Worker’s compensation wages do not get paid forever unless you are totally disabled due to a work accident. In that situation, the insurance carrier pays you for 500 weeks (that’s the cap under Indiana law). After 500 weeks, you can apply for a continuation of your worker’s compensation wages through a fund administered by the State of Indiana. That fund is called the Second Injury Fund. A judge may need to declare you permanently and totally disabled for you to qualify for the 500 weeks and the continuation of pay through the state.
Short of permanent and total disability, workers compensation wages stop when you are offered reasonable light-duty work. If you are not offered light-duty work, the wages will continue until you reach a point of Maximum Medical Improvement. You will be given very little notice of the termination of your wages. If you believe you are not at Maximum Medical Improvement, even though your wages stopped, you should contact a worker’s compensation attorney because you may be eligible to dispute the termination of those wages through a procedure called an independent medical exam, or IME. The IME procedure requires you to fill out a form that the insurance carrier is required to send you. Then the Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana will appoint you to see an independent doctor. The worker’s compensation insurance carrier is required to pay for this appointment.
Beware that while this process seems straightforward, worker’s compensation carriers will often 1) prematurely stop your worker’s compensation pay without making reasonable work available, will send you to several doctors while shopping for the opinion that releases you to work the earliest and may cause you not to get the medical care you desperately, need and may terminate benefits without serving you notice to avoid having to pay for an IME. Only a trained worker’s compensation lawyer can help you avoid these pitfalls and problems that are harder to reverse as more time slips away. Call us today to get a free, honest, and prudent case review! We are waiting to help you!
Hopefully, this article provides you with more information and allows you an opportunity to anticipate the problems you need to look out for. For more information, check out The Ultimate Guide to Workers compensation in Indiana. If you have questions or need assistance on this topic, please call the worker’s compensation attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin. Our attorneys handle work comp claims statewide, and we have physical offices in Lafayette, Indianapolis, Jeffersonville/New Albany, and Evansville/New Harmony.