When you are hurt on the job in Rhode Island, you should be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This requires making a workers’ compensation claim, which can help pay for your medical bills and cover a percentage of your wages.
Of course, you need to know how to file a worker’s compensation claim in order to secure these benefits. The best thing to do is to get help from an experienced, caring, and knowledgeable lawyer at Gemma Law Associates, Inc., as soon as possible after your work injury. Call us toll-free or submit our online form to learn more.
To give you an idea of what an attorney from our firm can do for you, it’s important to understand the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
You Must Notify Your Employer
In Rhode Island, the first step in the claims process is to notify your employer of your injury in a timely manner. The employer must receive the notice within 30 days after the injury occurs. If you wait too long, you may not be eligible to make a claim. An attorney can help to ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines, including giving notice of your injury.
Your Employer Must File the First Report of Injury Form
After you provide notice of your injury, your employer must take the next step. The employer must file a First Report of Injury Form (DWC-01). Employers are required by law to submit this form to the Department of Labor and Training within 10 days after an employee has suffered an injury that necessitates three or more missed workdays or that results in the need for medical treatment.
For fatal injuries, the First Report should be made within 48 hours.
Workers’ Compensation Insurers Review the Claim
When the insurer receives notice from an employer that an on-the-job injury has occurred, a claims adjuster will review the case to decide whether to approve or deny workers’ compensation benefits.
The insurer can accept the claim and pay full benefits by filing a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Labor, thereby accepting responsibility.
The insurer can also deny a claim or can pay benefits on a temporary basis for up to 13 weeks while the company further investigates. If the insurer agrees to pay but doesn’t accept that the worker is definitely covered, then the insurer will file a Non-Prejudicial Agreement with the Department of Labor.
If the insurance company accepts responsibility and acknowledges that you are covered, you will continue to receive benefits on an ongoing basis. These benefits will include the payment of all of the medical bills that you incur to treat your workplace injury.
You will need to provide proof of your prior wages if you are to receive lost wages or disability benefits. Sometimes a dispute can arise over the total value of your prior wages.
If this is the case, a workers’ compensation attorney can help you to ensure that all of your income and benefits are counted so you do not get less than you deserve.
A Workers’ Compensation Hearing Can Help Resolve Problems
If your employer doesn’t follow through with making a claim after you report your injury, or if you are not paid any of the benefits that you are owed or your claim is unfairly denied, an appeal to the Division of Workers’ Compensation may be necessary.
This appeals process begins with asking for a further review of your case in a benefits hearing. At the hearing, the employer and insurer are sure to have experts on their side presenting information and trying to prove why you shouldn’t get benefits.
You don’t want to handle a denied claim on your own, especially since workers’ compensation is the only way to get benefits from an employer for a workplace injury. (You cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer even though you may be able to take action against a non-employer third party).
There is a lot at stake in a workers’ compensation claim. You need to give yourself the best chance of getting benefits. A caring, dedicated workers’ compensation lawyer at Gemma Law can give you that chance.
A Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help at Every Step
Remember, as soon as you have suffered a workplace injury, there are three things you need to do:
- Get medical help – You can choose your doctor, but you need to see one and you need proof that your injuries really happened and are work-related.
- Report your injury – Remember, you have only 30 days to report your injury to your employer to protect your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
- Get a lawyer – You don’t have to handle the stress of a workers’ compensation claim on your own. Your attorney will keep things moving forward and will take care of the paperwork, appeals, benefits disputes and any problems that arise.
At Gemma Law Associates, Inc., we have decades of experience helping clients with workers’ compensation claims. We know all of the tricks, tactics and delays used by insurers, and we are ready to resolve the problems with your claim so you can be paid what you need as soon as possible.
Don’t hesitate to get help for your workers’ compensation case from legal professionals who care about you and who understand how important your claim is to you. Give the Rhode Island workers’ compensation lawyers at Gemma Law Associates, Inc., a call today to learn how we can help you. You can also submit our online form. Our initial consultations are free and confidential.