If you have been injured at work, workers compensation insurance will cover most of your injuries but there are some exceptions to the rule.
Federal law requires all employers in all states, including Rhode Island, to provide workers compensation benefits to employees who have been injured while on the job. The laws and procedures may differ from one state to another so you might consider hiring a Providence workers compensation attorney if you’re having a hard time with your case.
Are You Eligible for Providence Workers Compensation Benefits?
You have to be an employee in order to qualify for workers compensation benefits. But if you are an interstate railroad worker or a crewmember on a vessel, you are not entitled to workers compensation. The federal law requires you to file a personal injury claim against your employer instead of receiving workers compensation.
Can You Receive Workers Compensation Benefits if you are an Independent Contractor?
Let’s first define who an employee is and who an independent contractor is. An independent contractor does not:
- Have taxes taken out of their pay
- Have a long term contract with their employer
- Use the employers tools
- Perform regular business for the employer
- Work under direction and control of the employer
An employee typically does all what has been mentioned above. They don’t have authority to control the details of the work done. An employer can tell an employee to follow specific instructions in order to complete a task.
Most independent contractors specialize in one area and are only called in when their expertise is needed. The employer will tell them what they want done but they won’t show them how to do it.
Does the Injury have to be the Employers Fault?
At Kevin P Landry, we are asked this question many times and we always answer it the same way…
It doesn’t matter if you were fully responsible for the accident because you will still receive workers’ compensation benefits. In other words, you are entitled to receive compensation regardless of whose fault it was. However, if you were intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when the accident happened, you might not receive compensation.
Can you File a Personal Injury Claim Against your Employer?
Unfortunately, you can’t. The workers’ compensation system was put in place to protect the employer from a lawsuit. But in some cases, there may be some exceptions. For instance, if the employer intentionally wanted to harm you, you can file a lawsuit seeking punitive damages.
What if your Accident Happened Outside the Work Place?
For you to receive Providence workers compensation, your accident doesn’t need to happen inside the building where you work. You can still get compensation if the accident happened while you were performing work related duties outside the building.
For instance, if you slipped and fell while going up the stairs to make a delivery, you can still get workers compensation benefits. You can also get compensation if you were injured at a work related meeting that wasn’t in your employer’s premises.
Are Your Injuries Covered by Workers Compensation?
If you suffer injuries while performing non-work related activities, you won’t be covered by workers compensation. For instance, if you went on a business trip and you were injured while jet skiing or bungee jumping, you cannot claim workers compensation benefits because you were injured doing something unrelated to your work. So not all injuries that occur while you are at work will be covered by workers compensation.
What if Your Employer Does Not Have Workers Compensation Insurance?
All employers are required by the federal government to have workers’ compensation insurance or be self-insured. If your employer is not fully self-insured or does not have insurance, you have two options:
- Report them for not having workers compensation coverage or file a workers compensation claim with the states special fund for handling uninsured workers compensation claims. You will need to talk to a Providence workers compensation attorney to find out the best option here.
- File a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. This is usually one of the many exceptions to the rule that you are not sue your employer for a work related injury.
It’s generally a good idea to talk to an attorney about your situation if you get hurt at work and your employer tells you they don’t have workers compensation coverage.
What Types of Benefits do Workers Compensation Laws Provide?
You can receive the following types of benefits under workers compensation laws:
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Payment of medical treatment
- Permanent impairment benefits
- Weekly compensation benefits
Unfortunately, with workers compensation, you can’t get compensation for pain and suffering like you would in a personal injury lawsuit. Workers compensation laws are generally income protection laws. You will receive benefits because of your inability to work.
If pain prevents you from going back to work, then you are entitled to receive weekly compensation. We recently wrote a post explaining the difference between a personal injury lawsuit and workers compensation claim.
For the weekly compensation benefits, the length of the benefits will depend on whether your injury rendered you disabled permanently or temporarily or whether it is total or partial disability. There is no time limit for receiving permanent disability benefits but there is a time limit for receiving temporary disability benefits.
We Are Here to Help
The laws designed to protect people who are injured at work are sometimes difficult to understand. We also know that some employers want to get around paying workers compensation by frustrating their employees. That’s why we are here to ensure that you get sufficient funds for lost wages and medical bills. We will ask you to:
- Describe what happened
- Find out your current and due costs of medical treatment
- Answer your questions of workers compensation law
- Walk you through the process of filing your claim and getting paid your benefits
Contact our team of expert Providence workers compensation lawyers by dialing 401-751-0101 or by visiting our Providence offices today. Get the compensation that you deserve today.