Over my 30 years of practicing workers’ compensation law in Indiana, I feel like injured workers are getting taken advantage of as badly as ever. The primary way workers get taken advantage of is through the assignment of a permanent partial impairment.
Under the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act (our State’s workers’ compensation laws), injured workers are not due settlements unless, as a general rule, the worker has a permanent injury caused by the work accident. The significance of the permanency and the determination of how much the worker receives monetarily is determined, as a starting point, by the assessment of a permanent partial impairment or a percentage.
Workers’ compensation insurance carriers and employers have relationships with doctors who can, as an unspoken condition of receiving ongoing referrals from the insurance company or employer, tend to assign very low permanent partial impairments. This makes the insurance company and employer happy but takes money out of the employee’s pocket.
For example, if you have a low back injury resulting in the need for steroid shots and therapy and after 3 months of treatment, your back is still causing you trouble, you likely are due a settlement. However, many work comp doctors may assign a 0% permanent partial impairment, meaning you are not entitled to a settlement. Under the law in Indiana, you have the right to secure your own PPI rating from a doctor you choose, but many employees do not know the law and/or do not know that they can contest the offer of $0. Also, if an employee decides to hire their own doctor to assign a PPI, the cost of this evaluation can be substantial. Physicians generally do not do a PPI evaluation without charging the worker anywhere from $500 to $1,500.
There are doctors statewide who have these relationships with insurance companies and employers and tend to assign very low permanent partial impairment’s, lower than another doctor may assign.
Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. Call the attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin, who will give you an honest assessment of your case and tell you whether or not we think we can help you. With offices statewide, and physical offices in Indianapolis, Lafayette, Jeffersonville and Evansville, our attorneys are well equipped to handle your workers’ compensation case.
View our video on Determining the Permanency of an Injury!