The Answers You Need for the Questions You’re Forced to Ask

One of the worst aspects of pursuing a case—whether you’re fighting for injury compensation or trying to settle a divorce—is not knowing what to expect. Before you get yourself knee deep in the details of your case allow us to answer some of your questions first. We’ll help you be more fully prepared and more confident as you move forward.

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  • What is the maximum amount of workers' compensation I can get?

    Injured employees often struggle after a work accident and need all of the insurance benefits they are entitled to in order to make ends meet. However, insurers will not have your best interests at heart, and you may need an attorney to help you recover the maximum payment allowed under the law. Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Attorney Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum

    Maximum Benefits Allowed Under Workers’ Compensation

    Rhode Island workers’ compensation law imposes a maximum limit on the amount of weekly benefits an employee can collect. The maximum rate changes every year and is set by the RI Department of Labor and Training. As of October 2020, the maximum rate is $1,304 per week.

    It’s important to note that your benefit amount could be affected by:

    The percentage of your average weekly wage (AWW).

    Your wage statement will be used to calculate the amount of your weekly compensation benefits. For scheduled injuries, workers are owed two-thirds of their AWW, but the percentage of AWW for unscheduled injuries may vary.

    Dependency benefits.

    Dependents of workers who are considered totally disabled due to a work injury may collect an additional $15 per dependent each week. However, the injured worker’s compensation rate plus the amount of dependency benefits cannot be more than 80% of the worker’s total AWW.

    Death benefits.

    If the work-related injury results in an employee’s death, surviving relatives may collect weekly payments of $40 per dependent in addition to the deceased employee’s weekly benefits. Weekly death benefits will be paid based on the greater of the worker’s wages at the time of death or the rate paid based on total incapacitation.

    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 Cranston 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.

     

  • Can I accrue paid vacation time while on workers’ comp?

    Most employees are not eligible to accrue paid time off (PTO) while receiving Rhode Island workers’ compensation benefits for temporary total disability (TTD). However, there is nothing preventing you from using your existing holiday pay, vacation hours, or other forms of PTO to supplement your benefits while out on workers’ compensation leave. Accruing vacation on workers' comp Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum

    Using Paid Time Off While On Workers' Comp

    The amount paid by workers’ compensation will be less than your usual paycheck, but you can use paid sick leave while drawing your weekly benefits. However, any sick time used will be subject to state and federal taxes, as well as any other deductions made in your normal paycheck.

    For example, injured workers could use PTO:

    During the waiting period.

    Rhode Island imposes a three-day waiting period before injured workers can begin drawing workers' compensation weekly benefits. Using three days of sick leave can be especially helpful in the first days after an injury.

    While recovering.

    After you are placed on workers' compensation leave, you may use PTO or sick leave to supplement your benefits. Keep in mind that your combined benefits and PTO cannot exceed your regular (pre-injury) base pay.

    When starting back at work.

    If you earn wages from your current employer while on workers’ compensation, you should accrue vacation hours at the same rate you normally would if you were working full-time. In addition, you will accrue PTO on any normal hours worked as you return to your former employment.

    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 Cranston 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.

     

  • When will my workers’ compensation benefits end?

    It is understandable that you want your workers’ compensation benefits to cover as much of your injury recovery as possible. Under Rhode Island workers' compensation laws, you may be entitled to receive benefits for a few weeks, several years, or the rest of your life depending on the type and extent of your injury.

    Your Injury Determines Your Workers’ Compensation Benefit Period 

    Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Lawyers Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum

    When you file for workers’ compensation, the category of your payments and the amount you receive will change as your injury progresses. In the first phase of your workers’ compensation, you will receive payments for temporary total disability (TTD). You are considered completely unable to work during your recovery, but benefits will end once your doctor clears you to return to work.

    However, if you reach maximum medical improvement but still cannot work due to complications from the injury, your benefits may continue as:

    Scheduled permanent disability.

    If your injury is listed on the state workers’ compensation injury schedule, you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly wages for the number of weeks corresponding to the injury.

    Non-scheduled permanent disability.

    If your injury is not listed on the state workers’ compensation injury schedule, you may collect a percentage of your average weekly wages for up to 312 weeks. If your injury involves permanent disfigurement, your benefits may continue for up to 500 weeks.

    Total permanent disability.

    If your injury has left you permanently and completely unable to work, you may be entitled to permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. These benefits continue indefinitely as long as you continue to meet the disability qualifications. However, you will likely need a lawyer to prove the extent of your injuries and how they prevent you from earning a living.

    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 Cranston 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.

     

  • How long do I have to notify my employer of a work injury?

    It is always best to report an injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible. However, there may be circumstances that make it difficult or impossible for an employee to report an injury on the same day (such as if a worker is unconscious after an accident and rushed to the hospital). For this reason, Rhode Island workers' compensation laws give employees 30 days to report a work-related injury. Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Lawyers Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum

    Reasons Why People Delay Notifying an Employer of an On-the-Job Injury

    There are many reasons people delay notification about an on-the-job injury or choose not to notify their employer at all. These include:

    Being concerned about losing your job.

    Some employees put off making an official accident report because they fear retaliation. But it’s illegal for anyone at your workplace to discriminate against you for seeking rightful workers’ compensation.

    Believing your injury isn’t serious.

    Always report an accident, even if you think you are not seriously hurt. By making a record of the incident, you will make it harder for an employer or insurance company to argue that you were injured away from the workplace.

    Being unable to return to the job site.

    You don’t have to personally deliver an incident report or fill out the report at the place of work. Notice may be given in person or in writing by a third party such as your doctor or spouse.

    Being anxious about making a mistake.

    You can keep your notification short and simple, noting the date and time of the accident and the people present. If you report the incident verbally, make sure a reliable witness is present.

    It’s important to note that there are many different deadlines involved in filing a workers' compensation claim. You only have a month to notify an employer of your injury, but you have up to two years to file a workers’ compensation claim. 

    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 Cranston 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.

     

  • How much does it cost to file a workers' compensation claim?

    It is free to file a workers' compensation claim, and you should do it as soon as possible after an injury on the job. However, if your company is disputing your claim, you are out of work for a significant period of time, or you think you may not be able to go back to work at all, you may need to hire an attorney. A lawyer may charge fees to pursue your claim, but the amount you can recover can vastly outweigh the amount of these fees. Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Lawyer Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum

    Costs of Workers' Compensation Claims With an Attorney

    Many people who are fighting to get payment for work injuries do not have the money to hire a lawyer. That is why it won’t cost you anything up front to engage our Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorneys. Additionally, it won’t cost anything to learn your legal options, as our initial consultations are free. If we think you can resolve the case on your own, we will tell you so without charging for the information.

    While every case is different, the amount you will pay depends on a number of factors such as:

    How long it takes to resolve the claim.

    Some people will receive their benefits fairly quickly and with little resistance from an employer once they retain an attorney. The more complex the case, the less likely it is that you’ll get a quick resolution.

    The amount of benefits you are awarded.

    Our contingency fee is taken as a percentage of your total settlement or financial award, plus any expenses we incurred to handle your claim.

    The amount of legal expenses.

    We advance all of the costs of negotiating a settlement or arguing your case before your state's workers' compensation board, and these are reimbursed only after your case is won.

    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 Cranston 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.

     

  • Can I Lose My Job if I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

    It is against the law for an employer to fire an employee because that employee filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. It would be considered a retaliatory discharge if that were to happen. Unfortunately. the reality is that it would be difficult to prove that the termination was based upon retaliation.

    Fortunately, under RI laws, an employee who has sustained a compensable injury will have job protection for a period of one (1) year after the date of injury.To state is another way, an employee has a right to be reinstated to his or her former position if the employee is capable of returning to work within 1 year of the date he or she was injured. However, the criteria is that the employee must not be disabled in any way from performing his or her job duties.  In addition, the employee’s former position must still exit and be available. The employee must make a written demand for reinstatement. If the employee remains out of work for over 1 year, the employee no longer has a right to reinstatement. This does not always mean that the employee does not have a job to go back to; instead, it is up to the employer whether or not they want to take back the employee.

    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 Cranston 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.

  • Will being intoxicated when I got hurt at work impact my workers’ comp claim?

    In most cases, a worker who is impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance at the time of injury will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, there may be cases where claims involving alcohol or medication use can be unfairly denied. 

    Workers' Comp Lawyer Rhode Island Kirshenbaum and Kirshenbaum

    How Intoxication Affects a Workers’ Compensation Claim

    Rhode Island workers’ compensation law states, “No compensation shall be allowed for the injury or death of an employee… where it is proved that his or her injury or death resulted from his or her intoxication or unlawful use of controlled substances.” While it makes sense that employers would not want to cover the costs of an injury that was the employee’s fault, there are circumstances where impairment may be used to unfairly deny the claim.

    Your work injury may be covered depending on:

    The amount of alcohol in your system.

    Even if alcohol was detected in your system, it does not mean that you were impaired—or that the impairment led to your injury.

    Whether the employer provided the alcohol.

    If intoxication occurred with the permission or direction of the employer, such as at a mandatory work event, the injury may be covered.

    Whether you were impaired by prescription medications.

    If you were suffering from drowsiness, dizziness, or other side effects of a medication that you were legally prescribed, you likely still qualify for injury benefits.

    The type of injury you sustained.

    Intoxication may be a factor in sudden accidents but is less relevant in cases of occupational illness. For example, your alcohol habits have little bearing on whether you develop work-related breathing problems or a repetitive stress injury.

    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 Cranston 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.

     

  • Will workers’ compensation reimburse me for medical travel mileage?

    Injured employees who are collecting workers’ compensation to cover the costs of their medical care may not be getting all they are owed for a work injury. For example, workers’ compensation laws allow reimbursement for various travel expenses needed to undergo medical treatment. It’s important that you understand what you may be owed and how to keep track of what you spend to attend doctor appointments. Workers comp lawyer Rhode Island

    Reimbursable Travel Expenses Under Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Law

    Rhode Island law allows employees who have been injured on the job to recover “reasonable travel expenses” as part of their workers’ compensation benefits. Victims may be reimbursed for the cost of traveling from their home to all necessary doctor visits, physical therapy appointments, psychological counseling, and other treatment related to the injury. Workers’ comp may also cover travel to undergo vocational retraining or evaluation.

    Reimbursable travel expenses may include:

    Car mileage.

    Workers’ compensation pays a mileage rate of roughly 50 cents per mile for victims who drive to procure medical services. In order to make a claim for reimbursement, you should keep a log to note the miles traveled for each separate trip to appointments that are paid for or have been approved through workers’ compensation.

    Use of public or professional transportation.

    If you are unable to drive yourself, you may be entitled to reimbursement for bus fares, taxi fares, or the costs of a medical transportation company to take you to your necessary medical appointments.

    Parking and tolls.

    You should keep receipts for any parking fees or tolls you were forced to pay in order to get medical treatment for your injury.

    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 Cranston 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.

     

  • What is a work-related injury?

    There are many types of injuries covered by workers' compensation, but all of them have one thing in common: they are connected in some way to the victim's employment situation. However, employers and employees may have differing opinions on whether an injury can be considered “work-related.” The precise definition of “work-related” is important because it can affect eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. Rhode Island Work Injury Lawyer Kirshenbaum and Kirshenbaum

    Work-Related Injuries Under RI Workers Compensation Laws

    Under Rhode Island workers' compensation laws, the first qualification of a work-related injury is employment status. To collect benefits, you have to be an employee (rather than a day worker or independent contractor) who has suffered a compensable injury during the course of employment.

    An injury may be considered “in the course of employment” if it occurs:

    While on your regular shift.

    Many on-the-clock injuries are related to employment because the employee is at the workplace and performing regular job duties. However, off-the-clock injuries can also qualify for workers’ compensation.

    At the workplace.

    If you were not officially working at the time of the injury (such as on a lunch break), the injury may still qualify as work-related if it took place on company premises.

    On work-related travel.

    Workers’ compensation provides payment for accidents suffered by workers traveling in company vehicles, performing errands for an employer, or traveling for work.

    While at a company function.

    Accidents at any event sponsored by the employer such as a company picnic or holiday party can qualify an employee for injury benefits.

    As a result of your daily work activities.

    Cumulative injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome, psychological injuries, or occupational illnesses) can take years to develop from the nature of the work you perform. Workers’ compensation can provide coverage for these conditions, as well as for injuries that were caused or worsened by a preexisting condition during employment.

    While you were doing something on behalf of your employer.

    As long as your injury can be connected in some way to your employment, there is a good chance you will qualify for benefits.

    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 Cranston 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.

     

  • Can I get a second medical opinion if the company doctor says my injury was not work-related?

    Rhode Island workers’ compensation laws allow injured employees to select the medical provider of their choice for treatment of their injuries. However, if employees want to use a provider other than the one assigned by the employer, the costs may not be covered under workers’ compensation benefits—especially if the first doctor says that the injury was not sustained in the course of their work. Workers' comp injury and getting a second opinion

    What to Do If a Doctor Says Your Injury Was Not Work-Related

    You should know that your employer can compel you to attend an appointment with a medical provider to assess the nature of your injuries in the course of your workers’ compensation claim. However, that does not mean you have to treat with the employer’s physician for all of your injury care. If the employer’s chosen medical provider has said that the injury is not work-related, you have every right to select your own doctor for an impartial diagnosis.

    Employees may need a second medical opinion in cases involving:

    • Employer conflicts. If the doctor you are seeing relies on referrals from your employer, he may claim that you can return to work as soon as possible or that your injuries are not serious. This is a conflict of interest and warrants a second opinion.
    • Occupational illnesses. A doctor may have difficulty determining how much of your condition was caused by your lifestyle versus a hazard at work. For example, if you are a smoker and work in a factory that produces hazardous chemicals, your doctor may deem that your respiratory condition was caused by smoking rather than inhaling noxious fumes.
    • Previous injuries. A doctor may wrongly believe that your current injury was influenced by your previous medical history, or even that your injury is just a “flare up” of your condition and unrelated to your work. You may need to consult with a specialist to determine the link between prior and existing injuries.

    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 Cranston 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.