Rhode Island workers who suffer work-related injuries have the right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits in most instances. Workers’ compensation or “workers’ comp” covers a broad range of injuries and work-related illnesses, and it handles items like medical care, lost wages and even disability in some cases.
To access these benefits, an injured worker must take steps to begin the process – and stay informed about the process and the benefits available. Here are 5 things you should know about workers’ compensation in Rhode Island:
Report your injury promptly in order to protect your rights.
As soon as you realize your injury or work-related illness has occurred or that it is related to work, report it to your employer. This starts the workers’ comp process. Your employer may ask you to fill out some paperwork or give you printed information about your workers’ compensation rights. Read this information carefully.
You can go to your own doctor or preferred emergency room for your initial treatment.
To get emergency care or to have an injury or illness treated, you may see your own doctor or go to your preferred emergency care department. You do not have to wait for your employer to recommend or assign a healthcare provider for your work-related injury.If you decide to change doctors, however, make sure the new doctor is in your employer’s or workers’ compensation insurer’s Preferred Provider Network (PPN). If the doctor is not in the network, the treatment might not be covered by workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation may provide a number of benefits.
Rhode Island has a waiting period for workers’ comp benefits. These benefits are not paid for the first three days you are out of work. After this period, benefits may be available to cover medical treatment, a portion of your lost wages, compensation for scarring or disfigurement, physical and vocational rehabilitation benefits, and death benefits.
Weekly benefits are calculated based on your recent earnings.
If you qualify for benefits to cover lost wages, you’ll be asked to fill out a wage statement and send it to the insurer. The insurer will calculate your average gross and net pay over a number of weeks, then calculate your weekly benefits based on these numbers. You may receive 75 percent of the “spendable base wage” (about what your net pay is) up to a maximum cap set by law.
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance.
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that employers purchase to protect their employees in case of on the job injuries. A few large employers are self-insured for workers’ compensation purposes. In most cases, you will work both with your employer and your employers’ workers’ compensation insurer to make sure your needs are covered. Your attorney can help by managing these communications so you can focus on healing.
If you’ve been injured on the job in Rhode Island, you may have the right to workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries, as well as options for pursuing compensation from a third party whose negligence contributed to your injury. You may also be entitled to Social Security disability benefits.
At Marasco & Nesselbush, our attorneys leave no stone unturned in our clients’ workplace injury cases. If you have been hurt at work, get help from an experienced Rhode Island personal injury attorney. Call Marasco & Nesselbush at 855-801-6262 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket to easily serve you.