ROB LEVINE, THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER
INJURED? CALL THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACCIDENT LAWYER NOW FOR A FREE CASE EVALUATION - NO FEES UNTIL YOU WIN
Workers’ Compensation was created by the legislature requiring that employers carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees who are injured while at work. If you were injured at work, acting within the scope of your employment regardless if you are at fault or your employer was negligent, you are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Benefits include: medical bills, a percentage of your lost wages, payment for scarring, payment for a permenant, rateable injury. There is no pain and suffering component to workers’ compensation. Every employee who is injured at work, should always have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. You never pay an attorney out of pocket. The attorney is paid when the insurance company makes a mistake. A judge orders the insurane company to pay the attorney’s fee. If you have a permenant injury, cannot return to work, and settle your case, the attorney is paid 25% of the settlement-no out of pocket costs to you. For a free consultation, call us today, knowing you’ll never have any out of pocket costs.
Rob Levine and Associates handles workers’ compensation cases throughout Providence, Rhode Island; Boston and Fall River, Massachusetts; and Hartford, Connecticut.
WHAT TO DO WHEN AN ACCIDENT HAPPENS AT WORK
When you are working and suffer any form of injury, the most important thing to do is document it with your employer. You should immediately stop what you are doing and see your supervisor or human resources department and report the incident. Make sure to complete a written statement describing what happened and retain a copy for your records. If there was a witness to the incident, make sure to get that person’s name and include it in your report. If you can, have that person provide a statement as well. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words if there is anything you can document with photographic evidence, take pictures with your cell phone camera.
If you are injured, get medical treatment immediately – do not delay. Make sure to tell the medical provider that this is a work-related injury and how the injury happened. If your employer tells you to go to urgent care or hospital to seek treatment and not report it as a work-related injury, do not do this. If you do, your first medical record documenting the injury will conflict with what happened. If your employer later denies you were not injured at work, your medical record will have conflicting information. Do not use your health insurance have them bill the workers’ compensation insurance. Always document truthfully and honestly.
Call us immediately so we can take care of everything for you.
WHAT QUALIFIES AS WORKERS COMPENSATION?
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must be:
Injured during the course of your employment acting within the scope of your employment. Generally speaking, working is defined as having punched into work during your workday. Under the portal-to-portal act, if you were driving to or from work, you are not covered. However, there are many exceptions to the general rule. If your employer has custody and control over the parking lot that you use for work and you are hit by a car crossing the street, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Also, if you are required to take a vehicle home from work because you respond to work-related calls, you would be covered to and from work. If you leave work on a lunch break and punch out at 12 noon to go to McDonald’s, and are injured on your way to lunch, generally, you would not be covered.
“In the scope of your employment” means you are acting within the duties that define your job or within reasonable conduction of your business. For example, if you are a beer distributor, and you sit down on a stool at the bar to complete paperwork from the delivery and speak to the bartender, and become injured, that is considered within the scope of your employment. On the other hand, if you sat for an hour, flirting with the bartender, drinking, and fell off the barstool, you would be considered to be on a frolic and acting outside the scope of your employment. Your employer would argue that you acted outside the scope and are not entitled to benefits.
Am I entitled to benefits when the injury is my own fault or my employer is negligent? Generally speaking, if you are at fault, not a result of an intentional act or alcohol or drugs, you would be entitled to benefits. For example, if you are a meat cutter at a deli and a sign hanging on the wall says “do not cut meat without a slicing protector in place”, you remove the protector and slice your finger off, you would still be entitled to benefits. If your employer is at fault for your injuries, due to their negligence, you would certainly be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if you worked for ABC Dining and you go to the bathroom and slip and fall on broken tile on the floor, which your employer knew about and ABC Dining owns the building, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits, but you are not entitled to bring a personal injury claim against your employer against negligence.
GET THE WORK COMP PROCESS STARTED IMMEDIATELY
After you have received medical attention, call our office so we can get started on your case immediately. You can come to one of our offices or we will come to you, whether you are at home, work, or in the hospital. We will track down and take statements from the witness and get all the documentation from the Department of Labor. Do not delay; it is critical that we get started immediately. If you need help now, call now, and we will see you today.
WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR?
If you are injured and have missed at least three consecutive days of work in RI, then you are entitled to a percentage of your lost wages. In order to calculate the amount of wages you will receive, the employer calculates the average earnings of 13 weeks. A separate calculation is done for your last 52 weeks of employment for any bonuses or overtime received. This becomes your average weekly wage. You then multiply that average weekly wage by 75% to calculate the compensation rate.
Regardless of whether you missed time out of work or not, if you are injured at work, you are entitled to have all of your medical bills paid that are related and medically necessary. If you have a scarring claim, you will be compensated for the scar. If you have a permanent injury, you will be compensated for the permanent condition based on your doctor’s rating of the injury. It is our job to ensure you get every benefit you are entitled to under the Workers’ Compensation Act, both quickly and efficiently.
WHEN DO I HAVE A THIRD PARTY CLAIM AS WELL?
If someone other than your employer is responsible for your injuries, then we can bring a claim against that negligent defendant on your behalf as well as against the workers’ compensation carrier. In the previous section, where we discussed your injury as a result of the negligence of your employer at ABC Dining if the building was either owned by the same person who owns ABC Dining, but the title to the property was in a separate corporation, XYZ, or the building was completely owned by another entity and they were responsible for the maintenance of the building, you would then be entitled to worker compensation benefits from your employer, ABC Dining, and a personal injury claim against XYZ corporation for negligence.
A more common example of having both a workers’ compensation claim as well as a personal injury claim would be a delivery driver. If you are working, making a delivery; and while in the scope of your employment you are rear-ended, and as a result of the accident you are injured, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from your employer and entitled to a negligence claim against the driver who rear-ended you for property damage as well as bodily injury. Your bodily injury claim would include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, scarring, permanency, residuals, and incidentals.
For example, what happens if you are a delivery person and while you are working, your vehicle is rear-ended and you are injured? You are allowed to pursue a claim against the person who rear-ended you for personal injuries as well as receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Injury or accident case
- Dial 911 and report the accident. Let them know if there are any injuries and always request a rescue if you are injured.
- Never move your vehicle prior to the police arriving.
- If you are able to exit your vehicle, take pictures of the accident scene from a distance so that you can see all of the vehicles involved and all of the vehicles in one picture. Then take close-up pictures of each vehicle involved. Make sure to include the damage, license plate of the vehicle, and a picture of the driver.
- If there is a witness to the accident, ask them to wait for the police to arrive so they can give a statement. If they cannot wait, ask if you can take a picture of their identification and then include a picture of them holding their identification that you can read.
- Once the police arrive, make a statement as to how the accident occurred. Ensure that the police talk to the witness and takes their statement as well. If the witness left prior to the police arrival, show the police officer a picture of the witness and their identification, making sure that, on the police report, they are noted as a witness that had to leave before his arrival.
- If you are injured, never refuse medical treatment by rescue personnel. Be transported by rescue to the nearest hospital to get medical treatment.
- You and the other driver can agree to follow each other and meet at the police department to make a report.
- If you are not going to meet at the police department to make a report, you should exchange the following information to include a copy of their license, motor vehicle registration, insurance card, a picture of their license plate, and a picture of the other driver. Remember, you should have documented photos of the scene of the accident and damages to vehicles as well.
- Excessive driving hours causing the truck driver to be driving to the point of exhaustion.
- Unrealistic schedules resulting in the driver taking unnecessary risks and driving at unnecessary speeds.