What Happens If I Fail to Provide Formal Notice of a Workers’ Compensation Claim Before the Deadline Expires?
If you are injured in a workplace accident, you need to act promptly to secure your rights under Connecticut workers’ compensation law. Specifically, you need to file a notice of claim–known as a Form 30C–within one year of the accident. This notice is sent both to your employer and the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission. Failure to provide sufficient notice will force the Commission to find it lacks the ability to hear your case.
Board: Employer Had “Constructive Notice” of Injured Workers’ Accident
That being said, Connecticut courts have also made it clear that “strict compliance” with the notice rule is not required. In other words, as long as your employer has “constructive notice” of your accident or claim, the lack of a formal Form 30C will not deprive the Commission of jurisdiction.
A recent decision from the Commission’s Compensation Review Board, Fieldhouse v. Regency Coachworks, Inc., reaffirmed this principle. This case involved a claimant who was injured at work in November 2015. More precisely, the claimant fell down some stairs. The claimant’s immediate supervisor happened to be present at the time and helped her up.
A few hours later, the claimant obtained the supervisor’s position to leave and seek medical care at a nearby clinic. The claimant drove herself to the clinic and was not acting at the employer’s direction. The claimant subsequently required extended medical care, which was billed to her employee-based health insurance plan.
Sometime later, the claimant told her supervisor that she “was probably going to file” a workers’ compensation claim. The supervisor told her to go ahead. The claimant then personally visited the office of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. An employee of the insurer told the claimant “not to worry about it” and that she had up to 2 years to file a claim. This was incorrect–as noted above, the deadline is 1 year–but the claimant did not know any better.
The claimant did not end up filing a formal Form 30C until June 2017. The employer then argued the claim was barred for missing the one-year deadline. Although the commissioner sided with the employer, the Review Board held otherwise. It said based on the “totality of the circumstances,” it was clear the employer had constructive notice of the claimant’s injury well within the one-year limitations period. The Board specifically pointed to the claimant’s “interactions with her immediate supervisor” on the day of the accident and her personal visit to the insurance company as proof of “substantial compliance” with the notice of claim requirements.
Speak with a Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
You might be wondering why the insurer said the deadline for filing a workers’ compensation claim is 2 years. There actually is a 2-year deadline applicable to cases where an employee has died as the result of a work-related accident or illness. It is not clear from the Board’s decision why the insurer confused the two deadlines, particularly given the employee appeared in-person to make an inquiry.
In any event, this case demonstrates why you cannot always rely on an employer or insurer to provide accurate information. If you have been injured on the job, it is in your best interests to work with a Stratford workers’ compensation attorney who can provide you with the correct information. Contact the Morizio Law Firm today at 475-338-3505 to schedule a free consultation.