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Workers' Compensation Archives

Workers' Compensation - Hospital Workers - High Risk

Workers' compensation benefits applies to injured hospital workers as it does to all work related injuries. Working in a hospital presents a high risk of injury for its workers. A study done in 2011 indicated that working in a hospital caused its workers to suffer injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work higher than any other field or profession including construction, manufacturing, private industry and professional and business services.

Workers' Compensation - Preexisting Injuries

If you are injured in a work incident in Rhode Island and the insurer or your employer denies your claim on the basis that you have a preexisting condition or injury, you may still be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. If a doctor deems that the incident aggravated a preexisting condition, you are entitled to compensation. This is especially important to those many people who have preexisting back pain and other ailments.

When Should I Settle My Workers' Compensation Case?

Every case is different but, in general, the best time to settle your Rhode Island Workers' Compensation case is when the case can't do anything more for you. To illustrate what I mean by that, I will use the example of a case that I recently settled. The employee was 24 years old when he injured his low back moving heavy equipment during the course of his employment as a laborer. Because of his young age he followed a conservative treatment plan and tried to avoid surgery for as long as possible, however he ended up having a low back fusion. The insurer paid for multiple MRIs, chiropractic treatment, pain management specialists, consultations with three different neurosurgeons, multiple rounds of physical therapy and ultimately the surgery.

Workers' Compensation - What is a Pretrial Conference?

In Rhode Island, the Pretrial Conference would be your first appearance at the Workers' Compensation Court. To get to a Pretrial Conference, one party (either the employee or the employer) must file a Petition. The Petition could be seeking to establish liability and get your weekly benefits started or it could be seeking approval for an MRI or surgery. Alternatively, it could be seeking a termination or reduction of your weekly check. If you are receiving workers' compensation benefits and you receive a Notice of Pretrial Conference summoning you to attend, you should call an attorney immediately, if you don't have one already. If you do have one, then you should call your attorney to make sure he or she received the Notice. That way you can be sure that your attorney will be there to represent you before the Judge.

"I just got hurt at work, what do I do now?"

If it is an emergency, get medical attention immediately. If it is not an emergency and you are able, tell someone from your job (preferably your supervisor) that you got hurt. In the cases of occupational injuries which develop over time and not in one specific incident, that might not be feasible because you will not know the exact moment in time that you got hurt. Instead, as soon as you know that you have an injury, tell your employer. Notice to your employer can be crucial in workers' compensation cases.

How long will my RI Workers' Compensation case take?

The answer to this question is the one that everyone hates to hear - "it depends." While you might want a more concrete answer so that you can wrap your head around this process and know what to expect, no two cases are alike. In fact, what determines how long your workers' compensation case will take is you or, more specifically, your body.

What is my Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Case worth?

If you are looking to settle your worker's compensation case and you want to receive the most that you can, it is crucial that you know what your case is worth. Each case is different and should be evaluated based on a number of factors, including: the extent of your injuries, the extent of your disability, whether your disability is permanent, the length of time you have been out of work, the length of time you are expected to be out of work in the future, the likelihood of your return to your regular occupation and whether you will need some training to switch careers, the medical treatment you have received, the medical treatment you will need in the future, and the amount of your weekly workers' compensation check.

The "Independent" Medical Exam

Here is the scenario: You have been out on Workers' Comp for 6 months and you have gone through physical therapy and all the other conservative measures that can be taken to rehabilitate your injury. Despite your efforts, there has been no improvement and your Doctor says the only other option is surgery. The Doctor writes to the insurance company for approval and you get a call from the insurance company suggesting that you go to another doctor for a "second opinion". A short time later you get a letter in the mail saying that you have an appointment with a doctor you have never heard of for an "Independent Medical Examination" (IME).

Workers' Compensation - Unknown Victims of Catastrophic Injuries

A catastrophic injury that occurs at work, such as the recent case in Rhode Island where a worker died after a 70 foot fall from the Mt. Hope Bridge in Bristol, can have a wide number of implications. One incident can involve Workers' Compensation benefits, Third Party Liability, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Violations, and more. However, one thing that many people may not realize at the time is the effect that witnessing a catastrophic incident can have on co-workers.

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