Who Can Receive Workers’ Comp in Indiana?

Who Can Receive Workers’ Comp in Indiana?, Klezmer Maudlin PC

Suffering harm because of your job is not only stressful and frustrating but also extremely troublesome. Your physical health may require you to take time off work, and your lifestyle may change in the short or long term. Fortunately, you may be eligible to receive benefits to assist with your financial burdens.

Workers’ compensation in Indiana assists injured workers when they need it most. Discuss your situation with a qualified Indiana workers’ compensation attorney to ensure you qualify for workers’ compensation and can expect benefits for financial support following a job-related injury.

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What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Workers’ Compensation, or workers’ comp, is a special type of insurance many Indiana employers must carry for their employees. It is run by the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana (WCB).

Financial Compensation Insurance for Workers in the Business Industry.

If you suffer harm related to your job, you can file an insurance claim to receive several types of benefits offered by workers’ comp.

Understanding that workers’ comp insurance is a no-fault insurance is helpful. This means that, in exchange for offering protection in the event of injury, employers are free from potential liability in most cases. Additionally, having workers’ comp protection allows employees to pursue compensation without having to file a lawsuit or prove fault.

It is worth noting, however, that workers’ comp does not protect third parties. So, if your work-related injuries were due to a third party that is not your employer, you may have the opportunity to sue that party for additional financial recovery.

Workers’ compensation claims can be challenging to navigate. Therefore, if you’re interested in filing a workers’ comp claim for benefits, it’s best to consult an Indiana workers’ compensation attorney for assistance.

Benefits Available Under Workers’ Comp

Indiana workers’ compensation insurance offers sick and injured employees numerous benefits.

The benefits you receive and the amount approved depend on the specifics of your situation but can include:

  • Medical coverage: A workplace injury can be costly, as you may need extensive medical care. Workers’ compensation helps cover related expenses, such as hospital stays, doctor’s visits, and medications. Medical benefits help ensure you get the care you need without worrying about finances.
  • Lost income: Missing time at work can severely impact your finances and ability to provide for yourself and your loved ones. Suppose you must take time off work to recover from your injuries or medical condition. In that case, workers’ compensation provides income replacement benefits, allowing you to receive some compensation even while you’re away from your job.
  • Disability benefits: Some injuries and illnesses can result in disabilities, whether temporary or permanent. Workers’ comp offers disability benefits, covering medical expenses and short or long-term lost earnings.

Additionally, for families that have lost a loved one as a result of a work injury or sickness, workers’ comp insurance offers death benefits. This can assist with funeral and burial costs and the loss of financial support, among other things.

Suffering from a workplace injury or medical condition can be devastating and bring about tough times for you and your loved ones. Workers’ compensation benefits alleviate some of these burdens.

Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Coverage in Indiana?

Most companies and businesses in Indiana must offer workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. In some states, the number of employees dictates whether an employer must carry the insurance, but this has no bearing in Indiana.

Generally, the following employees qualify for workers’ comp coverage:

  • Full-time employees
  • Part-time employees
  • Executives
  • Minor employees

Employees who work outside the state may also qualify for workers’ comp protection, so long as they have a working relationship with an Indiana business.

Workers’ compensation provides coverage to employees under two primary circumstances: when an employee has sustained an injury at work or an employee has received a diagnosis for a work-related medical condition. Employees suffering from either an injury or illness stemming from their employment may receive workers’ comp in Indiana.

Employees Who Sustain Injuries at Work

Almost any employee can suffer an injury at work, regardless of their work environment or profession. Injuries at work often result from accidents or unfortunate incidents but can also result from the type of work an employee performs.

The National Safety Council (NSC) offers insight into some of the common causes of work-related injuries, including:

  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments: Repeated exposure to dangerous substances, including asbestos and chemicals, and certain environments, such as those involving electricity, radiation, and excessive noise, can all eventually result in severe injuries.
  • Slips, trips, and falls: Employees can slip or trip and suffer serious falls, including falls on the same level and falls from heights.
  • Contact with objects and equipment: Injuries caused by objects and equipment regularly result from being struck by an object or stuck, squeezed, or compressed in or between equipment.
  • Overexertion: Repetitive movement can impact specific areas of the body, causing significant stress and strain. Overexertion can also mean non-impact injuries resulting from overworking the body with common activities, like lifting, pulling, and pushing heavy objects.

Injuries caused in the workplace vary greatly, depending on the cause of the harm.

Some of the injuries commonly covered by workers’ compensation include:

Workplace accidents at construction sites can include incidents such as workers falling from ladders, becoming unconscious due to electric shock, and other unsafe situations.

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Vision or hearing loss
  • Joint injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Burn injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Amputations

The more serious the injury, the more benefits you’ll likely need to pursue for your medical and other related expenses. If you’re injured on the job, you can obtain workers’ comp benefits in Indiana.

Employees Suffering from an Occupational Illness

Sometimes, employees don’t necessarily sustain physical injuries while at work, instead suffering a different type of harm. Depending on the occupation, some employees are prone to developing certain medical conditions.

If you’ve received a diagnosis for an illness that stems from your job, this is referred to as an occupational illness.

Common medical conditions resulting from the workplace include:

  • Certain types of cancers, including lung and stomach cancers
  • Skin diseases and disorders, like dermatitis, eczema, and chemical burns
  • Respiratory illnesses, such as asbestosis, rhinitis, and acute congestion

You need strong medical evidence for an occupational illness claim. Creating the link between your illness and occupation is key to obtaining workers’ comp benefits.

Occupational conditions can significantly damage an employee’s life, and they might not recover. Workers’ compensation benefits can aid with the financial burdens arising from an unfortunate diagnosis.

Often, you need a lawyer to prove occupational illnesses for the purposes of workers’ compensation claims, as employers and insurance companies might allege the illness stemmed from factors outside the workplace. Seek representation from a workers’ compensation lawyer when you have a claim for an illness.

Indiana Workers Not Entitled to Workers’ Comp Protection

Workers’ compensation insurance protection will not cover every employee.

Some of the workers not covered under the workers’ comp system in Indiana include:

  • Independent contractors
  • Volunteers
  • Railroad employees
  • Real estate agents

Additionally, sole proprietors and members of partnerships and LLCs do not need workers’ compensation insurance but can purchase coverage anyway.

Under certain circumstances, even covered employees may not receive workers’ comp protection. This is the case when the injury does not arise from their employment. Additionally, employees who cause harm to themselves or suffer injuries as a result of intoxication or substance usage while at work may not qualify for benefits.

If you’re unsure whether you’re covered by workers’ compensation, speak to your employer. If you have concerns regarding coverage and eligibility, consult an Indiana workers’ compensation lawyer.

Rights of Injured Workers in Indiana

Engineer injured in a workplace accident at the factory.

Covered employees who suffer injuries related to their occupation have legal rights. These include the right to pursue medical treatment and file a claim under workers’ compensation, among others.

Protecting your rights as an injured worker is critical to ensure you obtain proper workers’ comp benefits. As an injured worker, you also have the right to seek legal guidance from a skilled workers’ comp lawyer, who is well qualified to safeguard your rights and acquire fair benefits.

Responsibilities of Indiana Employers

Employers are responsible for purchasing proper workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees. They also have defined duties, including providing notice of compliance and completing workplace accident reports.

In addition, employers are not legally allowed to take negative action against employees for filing workers’ compensation claims. This includes harassment, discrimination, and retaliatory actions, including demotion and termination. Acting out against an employee can have serious legal consequences.

Steps Involved in a Workers’ Comp Claim

A major part of protecting your rights and actively pursuing workers’ comp benefits is completing the necessary tasks to file your claim properly. The following steps can ensure you file your claim efficiently and timely, giving you a greater chance of receiving workers’ comp benefits.

Seek Medical Attention

First and foremost, if you’re injured at work, do not hesitate to get medical attention. Some injuries require more emergent attention than others. Therefore, assess the seriousness of the situation. If your injuries are severe, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, visit an emergency room or urgent care right away.

For occupational illnesses, if you feel something is off with your body and health, schedule a doctor’s appointment. Your physician can evaluate your health and order any necessary medical tests to give you a proper diagnosis.

Notify Your Employer

After sustaining work-related injuries or receiving a medical diagnosis for an occupational condition, immediately notify your employer. In Indiana, failing to report your injury to your employer can hurt your workers’ comp claim and make obtaining benefits more challenging.

While oral notice is sufficient, it’s best to provide your employer with written notice, detailing the specifics of your accident, injuries, or diagnosis, and signing and dating the document. Retain a copy for your records.

Ensure Your Employer Files Necessary Workers’ Comp Forms

Worker Accident Insurance: Disability Compensation and Social Benefits

Under Indiana Law, your employer has seven days from the date you report your injuries to file a First Report of Injury (FROI) form with their insurance company.

Follow up with them concerning your claim within the week of notifying your employer. Your employer should also provide you with a copy of the completed form.

Should your employer fail to file necessary documentation with their insurer in a timely manner, seek legal assistance to discuss your options.

Allow Time for the Insurance Company’s Investigation and Decision

Once filed, workers’ comp claims take some time. The insurance company must thoroughly investigate your situation to decide whether to approve or deny your claim.

During this time, the insurance company may require additional information before making a decision. For example, it may request an independent medical evaluation (IME) with a doctor of its choosing to better assess your condition and situation.

After your claim is filed with the insurance company, they have 29 days to investigate and decide whether to accept or deny it.

Getting Help from an Experienced Indiana Workers’ Compensation Attorney

You cannot handle workers’ compensation cases alone. Consulting a workers’ compensation lawyer early on in the process can ensure you understand your rights and options, file your claim properly, and give the insurance company everything it needs to approve your claim.

Additionally, should you run into challenges during the claim process, like a claim denial, your workers’ comp lawyer can handle them swiftly and appropriately.

Having an experienced Indiana workers’ compensation attorney on your side can give you peace of mind and confidence during the challenging times you’ll face after a workplace injury.

A workers’ comp attorney understands these difficulties and has the skills, tools, and resources to help get you the most favorable outcome for your claim.

When you need legal assistance with your claim, seek a free case evaluation as soon as possible.

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