December 14, 2017

RI DLT, AG’s Office Warn of Look-Alike Workers’ Comp Website

Cranston, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) and Office of the Attorney General are advising employers and workers to avoid a look-alike website offering information about workers’ compensation coverage because it’s often inaccurate, and if mistakenly relied upon as authoritative, could have negative consequences. Although it looks like an official state website, www.rhodeislandworkerscompensation.org actually is just advertising — the virtual “front door” of a for-profit legal referral business.

On most internet engine searches, www.rhodeislandworkerscompensation.org ranks high, appearing on a user’s first computer screen or mobile screen of results for “RI workers’ comp insurance” or variations thereof. On Google, however, because it’s a paid ad, the website can appear above the search results. This could lead to clicks and confusion for companies and consumers alike.

“The good news is that it doesn’t look like a fake website pretending to be a real one that’s trying to ‘phish’ confidential information out of visitors,” said DLT Director Scott Jensen. “The bad news is that it contains a lot of bad information. For example, it says that ‘With very few exceptions, all employees, no matter where in Rhode Island you work, whatever company you work for, you are covered by a…workers’ comp policy.’ From our work together on the Underground Economy and Misclassification Task Force, Attorney General Kilmartin and I know this is categorically false. Sometimes companies don’t have workers’ comp insurance, which can be catastrophic for workers.”

“Every Rhode Islander can get free guidance on whether or not they are eligible to file a workers’ comp claim and, if appropriate, how to file such a claim, directly through the Department of Labor and Training. There is no need to incur costs for advice — seeming incorrect advice — offered through a virtually-anonymous website,” said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.

The look-alike website has downloaded many of the required administrative forms from the DLT’s and Workers’ Compensation Court’s websites and is presenting them as its own resources under a sidebar titled “Helpful Links & Forms.” The first form listed is “DWC_01 Employer’s First Report of Injury” (FROI). Employers, however, should not fill out this paper form to submit it to their insurance company.

Since March 2015, FROIs and Subsequent Reports of Injury forms must be filed electronically through the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), a secure web clearinghouse connecting RI employers, insurance carriers, and DLT. Forms that are legal agreements still are filed on paper. In some situations, both a paper legal agreement and an electronic report are required for the same “claim event,” such as starting or stopping benefits.

The RI DLT also provides examples of the other website’s most serious mistakes, with links to the accurate information found on DLT’s site.

Source: RI DLT

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