Karutz v. Feinstein & Herman, P.C

In Karutz v. Feinstein & Herman, P.C., 59 Conn. App. 565, 567, 757 A.2d 680, cert. denied, 254 Conn. 949, 762 A.2d 901 (2000), an employee was injured at work, but continued to perform her duties and to receive regular pay for almost fourteen months after the injury. Subsequently, the employee was determined to be temporarily totally disabled and then temporarily partially disabled. Id. When the insurer sought to transfer liability to the fund, the fund contested the timeliness of the transfer, arguing that the employee was disabled from the date of the injury, even though she had lost no pay or time from work as a result of the injury. Id. at 568-69. The commissioner, however, determined that the notice was timely because the disability period did not begin on the date of injury, and the board affirmed that decision. Id. at 571-72. On appeal, the Court stated "the issue of timeliness centers on the meaning of the word 'disabled' contained in 31-349. The terms 'disabled' and 'disability' are not defined in the workers' compensation statutes. Recent decisions of the Supreme Court, however, have established the meaning of 'disability' for purposes of 31-349." Id. at 569. The Court held that "disability" refers to a plaintiff's physical impairment and that "a person can be disabled for the purposes of 31-349 even though he or she can carry on all the facets of his or her employment. The test is whether the plaintiff is physically impaired, not whether there exists a de facto inability to earn a wage." Id., 570.