The state Senate unanimously approved a bill streamlining the workers compensation claims process on the last day of the 2017 legislative session.

HB 7132 ensures a worker's notice of claim for injury gets into the hands of the person responsible for investigating and processing it.

The bill, which benefits both employees and employers, passed the House last month on a 128-11 vote and now heads to the governor's desk.

Employers have only 28 days from when they receive an injured worker's written claim notice to either file a notice that they are contesting it, or begin paying benefits to the worker.

But if that deadline is missed, the system presumes the employer accepted the extent of the claim and will pay.

This presumption makes it imperative that the worker's notice gets into the hands of the person in charge of investigating the claim and contacting the insurer.

Posting Requirement

HB 7132 resolves this by requiring the employer to post notice of where the worker's written notice should be sent via certified mail in the same area where other mandated employee and workplace notices are posted.

The employer must also ensure the address of where the worker's written notice should be sent is posted on the Workers Compensation Commission website.

Under this bill, the 28-day period doesn't begin until the worker's notice is in the hands of the person who investigates it.

This helps workers by providing a point person to receive the notice, and allows a prompt investigation of the claim.

It also ensures that employers who are deliberately slow to respond to a worker's notice cannot contest liability and extent of disability.

Exclusive Remedy

A second workers compensation bill CBIA opposed failed to make it out of the Appropriations Committee.

HB 6666 negatively affected workers compensation by changing its exclusive remedy provisions.

The proposal allowed a claimant to sue in civil court before exhausting all administrative remedies.

Allowing workers to file a separate action in another forum where fact finders are not familiar with workers compensation practices only invites litigation and increases costs for Connecticut employers and insurers.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Louise DiCocco (203.589.6515) | @LouiseDiCocco