Updated February 21, 2020

What Are My Workers’ Compensation Rights?

A workplace injury can change your life overnight. You likely won’t be able to work in the immediate future or possibly ever again. Your financial and health situations change instantly, and you might be feeling lost and confused as you figure out how to get back on your feet again.

If you were injured on the job, you probably have a lot of questions about how you should proceed from this point. We’ve compiled a list of questions and answers that might help you plan your next move.

What Is Workers' Compensation?

Workers’ compensation, commonly referred to as “workers’ comp,” is a type of insurance that is purchased by employers. If an employee is injured, files a workers’ compensation claim, and their claim is approved, they can receive payment.

Can I Sue My Employer?

If you are injured at work or on a job site, you usually can’t sue your employer. Workers’ compensation is intended to reduce disputes between employers and employees. Even if your injury was a result of your employer’s negligence, you cannot sue them. This applies to your coworkers as well; they are also protected under workers’ compensation laws.

The exception to this rule is if your employer was deliberately setting out to harm you. That goes beyond negligence and would therefore be grounds for a lawsuit.

Who Is Liable for Worksite Injuries?

Defendants and their insurance companies will always look at whoever was injured when they search for fault. However, depending on the job site and the work being done, there may be other people with liability involved in your potential case:

  • If there are other contractors working on the job site, you might have a claim against them
  • Depending on the language of the job contract, a general contractor or construction manager could oversee and therefore be responsible for all job safety precautions
  • Most larger construction sites will have a safety manager or safety-competent person who works closely with the general contractor or construction manager. Their job is to make sure everything on the job site is as safe as possible, but they also arrange safety meetings and coordinate activities to make sure that everyone on the site is safe as well

What Damages Can I Get Through Workers' Compensation?

When you are hurt on the job, the worker’s compensation insurance company will pay for medical bills and loss of income during the time you were unable to work. If the injury you sustained is permanent, there will be some payment made to compensate for the permanence of the injury.

Worker’s compensation is automatically paid to you regardless of who is at fault for the accident. However, it doesn’t take damages such as pain and suffering into account.

Is Workers' Compensation My Only Recourse If I'm Injured on the Job?

It depends. If your employer has worker’s compensation insurance coverage, then worker’s compensation is always an option for you. Depending on how you became injured, though, more avenues of compensation can open up.

If you were injured by faulty equipment, then the manufacturer, designer, or even someone who heat-treated a particular part on the machine can be liable for your injuries. The same is true if the equipment works correctly but has insufficient guarding, warnings, or instructions regarding its use.

Can I Get Fired for Taking Workers' Compensation?

You cannot be fired for filing a worker’s compensation claim. If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated, talk to an attorney as soon as you can.

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Workers' Compensation Claim?

The statute of limitations for filing a worker’s compensation claim in Indiana is two years from the date of your injury.

Contact a Workplace Injury Attorney Today

If you have been injured on the job, contact the Indianapolis Workplace Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you understand your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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