The Ins and Outs of Worker’s Comp in Indiana
If you are injured on the job in Indianapolis and unable to return to work for more than a week, you may be entitled to receive paid medical care and compensation for your lost wages equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages. If the injury causes you to lose the use of part of your body, you may also receive compensation for this permanent disability. The amount you would receive for the loss of a body part depends on the following:
- the severity of your loss
- your permanent impairment rating
- the specific facts of how the injury occurred.
The worker’s compensation attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin PC are available to review your workplace injury and provide guidance on all the benefits you are entitled to receive. If you are having trouble obtaining worker’s compensation benefits after a workplace injury or you have questions about a workman’s comp claim, call us for a free consultation. Attorneys Randy Klezmer and Nathan Maudlin have devoted their legal careers to representing injured Hoosier workers. From representing thousands of injured workers in Indianapolis and across the state, the attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin, PC have developed a detailed knowledge of Indiana worker’s compensation law. Based on our extensive experience, we authored the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Law and Practice manual, a legal reference book that other attorneys use for guidance. If your employer is disputing your claim for medical treatment for a work-related injury, one of our attorneys can discuss the details of your injury and explain your legal options during a free consultation. Understanding your legal options will help you make a better-informed decision.
Employers required to purchase worker’s compensation insurance
Indiana law requires most employers in Indiana to have Worker’s Compensation insurance to cover their liability for injuries to workers on the job. Some employers have special permission to be self-insured and provide their own insurance if an employee is hurt on the job.
Worker’s compensation insurance covers employees who are injured in workplace accidents or who develop work-related illnesses or diseases. Injured workers receive benefits regardless of who was at fault in the workplace accident. Both full-time and part-time employees are covered by worker’s compensation benefits.
Worker’s compensation laws in Indiana
If you have been injured while on the job in Indiana, you are required to inform your employer within 30 days of your injury. It is best to notify your immediate manager or supervisor or the company personnel office verbally as soon as feasible, then follow up with written notification.
Employers in Indiana are required by law to file an injury report with the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board if a workplace accident leads to the death of an employee or causes an employee to miss more than one day of work.
In addition, Indiana law requires that the employer notify its worker’s compensation insurance provider within seven days of the work-related injury or death. The insurance provider is then required to report it to the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board.
Injured workers have a legal right to a hearing before the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board if an employer has denied the worker’s claim for benefits.
The law prohibits an employer from dismissing an employee because the worker filed a worker’s compensation claim. If you believe that you have been wrongly dismissed, you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney about the situation.
The law also gives you the right, as an injured worker, to consult with a lawyer at any time regarding your worker’s compensation questions or issues.
Do I have a worker’s compensation case?
You may have a valid claim for worker’s compensation if you were an employee of a company and your injury or occupational disease occurred while you were on the job or performing your job. You are covered by worker’s compensation benefits from your first day of employment, whether you are full-time employee or a part-time employee. You do not have to prove fault to obtain workman’s compensation benefits. You may be eligible to receive benefits even if you were at fault, as you did not injure yourself through intentional misconduct. Generally, you just need to establish that you sustained the injury on the job.
Your employer is responsible for handling your worker’s compensation. If you have been told that you are ineligible for worker’s compensation benefits because you are not considered an employee, you should consult with an experienced Indiana worker’s compensation lawyer who can review your employment status and explain your rights. Independent contractors are not covered by the Worker’s Compensation Act. If your status is in question, you should talk to a lawyer about whether you are an employee or an independent contractor because there are numerous complex factors used in making the determination of eligibility for benefits. If there is a dispute about the amount of benefits that you should receive, you also should speak with a knowledgeable attorney who handles workman’s compensation claims.
A worker’s compensation attorney at Klezmer Maudlin, PC can evaluate whether you have a valid case and are entitled to claim worker’s compensation or may seek other types of compensation. We take seriously our job of helping injured workers obtain the full benefits they are entitled to receive by law.
Workman’s comp settlements in Indiana
If you sustain an injury in a workplace accident and have a permanent disability, you are entitled to receive a worker’s compensation settlement under Indiana law. The Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board will make a decision on the extent of the impairment. The settlement may be paid in a lump sum or in weekly amounts.
There are two types of settlement agreements generally used in work injury claims in Indiana:
- Section 15 Settlement
- Form 1043 Agreement to Compensation of Employee and Employer.
Section 15 settlement
You may be presented with a proposed work-related injury settlement prepared by your employer’s lawyer or insurance company known as Section 15 settlement. A Section 15 settlement is also known as a Full and Final Settlement. Section 15 settlements are often used in work accident claims in which there is a dispute between the employer and injured worker about the amount of future medical treatment needed. A Section 15 settlement states that the employer proposes to pay you a set amount of money. If you agree to a Section 15 settlement, you give up your right to reopen the claim.
Agreement to compensation of employee and employer
The other type of settlement is to accept medical treatment, lost wages, hard money, and permanent partial impairment (PPI). The PPI is determined through a published schedule that lists specific amounts for each degree of impairment and type of impairment. The settlement is issued through an Agreement to Compensation of Employee and Employer. The important difference between this type of settlement and a Section 15 settlement is you do not waive your rights to reopen the claim in the event that you experience a change in your condition as a result of your work activity.
As you can tell, there are numerous considerations with any proposed workman’s comp settlement. An injured worker should review the terms of any worker’s compensation settlement document very carefully or consult with a knowledgeable lawyer. Keep in mind that any type of settlement document was likely prepared by an attorney for your employer or the employer’s insurance provider. That lawyer is trying to protect your employer’s interests. You should have your own attorney looking out for your interests.
Liability for workplace accident
A number of different parties may be responsible for a workplace accident.
The Indiana Worker’s Compensation system generally does not allow injured workers to sue their own employers for workplace injuries, even if the employer caused the accident. But in some cases, a workplace accident is caused by a defective piece of machinery or a subcontractor working on the same location. These lawsuits are known as third-party lawsuits because they involve a party other than you (the first party) and your employer (the second party).
An injured worker may have a right to file a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation if another party besides your employer or co-worker was responsible for the injuries and the injury occurred in the course of your job. These lawsuits are referred to as third-party lawsuits. An experienced worker’s compensation attorney can analyze how your injury occurred and identify all the parties who are potentially liable.
For example, if you were driving as part of your job and another motorist hit your vehicle and injured you, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation from the motorist responsible for your injuries. You may do this in addition to claiming worker’s compensation benefits from your own employer.
You also may have a personal injury claim if another subcontractor working on the same job site created a hazardous situation that caused your injury. Multiple subcontractors are often working on a construction site at the same time.
In some situations, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of a defective piece of machinery that caused your injury on the job. It is important to have a knowledgeable Indianapolis worker’s compensation attorney review the details of your injury and explain whether a personal injury lawsuit is in order.
What damages can be recovered with a workman’s comp claim?
Through a worker’s compensation claim in Indiana, you can obtain fully paid medical care, compensation for a portion of your lost wages and compensation if you lose the use of a body part and are permanently disabled due to your on-the-job accident. The Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act does not provide compensation for pain and suffering related to workplace injuries or occupational diseases. Non-economic damages for pain and suffering are not part of worker’s compensation benefits.
If the facts of the accident make it appropriate, then you may be entitled to file a separate personal injury lawsuit against a third party whose negligence or wrongdoing caused your injuries. Worker’s compensation claims are handled by the Worker’s Compensation Board, while third-party claims are lawsuits that are filed in civil courts in Indiana.
Through a third-party claim, you may have a right to claim compensation for the following:
- medical bills and rehabilitation expenses
- lost wages
- future lost wages if you cannot return to work or have future limitations
- pain and suffering.
The damages are determined by a jury based on the severity of the injuries. If you pursue worker’s compensation benefits and obtain a settlement through a third-party claim, you should be aware that the money from the settlement will be used to reimburse the worker’s compensation insurance company for the benefits paid for your care. The Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act permits this.
Our attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin, PC have the experience to identify all the potentially liable parties after a workplace accident, including non-employer third parties, and pursue maximum compensation for workers who have been injured.
Contact an Indianapolis workers compensation attorney today
If your employer disputes your claim for medical treatment or you believe that your permanent impairment rating is inaccurate, you may be unsure how to proceed. Talking with a knowledgeable worker’s compensation lawyer is a good first step. At Klezmer Maudlin, PC, our compassionate and experienced Indianapolis attorneys are dedicated to helping injured workers. You should not accept “No” for an answer if your employer or an insurance company tries to reject your worker’s compensation claims. Let our attorney review your injury, answer your questions and discuss your legal rights during a free consultation. We offer free advice and only charge a fee if you hire us to represent you.
Schedule a free consultation with an Indianapolis worker’s compensation attorney today by calling us or filling out our online contact form.