An employee has been injured at work - What should I do?
Information for Employers
REPORT THE INJURY to your workers' compensation insurance carrier. The employer is required to report a work injury to their workers’ compensation insurance company.
The insurance company will file a first report of injury and, if the employee's injury is work-related, will determine whether the employee is eligible for workers' compensation.
A PENALTY of $250 will be imposed on employers that fail to notify their insurance company of an injury.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements
With limited exceptions, employers with 1 or more employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Individual owners and partners are exempt. Most corporate officers are included under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The state-required poster naming the employer’s insurance company or adjusting company must be displayed in the workplace.
An independent contractor is someone who maintains an independent business and is available for hire. An independent contractor is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. An independent contractor must file a DWC 11-IC form for each hiring entity (the business that hires the independent contractor). This form may be completed and submitted online by visiting the Workers' Comp Forms web page.
FORMS: Employers may use the First Report of Injury form, or they may use their own form to report the injury/illness to their insurance company - they do not send any forms to the Division of Workers' Compensation, because the insurance company will file electronically with the State of Rhode Island.
- An employer failing to display the workers’ compensation poster faces a fine of $250.
- An employer failing to provide the required workers’ compensation insurance may be fined $1,000 per day for each day without workers’ compensation insurance. An employer may also be subject to a felony charge, and upon conviction, face a $10,000 fine and two years in prison.
- A business operating without the required workers’ compensation insurance may be closed under the authority of the Director of DLT.
Employer Frequently Asked Questions:
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1. Who needs to carry workers' compensation insurance?
Every person, firm, public service or private corporation, including the State, that employs employees regularly in the same business is subject to the Workers' Compensation law.
2. Who is exempt from the workers' compensation law?
Exemptions include: Sole proprietors, partners, and independent contractors. Certain real estate, agricultural and domestic service employees may be exempt. Any person who was appointed a corporate officer between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2001, and was not previously an employee of the corporation is exempt, but can elect to be covered by filing a DWC-11C form with the Division of Workers' Compensation.
3. Are there penalties for not carrying workers' compensation insurance?
There are civil and administrative penalties that can be imposed for each day of noncompliance. There are also criminal penalties, which can result in fines and possible imprisonment. For further information see RI Workers' Compensation Law, Section 28-36-15
4. Are there any disclosure and posting requirements regarding workers' compensation?
Yes, all employers must disclose to all prospective employees at the time of application either that the employer is subject to or exempt from workers' compensation. If exempt, the specific type of exemption must be disclosed. RI Workers' Compensation Law Section 28-29-13, requires employers to post a notice that includes insurer information. The posters are available in English and Spanish. You may contact the Education Unit at (401) 462-8100 or DLT.WCEdcUnit@dlt.ri.gov to request a copy of the poster, or click here to download them from the web.
5. Can an employee complete a first report of injury?
No. The employer must report the injury to his workers’ compensation insurance carrier. The insurance company will send a first report to RI DLT electronically on behalf of the employer. An employee can complete a company accident report.
6. Can I send an injured worker to a physician under agreement with my company?
An injured employee may choose the initial medical treatment. The first visit to any facility or physician under contract or agreement with you or your insurer to provide priority care shall not constitute the employee's initial choice.
7. Is there a waiting period before commencing workers' compensation?
No weekly indemnity is paid for an injury that does not incapacitate the employee for 3 days from earning full wages. There is a 3-day waiting period.
8. Do I have to continue health care benefits for my injured employee?
Under Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Law, Section 28-33-44, you are required to provide for the continuation of health benefit coverage for a period of up to 2 years from the commencement of workers' compensation benefits. However, in 1992, the United States Supreme Court held that ERISA's preemption clause is activated whenever a conflicting state law references an already existing benefit play.
If you fall under the aegis of ERISA, then the preemption clause negates the requirement of the RI Workers' Compensation Act to provide continuing health care coverage. For further information contact the Education Unit at (401) 462-8100 or DLT.WCEdcUnit@dlt.ri.gov
9. Can I replace an injured worker who is out on compensation?
A worker who has sustained a compensable injury and is not disabled from performing the duties of the position, with reasonable accommodation made by you, shall be reinstated to his or her former position upon demand, if the position exists and is available. This is considered the Right to Reinstatement. This requirement does not apply to: a worker hired on a temporary basis or employed in a seasonal occupation; a worker hired out of a union hiring hall; employers who employ 9 or fewer workers at the time of injury or a worker who is on a probationary period of less than 91 days.
This section includes certain provisions which may terminate the employee's right to reinstatement. Any violation of this section is deemed an unlawful employment practice, and the RI Workers' Compensation Court will render reinstatement disputes.
If an employee is entitled to reinstatement but the position sought does not exist or is not available, the employee may file for unemployment as if then laid off from that employment.
For more complete information, refer to the RI Workers' Compensation Law, Section28-33-47.
10. Can an employer be accused of workers' compensation fraud? What are the penalties?
The Workers' Compensation Court is authorized to impose sanctions and penalties. It is unlawful for an employer to willfully misrepresent or not disclose information to an insurer to obtain insurance at lower rates; to make or cause to be made any knowingly false statement for the purpose of obtaining or denying compensation; to fail to report earnings during the payment of compensation benefits; to make knowingly false statements regarding an employee's right to benefits and to knowingly assist and abet, solicit, or conspire to coerce an employee to willfully represent their status as a corporate officer or independent contractor to avoid workers' compensation coverage required or to decrease premium. These are a partial listing of offenses. See Section 28-33-17.3 of the RI Workers' Compensation Law.
Any person found guilty of violating this section of the law shall be subject to criminal proceedings and to a fine and/or penalty up to $50,000 or double the fraud, whichever is greater, or by imprisonment up to 5 years in state prison or both.