Total disability

Total disability provides benefits if the worker is physically incapable of earning any wages for the period of their coverage.

Under most circumstances, workers who were recently injured could be entitled to benefits of up to 62% of their average weekly wage. However, benefits are not disbursed immediately, and employees may have to wait to receive compensation.

Coverage Can Kick in Quickly, but Your Benefits Could Be Renegotiated

Workers’ compensation can begin disbursing benefits within four days of the date of injury, with the first payment typically sent within two weeks. However, compensation offers differ in their characteristics. In general, there are two types of workers’ compensation agreements: memorandum of agreement and non-prejudicial agreement.

Memorandum of Agreement

A workers’ compensation insurance company can offer injured employees a memorandum of agreement, which documents its acceptance of liability for an injured workers’ claim. The memorandum of agreement describes the injury, the worker’s weekly wage, and the accepted compensation rate and disability status.

The benefits provided by a memorandum of agreement cannot be stopped without the consent of the worker. Under certain, limited circumstances, a court may also issue an order to cease further payments.

Non-Prejudicial Agreement

A non-prejudicial agreement allows the insurance company to initiate weekly payments without accepting legal liability for the claimed injury. If a non-prejudicial agreement is accepted, the insurer may provide benefits for up to 13 weeks.

Unlike a memorandum of agreement, the non-prejudicial agreement permits the insurance company to stop payments at any time within the 13-week period for any reason.

If the company continues to pay benefits beyond the initial 13-week period, the insurance company has—in effect—accepted and established legal liability for the injury and may be obligated to continue disbursing benefits.

The Importance of Filing a Timely Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you are injured at work or become ill on the job, you should immediately notify your employer of your condition. Your employer must inform their workers’ compensation insurance company if your injury causes you to miss more than three consecutive days of work. Once the claim has been initiated, the insurer will file a First Report of Injury to begin collecting documentation of your injuries and disbursing benefits.

However, even though Rhode Island’s no-fault workers’ compensation system provides injured employees with the means to obtain compensation for lost wages, disability, and medical benefits, insurance companies are not always willing to honor good-faith claims.

How an Adjuster Could Try to Undermine Your Claim

  • Interviewing your coworkers and neighbors
  • Sending an investigator to follow you
  • Pressuring you to find a new job, so they no longer have to provide benefits

You may also be asked to fill out time-sensitive paperwork—paperwork that is riddled with legal jargon and can be difficult even for lawyers to decipher. If you make even a minor mistake when filing a workers’ compensation claim, your benefits could be delayed.

Christopher L. Russo
Helping Rhode Island personal injury victims for nearly three decades to get the compensation they deserve.