In Connecticut, workers’ compensation is an employee’s exclusive remedy for recovering compensation following a work-related injury. What this means is that an injured worker cannot sue his or her employee or a coworker for a work-related injury.
What happens, though, when an employer fails to carry workers’ comp and, therefore, denies workers of this remedy? What can an injured worker do, and will there be consequences for the employer?
Exceptions to the exclusive remedy rule
Per The Connecticut General Assembly, Office of Legislative Research, there are a few, very narrow exceptions to the exclusive remedy rule. One exception is if an employer or coworker’s serious or willful misconduct caused the injury. A second is if an employer retaliates or discriminates against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. A third and final exception is if the employer fails to carry workers’ comp, in which case the worker may sue the employer for negligence.
Consequences for failing to carry workers’ comp
According to Insureon, all Connecticut business owners must carry workers’ comp if they employ at least one employee. This is the case even if an employer classifies an employee as part-time, full-time or contract. The only exception to this rule is if the employee is a household employee who works fewer than 26 hours per week.
In addition to subjecting themselves to civil lawsuits, employers who fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance could face civil fines and penalties. If the State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission learns that an employee violates the law, it may first issue a stop-work order. This order mandates that employees may not resume work until the employer obtains appropriate coverage. It may also issue a $300 fine per employee per day that the employer does not have adequate insurance.
Workers’ compensation is a right to which the law entitles all Connecticut employees. If an employer violates this right, an injured or concerned employee should consult with an attorney right away.