Updated May 28, 2019
Nearly all employers in the state of Indiana are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees and to notify their employees about this coverage. This system is designed to make sure that injured workers are compensated and protected when injuries happen on the job—such as if, for example, they were to get injured on the job and lose wages, become impaired, or accumulate medical bills during their treatment.
The intent of workers’ compensation laws is to reduce disputes between employers and employees: the payment is automatic and no-fault. However, the settlement likely isn’t as much as an injured worker might receive in a lawsuit. Workers’ compensation laws protect employers from being sued by injured employees. The only exception is in cases where employers intentionally set out to harm employees.
If you’ve been injured or sickened on the job, you have 30 days to report it to your employer. However, you should report it as soon as possible to maximize the number of benefits you could receive and to increase the perceived legitimacy of your claim to the insurance company.
Even if your injury doesn’t seem severe, make sure to report it and insist that the accident report is in writing. After talking with your employer about medical treatment options, the case will be reviewed by the employer’s insurance provider. The provider should decide within 30 days of being notified (with the option to request 30 additional days if needed) and give it to you in writing. If you’re denied or if the claim is disputed, figure out why so that you can consider potential resolution options. Disputing this decision does not require a personal injury attorney, but a consultation is recommended.
If you were injured in Indiana or if your employer is based in Indiana, you would use Indiana workers’ compensation. Despite not being able to sue your employer, there are options for settlement outside of workers’ compensation. Other contractors on the job site, certain kinds of safety managers, and even manufacturers or product designers could be liable, depending on the nature of your injuries. Your attorney will consider the specific facts of your case and determine who is liable for your injuries.
Your employer is required to let you file a workers’ compensation claim if you decide to do so, and you cannot be fired for it. Contact the Indiana Department of Labor if you were fired and suspect that a workers’ compensation claim was the reason for it.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you can’t be fired if there’s no direct risk of re-injury despite your employers stated fears, and you cannot be discriminated against if your employer could accommodate any restrictions but doesn’t. Make sure that you get your restrictions in writing in case the doctor and employer disagree about when you can come back on the job or what you can do upon your return.
In a non-emergency situation, you will follow the workers’ compensation guidelines for selecting an approved doctor. Indiana law says that employers can select medical providers to treat injured workers, and benefits could be terminated or suspended if you do not use the doctor provided for you. If the employer refuses to provide reasonable or necessary medical care for the worker, they lose the right to decide on a doctor.
If you receive a bill from the doctor that the insurance carrier authorized to treat you, send it to your claim’s insurance adjuster—you’re not responsible for paying for it. If you need a second opinion or want to seek treatment from a doctor not approved by the carrier, it’s likely (with some exceptions; your personal injury attorney could tell you more about it) that you’ll have to pay for those bills.
Workers’ compensation insurance companies generally pay for medical bills and treatment as well as the loss of income when you were unable to work. If you drive to or from appointments and this takes time out of your work week, you could be reimbursed for those wages.
In the event of a disability or impairment that would prevent you from working, there are also disability benefit options. Additionally, any surviving dependents of deceased employees could receive benefits to cover for the loss of wages and potentially for burial expenses.
If you or a loved one have been injured on the job in a way that was beyond your control, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Workplace Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve, whether that compensation comes through your employer’s insurance carrier or from a lawsuit with a manufacturer or designer.
Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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