Typically Workers’ Compensation Benefits, include:
- Payment for medical expenses
- Lost wages (called temporary total disability benefits)
- A settlement if the employee suffers a work place injury that becomes permanent- catastrophically injured workers can also recover additional workers’ compensation benefits referred to as permanent total disability benefits.
Usually, your employer will rehire you once you are medically cleared to return to work. If your employer does not rehire you, your employer’s decision may be completely legal and leave you out of a job. However, under both the Americans with Disabilities Act and Indiana law, you might have recourse if your employer refuses to accept you back to work.
If a claim is denied, the employer or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier must let the employee as well as the Workers’ Compensation Board know through a written form called a Report of Claim Status/Request for Independent Medical Examination (Form 38911) within 30 days of the employer’s knowledge of the accident. Thereafter, the injured worker has the right to file a claim on his or her own with the Board, but this must be done within 2 years from the date of the work accident. To file a claim, the injured worker must complete and send to the Board an Application for Adjustment of Claim (Form 29109). The injured worker may also want to contact an Ombudsman at the Board (Ombudsman Division – 1-800-272-2922) for further information about this application and the process of self-representation.
In general, two years is the timeline for filing a claim in an Indiana workers’ compensation matter. It is extremely important to note when this period of time begins running, as it differs depending on the type of accident and injury. The law states that an injured worker has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana. On the other hand, if the accident is the unexpected consequence of performing one’s job duties, such as a repetitive trauma injury, the Court has held that the two year time constraint begins “when the injury is discernible by the employee,” which is usually the date that the injured worker first seeks treatment for the work injury. In the case of a worker who has died as a result of the work accident, the dependents have two years from the date of death to file a claim. Time limitations for Indiana workers’ compensation claims can be very tricky, but they are very important to understand for your particular claim.
There is no single or simple answer to this question. The Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act does not specifically prohibit violations of work restrictions.
It depends. The Indiana law states your employer has the right to select the medical providers. You need to attend the appointment with your employer’s doctor(s) in order to avoid possible termination of your benefits. On the other hand, if you are unhappy with your employer’s doctor, the law allows you to request an independent medical examination at a specific point in your case. Only in extreme and very rare cases of abuse can the injured worker select the medical providers. However, merely refusing treatment with the employer’s doctor just because you do not like him/her is not a sufficient reason.
Our office does not charge for a consultation. All Indiana Worker’s Compensation attorneys charge the same because fees are set by Indiana law. Klezmer Maudlin, PC, can only charge a percentage of any recovery received and will not charge you an up front fee for our services. Under the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act, attorney fees are limited to $200.00 plus 20% of the first $50,000.00, and 15% of any remaining balance. With limited exceptions, we also will collect our out-of-pocket expenses from the recovery and not from you. If you hire us with an offer already given to you, we will typically agree not to charge an attorney fee unless we recover additional money. For example, if you hire us with an offer already of $5,000.00 and 3 months later we tell you we can only get you $5,000.00, we will typically not charge you. We will discuss this in more detail at the initial meeting and put our agreement in writing.
The Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act does not allow an injured worker to sue the employer in the traditional sense for a work accident. The employee is limited to seeking review by the Workers’ Compensation Board. However, you may bring a lawsuit against third parties (these include employees of other companies, general contractors on construction sites or any other person or company) if the third party’s negligence was a cause of your accident.
Generally, no. The only exception is when your injury was caused by something or someone other than your employer. These cases are not dealt with under the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act, and would be a separate lawsuit.
If you feel strongly that you need a second opinion on your work injury, you may consider requesting an IME through the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana. This option would be available to you once you were released from the workers’ compensation doctor to return to work.
If an injured worker no longer has the job on which he or she was injured, and if it is likely that without this job, the injured worker would have a hard time getting another available job that is regular and continuous, then he or she will likely be awarded permanent total disability benefits. A vocational expert will most likely be called on to help make the permanent and total disability determination for the injured worker. A psychologist may also be needed to evaluate the worker’s state of mind.
If an injured worker dies as a result of his or her work accident, then benefits will go to the worker’s dependents. Those that fit the definition of dependents are eligible for a total of 500 weeks of lost wages at 66 2/3% of the deceased’s average weekly wage. The employer and/or workers’ compensation insurance carrier is also obligated to pay any medical benefits and up to $7,500 for burial expenses.
Future medical treatment is only considered when an injured worker has sustained permanent injuries from the work accident. A doctor who has treated the injured worker will need to state very specifically the type of treatment required, period of time treatment will be needed, and cost of the future treatment. Then, the Board will consider these things in light of their effect on the injured worker’s impairment. If the injured worker is awarded future treatment it will be for the sole purpose of limiting or reducing his or her extent of impairment. This does not mean, however, that an injured worker who is left with any degree of impairment from his or her work injury will automatically be awarded future medical treatment by the Board.
Yes, the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act covers psychological injuries as long as they meet the injury by accident, arising out of and in the course of employment standard. In order to prove this, the employee will likely have to undergo comprehensive psychological testing.
What does it mean when an employer or insurance carrier acts in “bad faith” or lacks “due diligence?”
The Workers’ Compensation Act gives the Workers’ Compensation Board the authority to determine if an employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier acted in bad faith or lacked due diligence in handling an injured worker’s claim. These terms simply refer to the responsibility of employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers to handle claims with persistence, attentiveness, and in good trust. If an employer or their insurance carrier is found to have acted in bad faith or lacked due diligence, the Board can impose fines which are to be paid to the injured employee between the amount of $500 and $20,000.
If the doctor your employer’s insurance carrier selects is outside of your county of employment, then you will receive gas money or money for food when making trips to see their doctor. The pay per mile is a rate set by the State of Indiana. The current rate is $0.44 per mile. Your meals and lodging may also be reimbursed depending on the length of travel required. If you do not have a car to get to the doctor’s appointment, and it is a doctor selected by the insurance carrier, then the insurance carrier may make arrangements for you to get there. The adjuster for your claim should be contacted to discuss this further.