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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  • 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

    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.

     

  • Can I sue a coworker for negligence?

    Workers' compensation laws create an "exclusive remedy" for employees to recover damages from an employer after an accident at work. Thus, an injured worker may not make a negligence claim against his or her employer or any fellow employee engaged by the same employer—even if an employer or coworker’s negligence caused the injury. However, employees who collect workers’ compensation benefits may be eligible to file an injury claim against a negligent third party. Suing a coworker for injury

    Parties That May Be Sued After a Work Injury

    While employees can collect payment for medical treatment and disability through workers’ compensation, these benefits may not be enough to cover the full cost of their injuries. A third-party claim allows an injured worker to recover medical expenses and lost wages, along with pain and suffering damages to cover the full costs of a severe injury.

    Other than an employer or co-worker, employees can file a lawsuit against any negligent individual or company such as:

    • Independent contractors. If an employee was injured by a coworker who is classified as an independent contractor or who works for a different employer, the workers’ compensation exclusive remedy provision does not apply.
    • At-fault drivers. If an employee is injured in a car accident while performing work duties, he or she can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
    • Manufacturers. Workers who are hurt due to a defective piece of equipment may sue the product’s manufacturer for negligence.
    • Contractors. If an employee is injured while working on a construction site, he or she may have a claim against the general contractor or a sub-contractor.
    • Property owners. If the injury was caused by a defective condition on the property, the owner of the land, building owner, or the company responsible for maintenance may be sued for negligence.

    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.

     

  • Are part-time employees eligible for workers’ compensation?

    In Rhode Island, employees are eligible for workers’ compensation even if they do not work a standard 40-hour workweek. A part-time employee (someone who typically works less than 20 hours per week) is owed the full amount of necessary medical payment for his injuries, as well as a living accommodation based on his Average Weekly Wage (AWW). Workers' comp for part-time employees

    Workers’ Compensation Considerations for Part-Time Workers

    To calculate an injured part-time worker’s AWW, insurers are required to calculate earnings for the 26 consecutive weeks prior to the date of incapacity (not including the week of injury or the week of hire). If an employee works multiple part-time jobs, the AWW will be calculated based on wages earned from all employers for 26 weeks prior to injury.

    Although wage calculations may differ slightly for other types of employees, being a part-time worker does not affect eligibility for workers’ compensation. In general, you will qualify for medical and wage loss benefits through workers’ compensation if you:

    • Are an employee. As long as you are considered an employee rather than an independent contractor, it does not matter whether you are a full-time, part-time, or seasonal worker.
    • Were injured in the scope of employment. Only injuries that have been sustained “in the course and scope of employment” will be covered by workers’ compensation. This can include a wide range of occupational injuries such as a sudden accident, repeated physical strain or trauma, or an illness caused by the conditions of the work environment.
    • Have been out of work for at least three days. The Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Act states that an insurer does not have to pay any wage losses for the first three consecutive days post-injury. However, the insurer is still liable for any medical expenses related to the injury incurred on those days.

    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.

     

  • I was hurt during my break, in the lunchroom, or at a company picnic. Could I have a workers’ comp claim?

    workers' compensation for injuries occuring on breakAn employer’s insurance company is compelled to cover any employee injuries that happen in the normal course of the workday. However, it may also be liable for injuries that are not so straightforward, such as when an employee is on a break, drinking alcohol, or miles away from the workplace.

    Workers’ Compensation for Injuries Outside of Normal Working Hours

    Rhode Island laws generally allow employees to collect workers’ compensation for any injuries suffered “in the course of employment.” This definition is extremely broad and allows for the majority of injuries to qualify for medical costs and lost wages as long as there is a causal link between employment and injury. 

    For example, employees may be owed workers’ compensation for injuries that were sustained:

    • On the employer’s premises. An injury on a lunch break may be considered work-related if it happens on employer-owned grounds (such as in a dedicated break room or cafeteria).
    • In close proximity to the job site. While an employee’s daily commute is usually not covered by workers’ compensation, workers may collect benefits if they are hurt while walking into or out of the workplace. If you were injured just before or just after your shift (such as in the parking lot or sidewalk), you are likely still covered.
    • At a work-sponsored event. In many cases, employee intoxication is an exception to workers’ compensation coverage. However, if alcohol was provided by the employer—such as at a party, mandatory work event, or lunch with a client at a restaurant—the employer may be liable for the costs of injury despite the worker’s intoxication.
    • Over several months or years. If a stroke, heart attack, or panic attack occurred on your day off, you may still collect workers’ compensation if your job contributed to high stress levels, anxiety, or physical and mental exhaustion.
    • While not fully released from job duties. Even if you had clocked out and were away from the worksite, you may be covered for an injury if you were picking up lunch for others or running an errand for the employer (such as buying additional supplies on a busy day) while on your own lunch break.

    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 workers’ comp for a pre-existing condition that was aggravated at work?

    It is not uncommon for a worker with a pre-existing injury to be reinjured due to an incident on the job. When this happens, Rhode Island laws allow employees to collect workers’ compensation for a pre-existing injury that has been accelerated or aggravated by workplace conditions. However, these claims tend to be more complicated than others because it may be difficult to separate the previous condition from the current injury. Workers' comp for a pre-existing condition

    Pre-Existing Injuries That May Qualify for Workers’ Comp

    Insurance companies that provide workers’ compensation benefits will not want to cover an injury if the employer is not liable. For this reason, the insurer may deny coverage if there is more than one cause of injury, forcing the employee to prove that an injury is work-related in order to receive benefits.

    Rhode Island workers’ compensation laws allow employees to recover benefits for prior injuries in the following cases:

    • An aggravated injury to an impaired part of the body. If you previously suffered a back injury, ankle sprain, broken bone, or other injury before employment, workers’ compensation will not cover treatment for that injury. However, if the injury was made worse as a result your current employment, you may be able to collect benefits to treat the aggravation.
    • A re-injury. If you injured a part of your body and collected benefits for that injury through your current employer and then re-injure the same part of your body, the second injury is still covered by workers’ compensation. You should be covered for the full amount of your new medical costs, but your previous awards may be used when calculating the financial amount you receive.
    • Illnesses and diseases. Some employees are more at risk of certain illnesses from environmental hazards such as employees with severe allergies. Employees may have a claim for workers’ compensation if workplace hazards caused a flare-up of symptoms or made the extent of the condition worse.

    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 happens to my workers’ comp benefits if my insurance provider goes bankrupt?

    Although most injured employees eventually return to work, the workers’ compensation system provides benefits that could potentially last for the rest of an employee’s life. If your benefits suddenly stop because the insurance company is no longer in business, you still have options. Talking with a workers’ compensation attorney about those options is beneficial for continuing compensation. Workers' comp when the insurer goes bankrupt

    Collecting Workers’ Comp After an Insurer Goes Bankrupt

    Employees who are receiving permanent partial disability benefits can be forced into serious physical and financial difficulties if an insurer can no longer provide benefits. If your workers' compensation benefits have been suspended due to bankruptcy, you can seek payment through:

    • A new insurance provider. According to the law, it is your employer’s responsibility to secure workers’ compensation insurance. If your old insurer has gone out of business, it is the employer’s duty to secure a new policy or self-insure, meaning the company itself would be liable for your injury payments.
    • Your employer. If your employer has allowed insurance to lapse and has not secured a new policy, employees can sue the employer directly to recover the costs of an injury. If the employer and insurer have both filed for bankruptcy, employees can seek compensation from the Uninsured Protection Fund.
    • The Uninsured Protection Fund. In March, Rhode Island lawmakers passed an amendment to the Rhode Island Uninsured Protection Fund (UPF) guaranteeing injury payments for employees of uninsured employers. The fund provides payment for disability (incapacity) and reimburses the employee for any court costs needed to pursue the case. However, the UPF does not pay for past or future medical expenses, loss of function, or disfigurement.

    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.