As an attorney, I see many cases where adjusters and employers are fair and try their best to follow the law. However, I see cases where adjusters and employers try to skirt the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act laws at every turn.
The more I practice law, the more I feel like employers, in many cases, look for any reason to take advantage of injured workers. Two recent examples really make me wonder about what rights injured workers may have.
In a recent case, my client, an employee of a nursing home, was injured at work and offered light duty which consisted of remaining at the nursing home for a period of 13 hours a day and working three separate work shifts with 2-3 hour breaks in between. I truly feel that the employer designed this offer of light duty so that she would refuse it, then lose her job and not be paid workers’ compensation benefits. The employer later modified this offer of light duty to include only 3 hours a day of work. My client lives 25 minutes from this nursing home and to work 3 hours a day after taxes would put approximately $35 in her pocket a day. I assume gas money would probably cost 1/3rd of that amount.
Another scenario I saw recently, and I see all the time, is an insurance adjuster or an employer ignoring treatment recommendations of doctors they select. Under our Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act, an employer is allowed to select the physician, but is required to provide the treatment, medical services or supplies recommended by that physician. An adjuster or an employer is not free to pick or choose what it will authorize or what it will not.