One of the areas of the workers’ compensation laws that really trouble injured workers is the 7 day waiting period. Under Indiana law, injured workers are not eligible for workers’ compensation pay until they are off work 7 calendar days or more. This is an odd concept to injured workers and frankly to our office. How is it right or fair that a worker who is ordered off work and cannot work for 7 or less days is not eligible for workers’ compensation pay? Well, it is not right. However, that is the law.
About a year ago, the gentleman who works for the Indiana Manufacturers’ Association was at a seminar and commented on the legislative intent behind this law. To paraphrase his thoughts – members of the Indiana Legislature who helped create this law thought that a 7 day waiting period would be necessary to limit any injured workers who decide to malinger and fain/fake/exaggerate an injury for the purpose of being off work a few days and receiving workers’ compensation pay. To limit the possibility that workers would take advantage of the law and to decide to have a short holiday due to a very minor injury, the individuals who wrote the law agreed upon a 7 day waiting period.
This law is not right or fair, but it is the law.