Don't Feel Guilty Filing a Workers' Comp Claim
It is tempting to try and "walk it off" after a work injury and not seek treatment. Often injured workers are afraid they will be the one who made a workers' compensation claim against their employer and be judged and ridiculed by bosses and coworkers. Here is why you should focus on your health and why your injury claim is protected.
Workers' Compensation Claims Are Not Lawsuits
This is a common misconception. Even though the claim is styled similarly and administratively handled by Connecticut's Workers' Compensation Commission in a legal framework, workers' compensation was enacted to protect injured workers. The system is designed to make sure you get necessary medical care and that you get paid for time that you miss from work. You are even entitled for compensation when you sustain a permanent disability. Workers' compensation does not require that you prove that your employer "did something wrong" so you should not feel guilty or that you will put your bosses or coworkers in danger by filing a claim.
A No-Fault system
In Connecticut, workers' compensation is a "no-fault" system, meaning that you don't need to prove that your employer did anything wrong or that they were negligent for you to receive compensation. In fact, the law makes workers' compensation the exclusive remedy for you to sue your employer, so you generally can't bring a negligence lawsuit against your employer and must file workers' compensation claim instead.
Additionally, the no-fault system works for workers as well. For most cases it is ok if you made a mistake that got you injured. Sometimes someone drops something on their foot, or their hand slips into a blade, or they picked up a box incorrectly. It shouldn't matter when you were simply doing your job. Still, that does not mean that wild or reckless behavior will be covered under workers' compensation. I you have any questions about the facts leading up to your injury, you should speak to a Connecticut workers' compensation lawyer.
Your Employer Can't Discriminate
If your employer retaliates against you for filing a workers' compensation claim, or punishes you in order to scare or convince you not to file one in the first place, there is a special claim you can bring under the Connecticut General Statute § 31-290a. This "wrongful termination" claim generally covers situations in which you are fired, demoted, or your job responsibilities or title are materially diminished. If an employer discriminates or punishes you intentionally and in retaliation for your comp claim, there may be remedies available to you. The employer may offer you light-duty work while you are recovering from your injury, however they cannot simply terminate or punish you for filing for comp or to prevent you from filing.
Don't let your employer bully you and don't let your co-workers judge you. It is your right to seek compensation for a work injury. If you are afraid to bring a claim or that your employer will retaliate, you should contact a Connecticut workers' compensation attorney.