A Notice About Healthcare Deductibles for COVID-19 Treatment

Dear Clients,

Many health insurance companies have announced that they will waive deductibles for medical treatment related to the COVID-19 virus. This waiver applies to all individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and is not limited to individuals who have contracted the virus through work activities.

If you have contracted COVID-19 and have incurred out-of-pocket medical expenses related to your treatment for the virus, we strongly recommend you contact your health insurance company to see if they have pledged to waive your deductible.

Please do not hesitate to contact The Dodd Law Firm if you have any questions related to medical bills related to COVID-19 treatment.



The Dodd Law Firm

COVID-19 as a Workers’ Compensation Injury

While some workers are able to work from home, there are many who must continue to work outside of the home during the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.  This includes workers from multiple disciplines such as healthcare, delivery, utilities, and too many others to name.  With this work comes the inherent risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. 

A worker who contracts this illness after being exposed in the workplace has the right to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. 

A Workers’ Compensation claim would provide substantial assistance in dealing with the potentially serious effects of the coronavirus. 

First and foremost, if the claim is accepted, a Workers’ Compensation insurance company would be obligated to pay for all the related medical treatment needed for a sick worker.

Secondly, the sick worker would receive money benefits for any time they missed from work as a result of their illness.

It is also worth noting that there is still much that is not known about the long-term effects of this illness.  There is potential that the severe respiratory distress which may be caused by the virus may lead to damage to other vital organs such as the brain, kidneys, liver and heart.  Permanent damage may also be done to the lungs in some cases. 

We do not intend to alarm anyone with this information, but to encourage those individuals at risk to assert and preserve their rights to benefits under the Workers’ Compensation system in this unprecedented time.  Further, it is important to file a written claim as soon as possible, as various legal deadlines will apply to these cases, as they do to other Workers’ Compensation claims.  If you do not file your claim in time, you may lose all rights to any Workers’ Compensation benefits for your illness.

The Importance of Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance

UM (uninsured) auto insurance protects you after a Motor Vehicle Accident when the at fault driver does not have insurance.  UIM (under insured) protects you when the at fault driver has insurance, but not enough insurance to cover all damages (medical bills, lost wages, pain & suffering, etc).  You expect the at fault driver to have sufficient auto insurance to pay for your damages and injuries they caused you.  The problem is some drivers do not have sufficient insurance. And now their problem becomes your problem! 

Why UM/UIM Insurance is Important

If the at fault driver does not have sufficient insurance to compensate you for the damages and injuries, you will have to have to had purchased sufficient underinsured auto insurance for more than the other driver’s insurance company.  Liability insurance will not help you in this situation. Liability insurance is designed to pay the party that suffers damages and injuries caused by you.

In order to be able to use your own uninsured insurance, you must have a higher coverage amount than the at fault driver.  This means that if you and the at fault driver both have minimum ($25,000) insurance policies, you will not be able to use your own underinsured insurance coverage.  You must have an underinsured policy limit of more than the minimum ($25,000).  

Reasons why you need sufficient underinsured coverage:

  1. Many drivers in Connecticut do not have auto insurance and many that do have minimum policy limits of $25,000.00. That means the most their insurance company is obligated to pay you $25,000.00.
  2. UM/UIM coverage is very affordable coverage that you can add to your auto insurance policy. In addition, UM/UIM coverages doesn’t only protect you but also your family members and other passengers who ride in your vehicle.
  3. UM/UIM protects you outside of your car as well.

            If you are a passenger in a friend’s vehicle and are involved in an accident, your UM/UIM policy will apply and protect you.

            In addition, if you are hit by a car as a pedestrian, your UM/UIM policy will protect you as well even if you are not in a vehicle.

An UM/UIM claim/lawsuit progresses in the same way as a regular auto lawsuit except the lawsuit is against your own auto insurance company and not against the other driver’s insurance company. 

We urge you to call your insurance company to get a quote for additional UM/UIM coverage.  We think you will be surprised as to how affordable additional coverage can be!

INVISIBLE INJURIES: Mental Health Claims in Workers’ Compensation

The phrase “Workers’ Compensation injury” traditionally invokes images of sprained backs and carpel tunnel injuries.  While physical injuries such as these may be some of the most commonly occurring types of injuries sustained by workers, they are not the only type of injury that may be covered by a Workers’ Compensation claim. 

In Connecticut, psychiatric or mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may also be compensable if they originate from a physical injury sustained at work.  In most circumstances, current law requires the existence of a physical injury which results a subsequent mental health issue.  There is currently an exception to this law for police officers who are “subjected to serious physical injury or death through the use of deadly force”.  Under such circumstances, a police officer would not need to sustain a physical injury to bring a claim for resulting mental health issues. 

While such mental health claims are often overlooked or unaddressed, they are no less serious or deserving of attention than traditional physical injuries.  Many workers feel they will be stigmatized by the need to address mental health issues.  This certainly should not be the case.  Work injuries, especially those that take the injured individual out of work for an extended period, are stressful.  It is easy and common for the uncertainty and stress of physical injuries and money concerns in a Workers’ Compensation claim to manifest in the form of depression and anxiety. 

If you feel as though you are experiencing mental health issues related to a work injury, please take comfort in knowing that you can get medical care through your Workers’ Compensation claim to address your mental health needs.  Please do not hesitate to discuss your work related mental health issues with your Workers’ Compensation attorney.  By doing so, you will be helping yourself to a more complete medical recovery.

Frequently Used Workers’ Compensation Phrases

Sometimes, listening to a Workers’ Compensation attorney talk about a case can seem like hearing someone speak another language.  That is because these cases involve legal phrases and abbreviations specific to Workers’ Compensation law.


Here is a guide to some of the most commonly used phrases in Workers’ Compensation cases:


  • TT – temporarily totally disabled – a person is injured and not capable of any level of work.  This work capacity can only be assigned by a doctor.  A worker with an accepted case who is “TT” relating to an accepted injury will receive a weekly check.


  • TP – temporarily partially disabled – a person is injured and is capable of less than full duty work.  This is frequently referred to as “light duty”.  This work capacity can only be assigned by a doctor.  An injured worked who is “TP” may need to work light duty at his or her employer or perform job searches to receive a weekly check.


  • PPD – permanent partial disability – a level of disability assigned to a body part after an injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement. This comes in the form of a percentage rating given by a doctor after an examination.


  • MMI – maximum medical improvement – the end of reasonable medical treatment for an injury. This occurs when an injured worker’s treating doctor decides that all reasonable medical treatment has been provided for an injury.


  • 31-308a- this usually refers to a type of weekly money benefit paid to an injured worker after permanency benefits. These benefits are designed to compensate a worker who is not earning as much money as he or she was making before becoming injured.  The Commissioner has discretion over how much will be paid.


  • RME – Respondent’s Medical Examination – medical examination ordered by the insurance company with a doctor of their choosing. This usually occurs when the insurance company wants a separate opinion on a medical question such as whether an injury is related to a work accident or whether medical treatment recommended is appropriate.


  • Respondent – the insurance company in a Workers’ Compensation case.


  • Claimant – an injured worker in a Workers’ Compensation case.


  • CME – Commissioner’s Medical Examination – medical examination ordered by a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner with a doctor of his or her choosing. This usually occurs to resolve a difference in opinion between an injured workers’ doctor and an RME doctor chosen by the insurance doctor.  Think of this as a tie breaker between the Claimant’s treating doctor and the Respondent’s doctor.


  • Commissioner – term used to describe the judges in Workers’ compensation cases.


  • IME – independent medical examination – another term used to describe an RME.


  • Settlement – the closing of a Worker’s Compensation case for a lump sum of money. This means the insurance company will no longer be responsible for payment of money benefits or medical treatment once the case is closed.


  • VA – voluntary agreement – Workers’ Compensation form used to indicate that a case or permanency ratings is officially accepted. These official forms are currently printed on green paper.


  • Form 36 – Workers’ Compensation form issued by the insurance company to indicate their intent to reduce or change the benefits of an injured worker. If the workers’ attorney objects to this form, it will automatically trigger a hearing to discuss the change requested by the insurance company.


  • Form 30C – Workers’ Compensation form used to start a new case. It informs the insurance company and the employer of a claimed injury.


  • Form 42 – Workers’ Compensation form sent to a doctor to request a permanent partial disability rating.


  • Informal hearing – a meeting between the lawyers for the Claimant and the Respondent before a Commissioner to discuss a specific disputed issue or series of issues in a Workers’ Compensation claim.


  • Pre-Formal hearing – an intermediary level hearing in a Workers’ Compensation claim designed to prepare an issue for trial at a Formal Hearing.


  • Formal hearing – a trial that will end with a decision by the Commissioner on a specific issue or issues in a Workers’ Compensation case.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis

New England is currently experiencing a wave of mosquitoes that have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).  EEE is a disease mosquitoes can pass to humans that causes swelling of the brain and may result in death.  Connecticut state health officials are currently advising residents to take precautions against exposure to mosquitoes by using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and avoiding the outdoors from between one hour before sunset until dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.  Early symptoms may include high fever, neck stiffness, headache, fatigue, and nausea/vomiting.



When an infectious disease is contracted on the job, it may be a compensable Workers’ Compensation injury.  This applies to mosquito-born illnesses, such as EEE, Zika Virus and West Nile Virus, and also to illnesses caused by ticks, such as Lyme Disease.

In Connecticut, a school has been found negligent after it failed to adequately warn and protect a student from an identified insect related illness.

Ross T. Lessack, 09/09/1955 – 04/04/2019

With great sorrow, The Dodd Law Firm mourns the loss of partner, Ross T. Lessack.  Since joining the firm, Attorney Lessack worked as a dedicated advocate for his clients.  He will be dearly missed.


Click here for more information on this seminar

Attorney Jonathan H. Dodd of the Dodd Law Firm will give a presentation at the “Civil Trial:  Everything You Need to Know” seminar on December 7, 2018 at the Holiday Inn in East Hartford, CT.  The seminar is hosted by the National Business Institute.

Attorney Dodd will be speaking on the issues of expert witness questioning and effective strategies for discussing injuries at trial.

Click here for more information on this seminar.



Repetitive Trauma Injuries

Workers’ Compensation benefits are not limited only to workers injured in accidents.  Workers’ Compensation benefits are also available to workers who suffer from the cumulative impact of repetitive actives on the body.  Workers’ Compensation refers to these claims as “repetitive trauma”.

Some common types of repetitive trauma injuries include:

  • carpel tunnel syndrome from repeated hand activities;
  • hearing loss from loud work environments;
  • rotator cuff injuries from frequent overhead work; and
  • degenerative back conditions from frequent heavy lifting and bending.


This is only a small list of examples and does not include all the possible scenarios of repetitive trauma injuries that may qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits.

A worker bringing a repetitive trauma claim must file his or her claim within one year of the last date of the repetitive work or within three years from the first symptoms of the condition caused by the repetitive work.

If you or a family member is suffering from a chronic injury which you believe may have been caused by a period of repetitive work activity, please do not hesitate to contact a Workers’ Compensation attorney to determine whether you may be eligible for benefits.

How is a workers’ compensation claim different than a personal injury lawsuit?

The main difference between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit is that a personal injury  lawsuit is based on fault while workers’ compensation is not. Any injury that occurs to an employee during work is  covered by workers’ compensation regardless of fault.

In order to recover damages against another person in a motor vehicle accident or slip and fall, one must be able to prove negligence on the part of the other person.

Employees who are injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of fault. Employees are not required to prove any negligence on the part of their employers in order to file and receive workers’ compensation benefits. Employees are entitled to workers’ compensation even if their own negligence cause the injury.

While workers’ compensation will pay you compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and permanent impairment rating, it will not pay for pain and suffering. The cap on workers’ compensation benefits, therefore is much lower than the typical personal injury lawsuit/settlement.

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you are entitled to compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

The workers’ compensation laws are designed to ensure all workers’ who were injured on the job would get their lost wages and medical bills paid right away. In return, employees lost the right to sue their employers for negligence and lost the right to collect damages for pain and suffering.