Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation

rhode island worker's compensation text overlaying image of pawtucket If you run a business and have employees, you’ll need to purchase Rhode Island workers’ compensation insurance. In fact, this type of insurance is a requirement in most states, including Rhode Island, with some exceptions. It helps pay your employees’ medical bills if they sustain an injury on the job. It also limits your liability for workplace accidents, is a requirement in most states, including Rhode Island, with some exceptions.

In Rhode Island, business owners can expect to pay, on average, $1.11 for every $100 of covered payroll. That means, for example, a business with a total annual payroll of $100,000 will pay approximately $1,110 per year for workers’ compensation insurance, or around $92.50 a month. This is only a rough estimate, since factors such as your location, the different rates for staffing types (laborers vs office workers), and your claims history can all have a significant impact on your rates.

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One of the biggest factors in determining your rates for workers’ compensation insurance is your employees’ risk, or the likelihood of a workplace injury occurring at your business. Additionally, to assist insurers in determining risk exposure, and to get the best rates for your business, you can use a variety of workers’ compensation class codes. This is important because it costs more to insure certain employees. For example, office employees may have lower workers’ compensation costs than those who work outside of your office and face more risks.


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What’s Covered

If an employee sustains an injury on the job or becomes ill due to workplace conditions, workers’ compensation in Rhode Island will help them with their medical bills. The average weekly wage of the employee determines the workers’ compensation benefits. The amount depends on the type of claim.

In general, workers’ compensation in Rhode Island covers:

  • Accidents and injuries – If your employee needs medical attention, workers’ compensation will cover any medical expenses from a workplace injury.
  • Illness – If an employee becomes sick from exposure to allergens or other hazardous materials at work, they can also receive workers’ comp benefits to help pay for treatment.
  • Repetitive injury – It’s not just accidents that are covered: treatment for repetitive injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, are also covered by workers’ compensation. 
  • Ongoing care – If your employee still has medical needs as a direct result of their accident or illness, even after they return to work, they can get benefits for ongoing care. This includes additional doctor’s appointments or additional surgeries.

In addition, if their accident or illness results in permanent or temporary disability, your employee will receive weekly or lump sum payments. If they have a temporary disability, their injury prevents your employee from performing their job. But they can return to work as normal once they recover. If a doctor diagnoses them with an injury from which they will not fully recover, they have a permanent disability. 

These categories fall into the following classifications:

  1. Temporary total disability (TTD) – These payments will be made if your employee is not able to work at all while recuperating.
  2. Temporary partial disability (TPD) – TPD payments will be made if your employee can still work, but only with certain limitations, such as needing to perform lighter duties or work fewer hours. If your company does not provide work that meets these requirements, the employee may still be eligible for these payments.
  3. Permanent total disability (PTD) – Employees who are unable to work due to an accident or illness, even after they have recovered as much as they are likely to, will be eligible for PTD payments.
  4. Permanent partial disability (PPD) – Employees who have permanent difficulties but can work with them will be eligible for PPD.


Rhode Island’s Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

If an employee dies as a result of a work-related illness or injury, their dependents will be entitled to death benefits. These benefits include payments of up to $20,000 for burial and funeral expenses.

In addition, a weekly benefit payment will be available to a surviving spouse, any minor children, and any other dependents. This payment will be calculated based on the worker’s marital status and the number of dependents. The total benefit, however, cannot exceed the state’s maximum weekly total disability benefit.


Rhode Island’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

According to Rhode Island law, if you have employees, you must have workers’ compensation insurance. You also have to put up a poster in your workplace indicating that you have workers’ compensation insurance, which must include the name of your insurance company. Failure to do so may result in a $250 fine.

Some employees are exempt from needing coverage, though, including:

  • Partners
  • Self-employed
  • Employees in the real estate, agricultural, and domestic service industries

Even if an employee is exempt from workers’ compensation, you can still include them in your coverage. This can help protect them – and your business – in the event of a workplace accident.


How to Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In Rhode Island, you can buy a workers’ compensation insurance policy from a private insurance carrier that is licensed by the state to offer workers’ compensation insurance. 

If your business is considered high-risk, and you are unable to obtain workers’ compensation insurance through this voluntary market, you can obtain coverage through the Rhode Island assigned risk market.

If you meet certain criteria, you can also choose to self-insure. This means you will pay any workers’ compensation claims out-of-pocket as they arise, instead of paying a premium and submitting claims to an insurance company. You must file an application with the Department of Labor and Training to be eligible for self-insurance.

If you need help finding a policy, Ez’s agents can help sort through all of your options, and find you the best workers’ comp insurance for your business.

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How to Get the Most Savings

The majority of the cost of workers’ compensation comes from factors beyond your control. However, there are still ways to save. Implementing a safety program is a great way to reduce workplace injuries and claims, which will lower your premiums. So regardless of your industry, it is important to have safety and standard operating procedures in place. Employees who have safety training are less vulnerable to injuries, lowering your workers’ compensation costs.

It is also a good idea to regularly review your claims history. Evaluating your claims history on a regular basis can help you identify and correct patterns. You might discover that certain aspects of your business operations are frequently causing claims. This allows you to adjust the operation to make it safer. You can also save money by keeping an eye on potentially dangerous operations.

Correctly classifying your employees is one of the most effective ways to save money. When you apply for your workers’ compensation policy, you will classify each of your employees depending on their job’s risk. And this risk classification influences the cost of your workers’ compensation. For example, you might pay less to insure an office worker than you would a manual laborer. It’s also important to correctly classify your employees because you may receive a fine if you fail to do so.

You can compare workers’ compensation insurance quotes for your small business from leading U.S. insurers today! EZ’s agents specialize in insurance for a wide range of small businesses. Working with our agents can save you hundreds of dollars a year on coverage.


Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation FAQs

  • Are you required to have workers’ compensation insurance in Rhode Island?

Yes, in Rhode Island, the majority of employers are required to have workers’ compensation. It is a serious offense to violate Rhode Island’s workers’ compensation statute. If you violate the law, you could face the following penalties:

    • A fine of $1,000 per day
    • A felony charge, a $10,000 fine, and a two-year prison sentence
    • Your business could be closed down by the director of Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training
  • How do workers’ compensation settlements work in Rhode Island?

Many workers’ compensation claims in Rhode Island result in settlements. So, the claim’s parties – you, your injured employee, and your insurer – must agree on a lump-sum payment in exchange for the employee (or the employee’s survivors) agreeing to waive future payments.

There are two basic forms of settlements in Rhode Island:

    • A settlement for denial and dismissal closes the case without establishing liability against you or your insurer.
    • In cases where benefits have been paid for six months or more, a commutation settlement ends the entire claim. In exchange for you closing out all future liabilities, the employee (or survivors) receives a lump-sum payment or a structured settlement.
  • What is the statute of limitations in Rhode Island?

In most cases, employees in Rhode Island must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the injury. The length of this period is flexible under Rhode Island law, depending on the nature of the case.


Why Use EZ

We do everything in our power to make shopping for workers’ compensation insurance as easy and stress-free as possible, and we give each of our customers our undivided attention. As soon as you fill out our form, you will receive instant, free quotes from your dedicated agent, who will give you personalized service and will work to understand your needs. We want to ensure that you make the best decision possible, and that you get the best coverage at the best price. Our services are completely free so check your quotes online today!

If you still have questions, feel free to give us a call at 877-670-3538. You will connect with a local insurance agent who can answer all of your questions, and help you find the workers’ compensation policy that works best for your business.

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About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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