CT Supreme Court Denies Workers’ Comp To Firefighter With Heart Condition
Connecticut’s law regarding workers’ compensation is fairly expansive – all but a very few employers are required by law to provide coverage to their employees. However, coverage does not always cover part-time workers, often to their own surprise. A recent Connecticut Supreme Court case denied coverage to a firefighter who had claimed heart disease had developed during his time on the job.
The firefighter had worked for the town of Waterford as a part-timer since 1992, graduating to full time in 1997. In 2017, he made a workers’ compensation claim for a myocardial infarction after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery. The town originally found his claim to be non-compensable because Connecticut law states that benefits are only available to a “uniformed member of a paid municipal fire department” hired prior to July 1, 1996, and the firefighter who made the claim had only become a full-time ‘member’ in 1997.
The presiding Administrative Law Judge disagreed, holding that the term “member” did not only apply to full-time firefighters, and ruling that the claimant’s myocardial infarction was compensable. The claimant firefighter had argued that they customarily worked more than 20 hours per week even while part-time, and the Administrative Law Judge appeared to accept that argument, but crucially made no finding of fact that would set that as part of the record.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the word “member” did in fact mean only full-time employees, arguing that it related back to those who belonged to fire departments that were part of the state’s municipal retirement plan (generally full-time employees only). Despite workers’ compensation law ostensibly requiring coverage for on-the-job injuries, specific statutes like this one are permitted to impose requirements that must be met before coverage will be forthcoming.
Contact A Stratford, CT Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The average person will often not be aware of these caveats in workers’ compensation coverage – but if you have questions, contacting a Stratford workers’ compensation attorney from the Morizio Law Firm can be the first step toward getting them answered. Call our office today at 475-338-3505 for a free consultation.