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Dealing with persistent injuries

While the state is generally safe for workers, some industries in Connecticut have more dangerous occupations than others. Furthermore, some jobs, such as construction worker or nurse, have a high rate of injury recurrence. 

The law might offer some protection for workers against undue hardship caused by lost wages and medical bills from relapses, similar to the benefits it could offer for initial periods of work hiatus. However, a court would typically require reassessment of a recurrence before paying benefits. Additionally, some injuries may not qualify for recurrence benefits.  

Although the terms are part of common language, "relapse" and "recurrence" have a specific connotation in the context of workers' comp law. The State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission glossary defines a relapse as a period of incapacity resulting from a disease or injury that satisfies two criteria:

  • The disease or injury previously resulted in lost work
  • The individual in question made a recovery and returned to his or her job

Therefore, one could be unable to claim recurrence benefits for a condition for which he or she was never cleared by a medical professional, as a court might find that condition to be ongoing. 

As mentioned before, certain conditions would likely be ineligible for relapse payments. According to the WCC's online version of the 2017 Workers’ Compensation Act, these conditions include:

  • Loss of extremities
  • Permanent blindness, hearing loss or irreparable damage to sensory apparatus
  • Damage to reproductive organs
  • Failure of internal organs

The WCC resource has a plain-language explanation of the law along with recent amendments and past versions. Although most questions could be answered by referring to this text, case law also could prove important in informing the finer points of a given relapse situation.

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