. 80-414 increased number of commissioners to 9, created position of chairman of the board and specified his qualifications and appointment procedure; P.A. 83-353 amended Subsec. (a) to provide that the governor shall "nominate" rather than "appoint" the commissioners, added Subsec. (b) re the procedure for appointment by the general assembly and added Subsec. (c) re the procedure for the nomination and appointment of commissioners to fill vacancies while the general assembly is not in session, deleting prior provision whereby governor was solely responsible for filling vacancies; P.A. 84-320 amended Subsec. (a) to provide for 10 commissioners, and to provide that the commissioner from the new eighth district shall be nominated by the governor on or before January 1, 1985; P.A. 84-546 made technical change, referring to "houses" rather than "branches" of the general assembly; P.A. 85-420 amended Subsec. (a) to increase the number of at-large commissioners from one to two; P.A. 87-301 revised Subsec. (a) by eliminating references to specific appointments of commissioners commencing January first and July first and rewording appointment provisions, adding provision re appointment by general assembly as prescribed by law and removal by impeachment; P.A. 88-125 inserted new Subsec. (b) to specify that term of any commissioner on and after October 1, 1988, whose term expires on December thirty-first shall continue to serve until next succeeding March thirty-first; and relettered remaining Subsecs.; P.A. 88-184 amended Subsec. (a) to provide for 13 commissioners, including 4 commissioners at large, and to provide that the 2 commissioners at large shall be nominated by the governor on or before October 1, 1988; P.A. 91-339 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provisions re workers' compensation commission, changing number of commissioners from 13 to 14, deleting provisions re district and at large commissioners and the chairman of the board of compensation commissioners, adding requirement that not less than two commissioners reside in each U.S. congressional district and adding provisions re selection of the chairman of the workers' compensation commission; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-12 amended Subsec. (a) by changing the required period that the chairman must serve as a compensation commissioner prior to selection by the governor from three years to two years; P.A. 92-176 amended Subsec. (a) to provide that the commissioner selected to be chairman shall have served as a compensation commissioner for at least one year, rather than two years; P.A. 93-228 amended Subsec. (a) to increase the number of workers' compensation commissioners from 14 to 16 and to provide that persons nominated as commissioners shall have been members of the Connecticut bar for at least five years, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 94-193, effective October 1, 1994, and May 25 Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-1, effective July 1, 1994, both made a technical correction in Subsec. (a) by amending a provision changing the number of workers' compensation commissioners from 14 to 16 which was omitted from P.A. 93-228; P.A. 96-72 amended Subsec. (a) to eliminate the requirement that not less than two commissioners reside in each United States congressional district, effective May 8, 1996; P.A. 07-29 amended Subsec. (d) to increase from 10 to 45 days the time period after submission of nomination that judiciary committee is authorized to hold a special meeting, prohibit the Governor administering the oath of office to an appointee until committee has approved such appointee, authorize committee to extend the 45-day period by an additional 15 days if committee cannot complete investigation and act within the 45-day period, require committee to notify the Governor in writing of extension and replace "such ten-day period" with "such forty-five day period or any fifteen-day extension period", effective July 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 31-280. Chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission. Powers and duties. Budget. Report of expenses. (a) There shall continue to be a chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission selected by the Governor as provided in section 31-276. The chairman may not hear any matter arising under this chapter, except appeals brought before the Compensation Review Board and except as provided in subdivision (14) of subsection (b) of this section. The chairman shall prepare the forms used by the commission, shall have custody of the insurance coverage cards, shall prepare and keep a list of self-insurers, shall prepare the annual report to the Governor and shall publish, when necessary, bulletins showing the changes in the compensation law, with annotations to the Connecticut cases. The chairman shall be provided with sufficient staff to assist him in the performance of his duties. The chairman may, within available appropriations, appoint acting compensation commissioners on a per diem basis from among former workers' compensation commissioners or qualified members of the bar of this state. Any acting compensation commissioner appointed under this subsection shall be paid on a per diem basis in an amount to be determined by the Commissioner of Administrative Services, subject to the provisions of section 4-40, and shall have all the powers and duties of compensation commissioners. The Workers' Compensation Commission shall not be construed to be a commission or board subject to the provisions of section 4-9a.

      (b) The chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission shall:

      (1) Establish workers' compensation districts and district offices within the state, assign compensation commissioners to the districts to hear all matters arising under this chapter within the districts and may reassign compensation commissioners once each year, except that when there is a vacancy, illness or other emergency, or when unexpected caseload increases require, the chairman may reassign compensation commissioners more than once each year;

      (2) Adopt such rules as the chairman, in consultation with the advisory board, deems necessary for the conduct of the internal affairs of the Workers' Compensation Commission;

      (3) Adopt regulations, in consultation with the advisory board and in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to carry out his responsibilities under this chapter;

      (4) Prepare and adopt an annual budget and plan of operation in consultation with the advisory board;

      (5) Prepare and submit an annual report to the Governor and the General Assembly;

      (6) Allocate the resources of the commission to carry out the purposes of this chapter;

      (7) Establish an organizational structure and such divisions for the commission, consistent with this chapter, as the chairman deems necessary for the efficient and prompt operation of the commission;

      (8) Establish policy for all matters over which the commission has jurisdiction, including rehabilitation, education, statistical support and administrative appeals;

      (9) Appoint such supplementary advisory panels as the chairman deems necessary and helpful;

      (10) Establish, in consultation with the advisory board, (A) an approved list of practicing physicians, surgeons, podiatrists, optometrists and dentists from which an injured employee shall choose for examination and treatment under the provisions of this chapter, which shall include, but not be limited to, classifications of approved practitioners by specialty, and (B) standards for the approval and removal of physicians, surgeons, podiatrists, optometrists and dentists from the list by the chairman;

      (11) (A) Establish standards in consultation with the advisory board for approving all fees for services rendered under this chapter by attorneys, physicians, surgeons, podiatrists, optometrists, dentists and other persons;

      (B) In consultation with employers, their insurance carriers, union representatives, physicians and third-party reimbursement organizations establish, not later than October 1, 1993, and publish annually thereafter, a fee schedule setting the fees payable by an employer or its insurance carrier for services rendered under this chapter by an approved physician, surgeon, podiatrist, optometrist, dentist and other persons, provided the fee schedule shall not apply to services rendered to a claimant who is participating in an employer's managed care plan pursuant to section 31-279. On and after April 1, 2008, the chairman shall implement and annually update relative values based on the Medicare resource-based relative value scale and implement coding guidelines in conformance with the Correct Coding Initiative used by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The conversion to the Medicare resource-based relative value scale shall be revenue-neutral. The fee schedule shall limit the annual growth in total medical fees to the annual percentage increase in the consumer price index for all urban workers. The chairman may make necessary adjustments to the fee schedule for services rendered under this chapter where there is no established Medicare resource-based relative value. Payment of the established fees by the employer or its insurance carrier shall constitute payment in full to the practitioner, and the practitioner may not recover any additional amount from the claimant to whom services have been rendered;

      (C) Issue, not later than October 1, 1993, and publish annually thereafter, guidelines for the maximum fees payable by a claimant for any legal services rendered by an attorney in connection with the provisions of this chapter, which fees shall be approved in accordance with the standards established by the chairman pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this subdivision;

      (12) Approve applications for employer-sponsored medical care plans, based on standards developed in consultation with a medical advisory panel as provided in section 31-279;

      (13) Establish procedures for the hiring, dismissing or otherwise disciplining and promoting employees of the commission, subject where appropriate to the provisions of chapter 67;

      (14) Control the hearing calendars of the compensation commissioners, and if necessary, preside over informal hearings in regard to compensation under the provisions of this chapter in order to facilitate the timely and efficient processing of cases;

      (15) Enter into contracts with consultants and such other persons as necessary for the proper functioning of the commission;

      (16) Direct and supervise all administrative affairs of the commission;

      (17) Keep and maintain a record of all advisory board proceedings;

      (18) Assign and reassign a district manager and other staff to each of the commission's district offices;

      (19) Collect and analyze statistical data concerning the administration of the Workers' Compensation Commission;

      (20) Direct and supervise the implementation of a uniform case filing and processing system in each of the district offices that will include, but not be limited to, the ability to provide data on the number of cases having multiple hearings, the number of postponed hearings and hearing schedules for each district office;

      (21) Establish staff development, training and education programs designed to improve the quality of service provided by the commission, including, but not limited to, a program to train district office staff in the screening of hearing requests;

      (22) Develop standard forms for requesting hearings and standard policies regarding limits on the number of informal hearings that will be allowed under this chapter, and limits on the number of postponements that will be permitted before a formal hearing is held pursuant to section 31-297;

      (23) Develop guidelines for expediting disputed cases;

      (24) Establish an ongoing training program, in consultation with the advisory board, designed to assist the commissioners in the fulfillment of their duties pursuant to the provisions of section 31-278, which program shall include instruction in the following areas: Discovery, evidence, statutory interpretation, medical terminology, legal decision writing and the purpose and procedures of informal and formal hearings;

      (25) Evaluate, in conjunction with the advisory board, the performance of each commissioner biannually and, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of section 1-210 and chapter 55, make the performance evaluation of any commissioner available only to the Governor, the members of the joint standing committee on the judiciary and the respective commissioner prior to any public hearing on the reappointment of any such commissioner. Any information disclosed to such persons shall be used by such persons only for the purpose for which it was given and shall not be disclosed to any other person;

      (26) (A) In consultation with insurers and practitioners, establish not later than October 1, 1993, and publish annually thereafter, practitioner billing guidelines for employers, workers' compensation insurance carriers and practitioners approved by the chairman pursuant to subdivision (10) of this subsection. The guidelines shall include procedures for the resolution of billing disputes and shall prohibit a practitioner from billing or soliciting payments from a claimant for services rendered to the claimant under the provisions of this chapter (i) during a payment dispute between the practitioner and the employer or its workers' compensation insurance carrier, or (ii) in excess of the maximum fees established pursuant to subparagraph (B) of subdivision (11) of this subsection;

      (B) In consultation with practitioners and insurers, develop not later than July 1, 1994, practice protocols for reasonable and appropriate treatment of a claimant under the provisions of this chapter, based on the diagnosis of injury or illness. The commission shall annually publish the practice protocols for use by approved practitioners, employers, workers' compensation insurance carriers and commissioners in evaluating the necessity and appropriateness of care provided to a claimant under the provisions of this chapter;

      (C) In consultation with practitioners and insurers, develop not later than July 1, 1994, utilization review procedures for reasonable and appropriate treatment of a claimant under the provisions of this chapter. The chairman shall annually publish the procedures for use by approved practitioners, employers, workers' compensation insurance carriers and commissioners in evaluating the necessity and appropriateness of care provided to a claimant under the provisions of this chapter.

      (c) The chairman, as soon as practicable after April first of each year, shall submit to the Comptroller an estimated budget of expenditures which shall include all direct and indirect costs incurred by the Workers' Compensation Commission for the succeeding fiscal year commencing on July first next. The Workers' Compensation Commission, for the purposes of administration, shall not expend more than the amounts specified in such estimated budget for each item of expenditure except as authorized by the Comptroller. The chairman shall include in his annual report to the Governor a statement showing the expenses of administering the Workers' Compensation Act for the preceding fiscal year.

      (d) The chairman and the Comptroller, as soon as practicable after August first in each year, shall ascertain the total amount of expenses incurred by the commission, including, in addition to the direct cost of personnel services, the cost of maintenance and operation, rentals for space occupied in state leased offices and all other direct and indirect costs, incurred by the commission during the preceding fiscal year in connection with the administration of the Workers' Compensation Act and the total noncontributory payments required to be made to the Treasurer towards commissioners' retirement salaries as provided in sections 51-49, 51-50, 51-50a and 51-50b. An itemized statement of the expenses as so ascertained shall be available for public inspection in the office of the chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission for thirty days after notice to all insurance carriers, and to all employers permitted to pay compensation directly affected thereby.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7438; September, 1957, P.A. 11, S. 13; 1958 Rev., S. 31-144; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 6; 1969, P.A. 696, S. 3; 1971, P.A. 366; 639, S. 7; P.A. 77-614, S. 130, 610; P.A. 78-303, S. 32, 136; P.A. 79-376, S. 39; 79-540, S. 2; P.A. 80-414, S. 3; P.A. 90-116, S. 3; P.A. 91-339, S. 6, 55; P.A. 93-228, S. 4, 35; P.A. 97-205, S. 2; P.A. 07-31, S. 1.)

      History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1969 act deleted requirement that chairman publish a digest of compensation decisions and added Subsecs. (b) and (c) re budget and record of expenditures; 1971 acts substituted "disposition" of business for "dispensation" of business in Subsec. (a) and required inclusion of "noncontributory payments required to be made to the treasurer towards commissioners' retirement salaries" as part of expenses incurred under Subsec. (c); P.A. 77-614 transferred power to appoint at-large commissioner from personnel policy board to commissioner of administrative services "subject to the provisions of section 4-40"; P.A. 78-303 specified that commission is not a commission or board subject to Sec. 4-9a in Subsec. (a); P.A. 79-376 replaced "workmen's compensation" with "workers' compensation"; P.A. 79-540 specified that chairman of board of compensation commissioners is also chairman of compensation review division in Subsec. (a); P.A. 80-414 clarified duties of chairman as administrative, granting him powers to control hearing calendars to expedite processing of claims and power to hear matters and required that chairman be provided with sufficient staff to perform his duties in Subsec. (a); P.A. 90-116 amended Subsec. (a) to allow for the appointment of temporary commissioners at the discretion of any commissioner within available appropriations; P.A. 91-339 changed "board of compensation commissioners" to "workers' compensation commission", deleted provisions re chairman of the compensation review division, added provisions re hearing of matters by the chairman, and deleted provisions re administrative nature of the chairman's duties, commissioners at large and the chairman's control over the hearing calendars of the commissioners in Subsec. (a), added new Subsec. (b) re powers and duties of the chairman of the workers' compensation commission, redesignated existing Subsec. (b) as Subsec. (c) and required estimated budget to include all direct and indirect costs incurred by the commission, redesignated existing Subsec. (c) as Subsec. (d) and made technical changes; P.A. 93-228 amended Subsec. (b) to apply provisions to optometrists, to require chairman to establish medical fee schedule, attorney fee guidelines, commissioner training program, medical billing guidelines, practice protocols and utilization review procedures, to evaluate commissioners' performance and, when necessary, to preside over informal workers' compensation hearings, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 97-205 amended Subsec. (b)(1) to permit the chairman to reassign compensation commissioners; P.A. 07-31 amended Subsec. (b)(11)(B) by including fees for additional providers in fee schedule and adding provisions re Medicare resource-based relative value scale and coding guidelines used by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as bases for fee schedule.

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II

EMPLOYERS' LIABILITY

      Sec. 31-284. Basic rights and liabilities. Civil action to enjoin noncomplying employer from entering into employment contracts. Notice of availability of compensation.

      Exculpatory agreements in the employment context violate Connecticut public policy. 280 C. 494.

      Subsec. (a):

      Defendants' ordering deceased employees to enter oxygen-deficient manhole without safety equipment did not constitute willful misconduct because plaintiffs failed to establish substantial certainty of decedents' deaths or that defendants knew of dangers of confined space entry. 100 CA 781.


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      Sec. 31-288. Additional liability. Penalty for undue delay, noncompliance with insurance requirements and for defrauding workers' compensation insurance carrier. Notice of penalty to Attorney General and State Treasurer. Payment. Civil action for nonpayment. (a) If an employer wilfully fails to conform to any other provision of this chapter, he shall be fined not more than two hundred fifty dollars for each such failure.

      (b) (1) Whenever through the fault or neglect of an employer or insurer, the adjustment or payment of compensation due under this chapter is unduly delayed, such employer or insurer may be assessed by the commissioner hearing the claim a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars for each such case of delay, to be paid to the claimant. (2) Whenever either party to a claim under this chapter has unreasonably, and without good cause, delayed the completion of the hearings on such claim, the delaying party or parties may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than five hundred dollars by the commissioner hearing the claim for each such case of delay. Any appeal of a penalty assessed pursuant to this subsection shall be taken in accordance with the provisions of section 31-301.

      (c) Whenever an investigator in the investigations unit of the office of the State Treasurer, whether initiating an investigation at the request of the custodian of the Second Injury Fund, the Workers' Compensation Commission, or a commissioner, finds that an employer is not in compliance with the insurance and self-insurance requirements of subsection (b) of section 31-284, such investigator shall issue a citation to such employer requiring him to obtain insurance and fulfill the requirements of said section and notifying him of the requirement of a hearing before the commissioner and the penalties required under this subsection. The investigator shall also file an affidavit advising the commissioner of the citation and requesting a hearing on such violation. The commissioner shall conduct a hearing, after sufficient notice to the employer and within thirty days of the citation, wherein the employer shall be required to present sufficient evidence of his compliance with said requirements. Whenever the commissioner finds that the employer is not in compliance with said requirements he shall assess a civil penalty of not less than five hundred dollars per employee or five thousand dollars, whichever is less and not more than fifty thousand dollars against the employer.

      (d) In addition to the penalties assessed pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the commissioner shall assess an additional penalty of one hundred dollars for each day after the finding of noncompliance that the employer fails to comply with the insurance and self-insurance requirements of subsection (b) of section 31-284. Any penalties assessed under the provisions of this subsection shall not exceed fifty thousand dollars in the aggregate.

      (e) The chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission shall notify the State Treasurer and the Attorney General of the imposition of any penalty, the date it was imposed, the amount and whether there has been an appeal of said penalty. Any civil penalty order issued pursuant to subsection (c) or (d) of this section shall state that payment shall be made to the Second Injury Fund of the State Treasurer, and that failure to pay within ninety days may result in civil action to double the penalty. The State Treasurer shall collect any penalty owed, and if the penalty is not paid within ninety days, the State Treasurer shall notify the chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission and the Attorney General so that civil action may be brought pursuant to section 31-289. Any appeal of a penalty assessed pursuant to the provisions of subsections (c) and (d) of this section shall be taken in accordance with the provisions of section 31-301. The chairman shall adopt regulations for the commissioners to use in setting fines which shall require the commissioners to take into account the nature of the employer's business and his number of employees.

      (f) When any employer knowingly and wilfully fails to comply with the insurance and self-insurance requirements of subsection (b) of section 31-284, such employer, if he is an owner, in the case of a sole proprietorship, a partner, in the case of a partnership, a principal, in the case of a limited liability company or a corporate officer, in the case of a corporation, shall be guilty of a class D felony.

      (g) Any employer who (1) has failed to meet the requirements of subsection (b) of section 31-284, or (2) with the intent to injure, defraud or deceive any insurance company insuring the liability of such employer under this chapter, (A) knowingly misrepresents one or more employees as independent contractors, or (B) knowingly provides false, incomplete or misleading information to such company concerning the number of employees, for the purpose of paying a lower premium on a policy obtained from such company, shall be guilty of a class D felony and shall be subject to a stop work order issued by the Labor Commissioner in accordance with section 31-76a.

      (1961, P.A. 491, S. 11; P.A. 84-299, S. 1; P.A. 86-174, S. 1; P.A. 93-228, S. 6, 35; 93-419, S. 7, 9; P.A. 95-277, S. 1, 19; P.A. 96-267, S. 26; P.A. 07-80, S. 2; 07-89, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 84-299 added Subsec. (b), providing for penalties of up to $500 for each case by a party of undue delay in the completion of hearings or the adjustment or payment of compensation; P.A. 86-174 added Subsec. (c), establishing a civil penalty to be assessed against employers who don't comply with the insurance requirements of Sec. 31-284; P.A. 93-228 added Subsec. (d) to provide that employer which defrauds its workers' compensation insurance carrier for the purpose of paying a lower premium is guilty of a class D felony, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 93-419 made technical changes in Subsec. (b), effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-277 amended Subsec. (c) to provide for specific procedures, penalties and hearings associated with the failure of an employer to comply with insurance and self-insurance requirements, to make assessment of civil penalty mandatory, to impose minimum penalty of not less than $500 per employee or $5,000 whichever is less and to increase maximum penalty from $10,000 to $50,000, inserted new Subsecs. (d) re additional penalty after the noncompliance finding, (e) re monthly transfer of penalty funds by the chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission to the custodian of the Second Injury Fund, appeal procedure and regulations to use in setting fines, and (f) classifying knowing and wilful violations as a class D felony and relettered the existing Subsecs. (d) to (f), effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 96-267 amended Subsec. (e) to require the chairman to notify the State Treasurer and Attorney General when penalties are imposed and when penalties are not paid within 90 days to give notice of the prescribed method of payment and to give notice of potential double penalties for nonpayment; P.A. 07-80 amended Subsec. (b) by increasing penalty for undue delay of payment or adjustment of compensation by employer or insurer and making technical changes; P.A. 07-89 amended Subsec. (g) by extending penalty under subsection to failure to meet requirements of Sec. 31-284(b), subjecting violators to stop work order and making technical changes.

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      Sec. 31-290. Obligations not to be evaded.

      Exculpatory agreements in the employment context violate Connecticut public policy. 280 C. 494.

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PART B
WORKERS' COMPENSATION

      Sec. 31-293a. No right against fellow employee; exception.

      Injuries caused by operation of external controls of garbage truck are not caused by operation of motor vehicle and do not fall within exception of exclusive remedy of worker's compensation. 99 CA 464.

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      Sec. 31-294c. Notice of claim for compensation. Notice contesting liability. Exception for dependents of certain deceased employees.

      Fact that an occupational disease cannot be qualified as such until a causal connection with exposure at employee's workplace can be established compels the conclusion that such a connection is a prerequisite to commencement of the statute of limitations for making a claim for an occupational disease. 280 C. 723.

      Subsec. (a):

      Statute of limitations in subsec. applies to all potential claims of employee's estate or his dependents and requires that a compensable claim be filed within the applicable limitations period, irrespective of whether initial claim is filed by the employee, the employee's estate after his death, or the decedent employee's dependents; proviso is not a condition precedent for commencement of dependents' claims, but rather a modified limitations period for commencement of such claims. 283 C. 813.


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      Sec. 31-296. Voluntary agreements. (a) If an employer and an injured employee, or in case of fatal injury the employee's legal representative or dependent, at a date not earlier than the expiration of the waiting period, reach an agreement in regard to compensation, such agreement shall be submitted in writing to the commissioner by the employer with a statement of the time, place and nature of the injury upon which it is based; and, if such commissioner finds such agreement to conform to the provisions of this chapter in every regard, the commissioner shall so approve it. A copy of the agreement, with a statement of the commissioner's approval, shall be delivered to each of the parties and thereafter it shall be as binding upon both parties as an award by the commissioner. The commissioner's statement of approval shall also inform the employee or 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. The commissioner shall retain the original agreement, with the commissioner's approval thereof, in the commissioner's office and, if an application is made to the superior court for an execution, the commissioner shall, upon the request of said court, file in the court a certified copy of the agreement and statement of approval.

      (b) Before discontinuing or reducing payment on account of total or partial incapacity under any such agreement, the employer or the employer's insurer, if it is claimed by or on behalf of the injured employee that such employee's incapacity still continues, shall notify the commissioner and the employee, by certified mail, of the proposed discontinuance or reduction of such payments. Such notice shall specify the reason for the proposed discontinuance or reduction and the date such proposed discontinuance or reduction will commence. No discontinuance or reduction shall become effective unless specifically approved in writing by the commissioner. The employee may request a hearing on any such proposed discontinuance or reduction not later than fifteen days after receipt of such notice. Any such request for a hearing shall be given priority over requests for hearings on other matters. The commissioner shall not approve any such discontinuance or reduction prior to the expiration of the period for requesting a hearing or the completion of such hearing, whichever is later. In any case where the commissioner finds that an employer has discontinued or reduced any payments made in accordance with this section without the approval of the commissioner, such employer shall be required to pay to the employee the total amount of all payments so discontinued or the total amount by which such payments were reduced, as the case may be, and shall be required to pay interest to the employee, at a rate of one and one-quarter per cent per month or portion of a month, on any payments so discontinued or on the total amount by which such payments were reduced, as the case may be, plus reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the employee in relation to such discontinuance or reduction.

      (c) The employer's or insurer's notice of intention to discontinue or reduce payments shall (1) identify the claimant, the claimant's attorney or other representative, the employer, the insurer, and the injury, including the date of the injury, the city or town in which the injury occurred and the nature of the injury, (2) include medical documentation that (A) establishes the basis for the discontinuance or reduction of payments, and (B) identifies the claimant's attending physician, and (3) be in substantially the following form:

IMPORTANT

STATE OF CONNECTICUT WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION

YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED THAT THE EMPLOYER OR INSURER INTENDS TO REDUCE OR DISCONTINUE YOUR COMPENSATION PAYMENTS ON .... (date) FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

      If you object to the reduction or discontinuance of benefits as stated in this notice, YOU MUST REQUEST A HEARING NOT LATER THAN 15 DAYS after your receipt of this notice, or this notice will automatically be approved.

      To request an Informal Hearing, call the Workers' Compensation Commission District Office in which your case is pending.

      Be prepared to provide medical and other documentation to support your objection. For your protection, note the date when you received this notice.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7444; 1953, S. 3047d; 1958 Rev., S. 31-170; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 18; 1971, P.A. 510, S. 1; P.A. 79-376, S. 44; P.A. 83-114, S. 1; P.A. 84-180, S. 1; P.A. 88-106, S. 1; P.A. 90-116, S. 6; P.A. 07-80, S. 1.)

      History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1971 act changed point at which discontinuance is effective from time notices are sent to commissioner to time when specifically approved in writing by commissioner; P.A. 79-376 replaced "workmen's compensation" with "workers' compensation"; P.A. 83-114 provided that the commissioner's statement of approval of a voluntary agreement shall inform the individual as to his rights for an annual cost-of-living adjustment under this chapter; P.A. 84-180 provided that the commissioner's statement of approval inform the employee of his rights to participate in a rehabilitation program; P.A. 88-106 authorized reduction of benefits; P.A. 90-116 provided that notices of discontinuance and reduction shall be made by certified mail, provided for priority hearing on discontinuances and reductions and provided for interest and attorney's fees against the employer in cases of wrongful discontinuance or reduction (Revisor's note: In 2001 the references in this section to the date "19.." were changed editorially by the Revisors to "20.." to reflect the new millennium); P.A. 07-80 divided section into Subsecs. (a), (b) and (c), made technical changes, in Subsec. (b), required notice to specify reasons for proposed discontinuance or reduction of benefits and changed from 10 days to 15 days the time for employee to request hearing and, in Subsec. (c), required specified information in notice and revised form.

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      Sec. 31-301. Appeals to the Compensation Review Board. Payment of award during pendency of appeal. (a) At any time within 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, 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. If a party files a motion subsequent to the finding and award, order or decision, the twenty-day period for filing an appeal of an award or an order by the commissioner shall commence on the date of the decision on such motion.

      (b) The appeal shall be heard by the Compensation Review Board as provided in section 31-280b. The Compensation Review Board shall hear the appeal on the record of the hearing before the commissioner, provided, if it is shown to the satisfaction of the board that additional evidence or testimony is material and that there were good reasons for failure to present it in the proceedings before the commissioner, the Compensation Review Board may hear additional evidence or testimony.

      (c) Upon the final determination of the appeal by the Compensation Review Board, but no later than one year after the date the appeal petition was filed, the Compensation Review Board shall issue its decision, affirming, modifying or reversing the decision of the commissioner. The decision of the Compensation Review Board shall include its findings, conclusions of law and award.

      (d) When any appeal is pending, and it appears to the Compensation Review Board that any part of the award appealed from is not affected by the issues raised by the appeal, the Compensation Review Board may, on motion or of its own motion, render a judgment directing compliance with any portion of the award not affected by the appeal; or if the only issue raised by the appeal is the amount of the average weekly wage for the purpose of determining the amount of compensation, as provided in section 31-310, the commissioner shall, on motion of the claimant, direct the payment of the portion of the compensation payable under his award that is not in dispute, if any, pending final adjudication of the disputed portion thereof. In all appeals in which one of the parties is not represented by counsel, and in which the party taking the appeal does not prosecute the case within a reasonable time from the date of appeal, the Compensation Review Board may, of its own motion, affirm, reverse or modify the award.

      (e) When an appeal is taken to the Compensation Review Board, the chief clerk thereof shall notify the commissioner from whose award the appeal was taken, in writing, of any action of the Compensation Review Board thereon and of the final disposition of the appeal, whether by judgment, withdrawal or otherwise, and shall upon the decision of the appeal, furnish the commissioner with a copy of the decision. Whenever any appeal is pending, if it appears to the Compensation Review Board that justice so requires, the Compensation Review Board shall order a certified copy of the evidence for the use of the employer, the employee or both, and the certified copy shall be made a part of the record on the appeal. The procedure in appealing from an award of the commissioner shall be the same as the procedure employed in an appeal from the Superior Court to the Supreme Court, where applicable. The chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to establish rules, methods of procedure and forms as the chairman deems expedient for the purposes of this chapter.

      (f) During the pendency of any appeal of an award made pursuant to this chapter, the claimant shall receive all compensation and medical treatment payable under the terms of the award to the extent the compensation and medical treatment are not being paid by any health insurer or by any insurer or employer who has been ordered, pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, to pay a portion of the award. The compensation and medical treatment shall be paid by the employer or its insurer.

      (g) If the final adjudication results in the denial of compensation to the claimant, and he has previously received compensation on the claim pursuant to subsection (f) and this subsection, the claimant shall reimburse the employer or its insurer for all sums previously expended, plus interest at the rate of ten per cent per annum. Upon any such denial of compensation, the commissioner who originally heard the case or his successor shall conduct a hearing to determine the repayment schedule for the claimant.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7450; 1958 Rev., S. 31-177; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 23; 1963, P.A. 642, S. 85; 1967, P.A. 692, S. 2; 1972, P.A. 108, S. 6; P.A. 74-183, S. 268, 291; P.A. 76-436, S. 231, 681; P.A. 78-280, S. 1, 127; P.A. 79-540, S. 3; P.A. 81-155, S. 2; 81-472, S. 144, 159; P.A. 84-133; P.A. 86-27; 86-56; P.A. 91-32, S. 19, 41; 91-339, S. 20, 55; P.A. 95-277, S. 9, 19; P.A. 01-22, S. 1; P.A. 07-31, S. 2.)

      History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1963 act allowed appeals after commissioner's decision upon a motion and required that appeals be made to court for county where injury occurred rather than county where award was filed, adding provision re court for appeal when injury occurred outside state; 1967 act deleted references to findings of commissioners and specified that appeal procedure is same as for appeals from superior court to supreme court; 1972 act replaced superior court with court of common pleas throughout section, effective September 1, 1972, except that courts with cases pending retain jurisdiction; P.A. 74-183 added references to judicial districts and made appeal procedure same as for appeals from court of common pleas to superior court, effective December 31, 1974; P.A. 76-436 replaced court of common pleas with superior court and deleted provision re appeal procedure, effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 78-280 deleted references to counties; P.A. 79-540 replaced provisions re appeals to superior court with new provisions re appeals to compensation review division; P.A. 81-155 permitted the appeal of orders made by the commissioner according to the provisions of Sec. 31-299b; P.A. 81-472 made technical changes; P.A. 84-133 added Subsec. (b), providing for the payment of compensation and benefits due under an occupational disease award during the pendency of any appeal of such award; P.A. 86-27 provided that compensation and benefits due under any award made pursuant to this chapter shall be paid by the second injury fund during the pendency of any appeal of the award; P.A. 86-56 required the compensation review division to issue its decision on any appeal within one year of the filing of the appeal petition, except that any decision on an appeal pending on October 1, 1986, shall be issued within one year of said date; P.A. 91-32 divided existing Subsec. (a) into Subsecs. (a) to (e), inclusive, divided existing Subsec. (b) into Subsecs. (f) and (g) and made technical changes; P.A. 91-339 changed "compensation review division" to "compensation review board", changed "chairman" to "chief" of the board, added reference to Sec. 31-380b in Subsec. (b) and authorized the chairman of the workers' compensation commission to adopt regulations in Subsec. (e); P.A. 95-277 amended Subsec. (f) to provide that the compensation and medical treatment of the injured employee be paid by the employer or its insurer rather than Second Injury Fund and, in Subsec. (g) substituted references to "Second Injury Fund" with "employer or its insurer" to reflect the closing of the Second Injury Fund and deleted provision re reimbursement of Second Injury Fund by employer, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 01-22 amended Subsec. (a) by increasing the time to take an appeal from 10 to 20 days; P.A. 07-31 amended Subsec. (a) by commencing 20-day period for filing appeal, where motion filed subsequent to finding and award, order or decision, on date of decision on motion.

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      Sec. 31-301b. Appeal of decision of Compensation Review Board.

      Appeal dismissed due to lack of a final judgment in matter that required a remand to worker's compensation commissioner to apportion liability. 282 C. 386. Sec. 1-2z does not overrule prior case law importing a final judgment requirement into this section. Id., 477.

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      Sec. 31-306. Death resulting from accident or occupational disease. Dependents. Compensation.

      Testimony of even the most persuasive expert witness cannot be credited if it is not based on facts, and therefore decision of board affirming commissioner's award of benefits to widow reversed because there were insufficient subordinate facts to support medical witness's opinion that decedent's death was causally related to the compensable injury or to remove the cause of death from the realm of conjecture. 99 CA 336.

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      Sec. 31-307. Compensation for total incapacity.

      Subsec. (e):

      Applies whenever social security and total disability benefits are concurrent and does not violate equal protection because it does not discriminate against the totally disabled and has a rational basis in legislature's desire to cut costs. 281 C. 656.


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      Sec. 31-308a. Additional benefits for partial permanent disability.

      When a prior disability is a substantial cause of the loss of earning capacity after a second disability, commissioner may consider both disability awards in determining entitlement to and duration of awards pursuant to this section. 283 C. 257.

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PART C
EMPLOYERS' MUTUAL INSURANCE

      Sec. 31-331. Control of associations. Insurance Commissioner authorized to accept statement of financial condition by certain employers' mutual associations organized before June 6, 1996. Except as herein otherwise provided, such associations shall be subject to the same regulation and control as is or may be imposed by law upon other corporations or associations taking similar risks in this state, and over them the Insurance Commissioner shall have all the jurisdiction given him by sections 38a-14 and 38a-17 over insurance companies, provided with respect to any such association organized prior to June 6, 1996, with a membership composed exclusively of health care providers and whose premium base is derived entirely from health care organizations, the commissioner may accept a statement of financial condition that shall be audited by an independent certified public accountant using generally accepted accounting principles if such statement also includes a conversion to the accounting standards prescribed by section 38a-70. Such statement of financial condition shall be submitted to the commissioner by such association, annually, on or before the first day of March, signed and sworn to by its president or vice president and secretary or an assistant secretary, of its financial condition on the thirty-first day of December next preceding, prepared in such form and detail as may be prescribed by the commissioner and shall include a certification by an actuary or reserve specialist of all reserve liabilities prepared in accordance with subsection (e) of section 38a-53. In addition to such annual statement of financial condition, any such association shall file, quarterly, unaudited financial statements using generally accepted accounting principles if such statements also include a conversion to the accounting standards prescribed by section 38a-70.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7471; 1958 Rev., S. 31-198; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 57; P.A. 77-614, S. 163, 610; P.A. 80-482, S. 208, 348; P.A. 07-27, S. 1.)

      History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; P.A. 77-614 placed insurance commissioner within the department of business regulation and made insurance department a division within that department, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 80-482 restored insurance division as independent department with commissioner as its head and deleted reference to abolished business regulation department; P.A. 07-27 allowed commissioner to accept statement of financial condition from certain employers' mutual associations organized before June 6, 1996, audited by independent certified public accountant using generally accepted accounting principles in such form and detail as prescribed by commissioner, and provided for quarterly filing of unaudited financial statements by such associations.

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