New England’s Premier Insurance Defense Firm

Rhode Island: Top Ten Traps For The Unwary!

| Feb 14, 2022


The Rhode Island Act does not require a claim must be accepted or denied within any period of time, but it does require actions be taken within certain periods of time as it relates to filing of petition, payment of an accepted claim, complying with court orders and responding to request from attorneys.

The failure to adhere to these timing mandates will result in monetary penalties.

The tips below will help you avoid such penalties.

But first, two rules:

**Whenever you are issuing a payment in Rhode Island, you MUST, within 10 days of issuing the payment, issue either a Non-Pred or a Memorandum of Agreement per Numbers 1 or 2 below.

**You MUST issue one of these forms and file it with the RI Department of Labor & Training via fax (401-462-8105) and mail to the employee by Certified Mail RRR, otherwise you risk having to pay double indemnity benefits per RIGL 28-35-9.


1.  Non Prejudicial Agreements are only valid for 13 weeks

  • If payments are made under a nonprejudicial agreement for more than 13 week, the claim is considered as accepted and a memorandum of agreement must be filed. The parties cannot review a nonprejudicial agreement and that is the reason the memorandum of agreement must be filed setting forth the date of injury, date of incapacity, the AWW, weekly rate and nature and location of the injury

2.  On Memorandums of Agreement, check partial disability box.

  • Rarely, if ever, voluntarily set disability at Total Disability on a Memorandum of Agreement.
  • Never check off Permanent & Total box.
  • Never issue TTD in Rhode Island voluntarily

3.  Always respond to 21 day letter.

  • Accept, deny, or request time.
  • Otherwise an attorney’s fee of up to $1,600.00 at Court on Employee’s Petitions for first time appearances.

4.  Rarely, if ever, voluntarily accept:

a.     A heart attack case.

b.     A stress case.

5.  Always pay orders within 14 days.

  • In all cases where an Order or a Decree or an Agreement is made to make payments to the employee or the attorney, the payments must be made within 14 days of the due date of the order or agreement. Failure to pay an order or a decree within 14 days will result in a Petition to Enforce and an additional attorney fee. If weekly benefits are not paid within 14 days of when due, the penalty is 10% of the past due amount if being paid per a memorandum of agreement or 20% if benefits are being paid per a court order, in addition to attorney’s fees of $1,600 or more.

6. Never leave liability open if the Employee returns to work.

  • Either obtain a Suspension Agreement or file in Court to end disability.

7.  File Memorandum of Agreements and all other Department of Labor Forms at the Department of Labor when completed.

8.  Occupational Disease cases:

  • There are almost always percentage discounts for indemnity and medical benefits for underlying medical pre-existing conditions and contribution by prior employers of the same occupation.

9.  Specific Compensation for Loss of Use and Disfigurement.

  • Are a separate obligation
  • Scarring awards are either negotiated or set by the Court.

10. There is no earning capacity in Rhode Island


  • Set by the Court after the employee refuses SAE.
  • Set by the Court after the completion of a Court accepted vocational plan.


Please feel free to reach out to anyone in our Rhode Island team with any questions:

Attorney Karen Finley
[email protected]
(401) 331-3947 x 240 (office)
(401) 225-4224 (cell)

Attorney Christopher Fiore
[email protected]
(401) 331-3947 x 249 (office)
(401) 868-8015 (cell)

Attorney James Hornstein
[email protected]
(401) 331-3947 x 292 (office)
(401) 487-3222 (cell)

Attorney Courtney Manchester
[email protected]
(401) 331-3947 x 293 (office)
(401) 447-0699 (cell)