How long will workers' compensation last?
How long can I expect my workers’ comp payments to last?
Generally, you may collect weekly workers’ compensation for up to six (6) years, i.e., 312 weekly checks.
The Workers' Comp Payment Period
Generally, you may collect weekly workers’ compensation for up to six (6) years, i.e., 312 weekly checks. We say “generally” because most people out on workers’ compensation are considered “partially disabled,” and the maximum those who are “partial” can collect weekly benefits is 312 weeks. This time limit, however, does not apply to your rights to have medical treatment for the injuries paid for.
That right continues beyond any 6-year time period. As long as medical treatment is “reasonable and necessary to cure, rehabilitate, or relieve the employee” from the effects of his/her work-related injuries, it shall be paid for under the Rhode Island workers’ compensation system.
The "Total" Exception
There are more exceptional cases where an employee may be deemed “total” in terms of their disability from working. The significance of being “total” in terms of how long you may remain out on workers’ compensation is that there is no time limit for those who are totally disabled. A better way of putting this is to say that the six (6) year (312 week) clock for collecting workers’ compensation is not ticking while the employee is “totally disabled” as a result of the work injury.
“Total” cases are exceptional, difficult to prove, and fiercely contested, however, they tend to have significant settlement value, the reason being that the employer/insurer could theoretically have to pay weekly benefits for the rest of the employee’s natural life – which amounts to significant potential exposure.