If your company has one or more employees, your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, some exemptions exist. If you’ve been injured, it’s important to understand how workers’ compensation works, the benefits it offers, and how to check if your employer is required to carry it.
Understanding Workers’ Comp
Employers have a responsibility to keep the work environment safe for employees. When there is an accident, workers’ compensation is designed to help injured workers pay for medical expenses and lost wages while they recover. While each state has different rules, workers’ comp insurance serves two main purposes:
- Providing coverage for injured workers who lose income and accrue medical bills after a work accident.
- Preventing lawsuits against employers from people who were injured on the job.
Workers’ Comp Provides Benefits
If you become injured on the job and are unable to return to work for at least three days, your benefits may begin on the fourth day after the injury. The types of benefits you may receive include:
- Medical payments. Workers’ compensation insurance will pay for any medical costs related to the work injury. Additionally, once a doctor determines that the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement, the worker is afforded 12 more doctor visits or another 60 days of care—whichever comes first.
- Partial disability. An injured worker who is not totally disabled will receive wages to compensate for lost time at work until he has reached maximum medical improvement and can return to work.
- Total disability. A worker who is totally incapacitated and unable to return to work permanently is eligible to receive 75 percent of his spendable base wage. Additional allowances may be made depending on history bonuses and commissions.
In addition, if an injured worker is killed in a work accident, workers’ comp also provides for surviving family members.
Employers should post their workers’ compensation insurance provider in a visible place at your workplace. If a company is found without workers’ compensation insurance, criminal charges, fines, and jail time could apply.
Companies Exempt from Carrying Workers’ Comp Insurance
Most employers must carry workers’ comp insurance, but some are exempt, including:
- Sole proprietors
- Independent contractors
- Partners of a company
Have You Been Injured On The Job In Rhode Island?
If you've been hurt at work you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help work injury victims in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.