Workers’ Compensation Defense

A dedicated and experienced staff of attorneys and paralegals regularly practicing in workers’ compensation defense in Rhode Island today is at Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney. This success reflects our longstanding and dedicated counsel on behalf of employers, insurance carriers, self-insured corporations, third party administrators, and claims servicing agencies.

While most litigation has a beginning, middle and end, workers’ compensation is different. Most cases often continue through multiple and reoccurring levels of judicial review – until an end result is achieved or full employment is realized. An award for a claimant can be as costly as any plaintiff’s verdict in the Superior Court, and the degree to which lawyers must keep abreast of intricate medical and technical disciplines, rivals only the practice of patent law.

Given this challenging legal landscape, our attorneys are highly trained and experienced in dealing with the intricate rules, regulations and procedures involved in the handling of these types of cases. Our lawyers are also particularly skilled at examining and cross-examining physicians and surgeons in numerous board-certified specialties.

In defending workers’ compensation claims, our attorneys regularly appear before the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court, the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents and the U.S. Department of Labor for claims brought under the Long Shore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

We are proactive in our approach in helping our clients meet the numerous time-sensitive demands of workers’ compensation pleadings and practice.

Moreover, we regularly counsel clients on insurance coverage, the application of the workers’ compensation laws to specific injury claims and, where appropriate, representation through the appellate process including the state’s highest court.

Current representative cases:

– Filed the first case on behalf of an insurer at the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court seeking to invoke the court’s new statutory authority to resolve coverage disputes between an employer and the insurer.

– Represented the employer in the seminal case which defined the extent of the court’s jurisdiction to resolve competing coverage claims between insurers of the same employer in multiple jurisdictions.

– Filed a novel petition to the Rhode Island Supreme Court for a stay of back benefits – part of an overall settlement strategy for the employer resulting in no finding of liability; no payment of $120,000 in back benefits; and no costs for ongoing weekly benefits.

– Appealed a decision of a trial judge to the Appellate Division and ultimately to the Rhode Island Supreme Court resulting in a revised “last employer doctrine” governing employee exposure to asbestos and other hazardous materials in the workplace. The ruling saved our self-insured client $350,00

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