The General Assembly has passed a series of laws that benefits workers when they have been injured on the job or have contracted a work-related illness. These laws provide for lost wages and medical benefits for these injured or ill employees.
Virtually all employers in Rhode Island are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to pay for these benefits. A Rhode Island workers’ comp lawyer can help you ensure that you receive all of the benefits that you should under Rhode Island law.
In Rhode Island, the Division of Workers’ Compensation monitors the work comp program. Part of its role is to ensure that all required employers have insurance coverage, that employees are paid correctly for their claims, and that employees understand their rights by providing educational resources.
The Basic Workers’ Compensation Process in Rhode Island
If you have been injured on the job, you should notify your employer immediately. Your employer is required to report the injury to their insurance company if you are unable to work for more than three days. The employer also has to report the injury to a division of the Rhode Island government and part of the Division of Workers’ Compensation called the Department of Labor and Training.
Employees are permitted to choose their first medical provider in Rhode Island. If you go to the emergency room first, however, that does not count as your first medical provider under workers’ compensation law.
Rhode Island law does not provide a required time line for insurance companies to pay you or respond to your claim. However, you can file a petition with the Workers’ Compensation Court if you have received any payments or notification that your claim has been denied after 21 days from reporting your injury or illness.
If the insurance company or your employer sends you a “Memorandum of Agreement” (MOA), then that means that they have accepted your claim and will be paying your benefits. You may alternatively (or also) receive a Non-Prejudicial Agreement. This form explains that your employer’s insurance company can pay you for up to 13 weeks without accepting liability for the claim. The insurance company has the right to terminate benefits at any time during those 13 weeks, but they should provide you with a notice that benefits either have stopped or will stop.
Benefits Available Under Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Law
Rhode Island law allows you to collect benefits for medical treatment for your work-related injury and a percentage of your lost wages while you recover. If your injury or illness results in permanent damage, you may also receive benefits for that damage. You may also qualify for physical and vocation rehabilitation benefits as well.
If you have lost a loved one following a workplace accident, Rhode Island workers’ compensation laws provide for death benefits as well.
The amount of benefits that you receive will depend on the severity of your injury, your occupation, which part of your body was injured, and how that injury will affect your ability to work in the future. Determining the amount of benefits can be difficult, so it is important to speak with a Rhode Island workers’ comp lawyer for specific information regarding your unique case.