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Seeking Compensation For Your Rhode Island Work-Related Injury

If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Each state has different laws on what type of benefits you’re entitled to receive and specifics about the process. In this article, we’ll examine Rhode Island’s process for workers comp benefits.

Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Laws

Injuries to employees are covered under the Workers Compensation Act (§ 28-29-1). Under this law, any employer who has one or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance covers employees injured on the job and ensure they’re able to collect benefits as a result of work-related injuries or illnesses.

There are a few exceptions to who must carry workers comp insurance, though. These include but aren’t limited to: 

  • Agricultural employees
  • Some real estate agents
  • Domestic service employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Partners

Federal employees, along with firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other municipal employees, are covered under different compensation programs.

What to Do When You’re Injured at Work

Your first step after sustaining a work-related injury is to report the incident to your employer. Many employers have injury-reporting procedures in place to protect both you and the company following an injury.

After reporting the injury to your employer, seek medical attention. Even if you think the injury is minor, it’s important to be seen by a doctor. It’s not uncommon for symptoms to be delayed for hours or even days following your accident. Getting prompt medical attention ensures you have the documentation necessary to pursue a workers’ compensation claim if necessary.

If the injury prohibits you from working and earning a wage for a minimum of three consecutive days, or the injury requires medical treatment, your employer is required to file a form with the Rhode Island Division of Workers’ Compensation. This form is typically filled out within 10 days of your injury or a medical diagnosis.

Workers’ compensation benefits typically begin on the fourth day, though it could take a few weeks for your insurance company to decide whether they accept or deny your claim.

Acceptance of Claim

If your claim is accepted, you’re entitled to receive workers comp benefits. The exact amount you’re entitled depends on a number of factors, including the severity of your injury and your ability to work. If you’re unable to work at all, the benefit is typically 75 percent of your net base wage.

In addition to lost wages, you may be entitled to benefits that cover medical treatment pertaining to your injury, including:

  • Doctor appointments
  • Hospital bills
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Surgeries
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Prescription medications
  • Medical devices
  • Medical equipment
  • Mileage reimbursement for travel to and from medical treatments

Rhode Island caps the maximum disability insurance an injured Rhode Island worker can receive. This amount is adjusted annually.

If you’re able to return to work on a limited-duty basis, you may be entitled to collect partial disability benefits.  Our skilled Rhode Island workers’ comp attorneys will help you understand how much you’re entitled to.

Choosing a Medical Provider

Rhode Island’s workers’ comp laws allow you to choose your first medical care provider, following your work-related injury. If you received emergency treatment immediately following your incident, the treating physician is not considered your first medical provider. However, if at some point during your treatment you wish to change your treating physician, you need to find out if the insurance company requires you to choose a provider from an approved list.

If your treating physician refers you to a specialist for treatment, you do not need prior approval from the insurance company.

Denial of Claim

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an employer or their insurance company to deny an injured worker’s claim. If this happens, you can file a petition for a hearing with the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court. Both parties will present their case to a workers’ compensation judge, who will then issue a decision. If that decision is in favor of the insurance company, you can file an appeal with the Appellate Division.

Contact a Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Assistance

Workers’ comp cases are some of the most challenging, especially if you attempt to navigate the process alone. Insurance companies are notorious for denying claims or prolonging the time it takes to pay you what you’re entitled to.

If you have been injured at work or diagnosed with an occupational illness, you need an experienced attorney on your side. We’ll help you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact Kirshenbaum Law Associates at 401-467-5300, or fill out of our form.

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