The Labor Committee has approved a bill that will allow employees to pursue workers’ compensation benefits when they claim to have suffered a psychological injury unrelated to a physical injury.

SB 823 allows workers’ compensation benefits to be awarded to anyone who suffers from a psychological injury as a result of witnessing, while in the course of their employment, an act that results in the death or maiming of another human being; or the immediate aftermath of such a death or maiming. 

It does not fully answer, however, whether employees who witness certain types of events during the ordinary course of their employment, such as emergency room employees who see injured or deceased victims of intentional violence, could be awarded benefits under this legislation. 

The bill also does not define many key terms that would determine whether a claim was legitimate or not, the committee deferring that task to the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

However, with the potential of varying opinions from the different workers’ comp districts in Connecticut, the unanswered questions could lead to a large number of claims being brought under this statute and an increase in cost for employers who will have to defend these claims. 

The bill was approved 7-4 along party lines, with Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing.

CBIA will continue to work with the legislature to ensure assistance to those who need coverage and to attempt to limit the potential for unnecessarily expanding workers’ comp eligibility and costs. 

For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 or bonnie.stewart@cbia.com.