Chapter 009
2019 -- H 5305
Enacted 03/28/2019

A N   A C T

Introduced By: Representatives Williams, Blazejewski, Fellela, and Ucci
Date Introduced: February 06, 2019

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
     SECTION 1. Section 28-53-7 of the General Laws in Chapter 28-53 entitled "Rhode
Island Uninsured Protection Fund" is hereby amended to read as follows:
     28-53-7. Payments to employees of uninsured employers.
     (a) Where it is determined that the employee was injured in the course of employment
while working for an employer who fails to maintain a policy of workers' compensation insurance
as required by § 28-36-1 et seq., in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, the uninsured
protection fund is authorized to pay the benefits to which the injured employee would be entitled
pursuant to chapters 29 to 38 of this title subject to the limitations set forth herein.
     (b) The workers' compensation court shall hear all petitions for payment from the fund
pursuant to § 28-30-1 et seq.; provided, however, that the uninsured protection fund and the
employer shall be named as parties to any petition seeking payment of benefits from the fund.
     (c) Where an employee is deemed to be entitled to benefits from the uninsured protection
fund, the fund shall pay benefits for incapacity as provided pursuant to chapters 29 to 38 of this
title except that the employee shall not be entitled to receive benefits for medical expenses
pursuant to the provisions of § 28-33-5 or loss of function and disfigurement pursuant to the
provisions of § 28-33-19.
     (d) The fund shall pay costs, counsel, and witness fees, as provided in § 28-35-32, to any
employee who successfully prosecutes any petitions for payment; petitions to amend a pretrial
order; and all other employee petitions; and to employees who successfully defend, in whole or in
part, proceedings seeking to reduce or terminate any and all payments; provided, however, that
the attorney's fees awarded to counsel who represent the employee in petitions for lump-sum
commutation filed pursuant to § 28-33-25, or in the settlement of disputed cases pursuant to § 28-
33-25.1, shall be limited to the maximum amount paid to counsel who serve as court-appointed
attorneys in workers' compensation proceedings as established by rule or order of the Rhode
Island supreme court. Any payment ordered by the court or due under this section shall not be
subject to liens set forth in § 28-33-27(b), nor shall such payments be assignable or subject to
assignment in any way.
     (e) In the event that the uninsured employer makes payment of any monies to the
employee to compensate the employee for lost wages or medical expenses, the fund shall be
entitled to a credit for all such monies received by, or on behalf of, the employee against any
future benefits payable directly to the employee. The fund shall be entitled to full reimbursement
from the uninsured employer for any and all payments made to the employee, as well as all costs,
counsel, and witness fees paid out by the fund in connection with any claim and/or petition, plus
any and all costs and attorney's fees associated with collection and reimbursement of the fund.
     (f) This section shall apply to injuries that occur on or after February 1, September 1,
     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.