What if I am Partly to Blame for My Work Injury?

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Can you still receive Indiana workers’ compensation benefits if you’re partly at fault for the accident that caused your injury? The short answer is yes, you should still claim worker’s compensation. 

Suffering an injury at work can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. Not only are you dealing with physical pain and recovery, but you may also be worried about how the injury will impact your ability to work and provide for your family. 

Your stress will compound if you worry about blame for the accident that caused your injury. 

If you find yourself in this situation, ask a lawyer to explain your rights under Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws. An Indiana workers compensation attorney with experience handling these claims can help you navigate the complex legal process.

Understanding Indiana Workers’ Compensation Laws

In Indiana, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so you may qualify for benefits regardless of who was at fault for your injury. This ensures that injured workers can receive the medical treatment and financial support they need without proving that their employer was negligent. 

Indiana law recognizes that accidents can happen even when employees carefully follow safety protocols. As long as your injury occurred during the course and scope of your employment, you should be entitled to benefits. 

There are some exceptions to this rule. If your injury was caused by your willful misconduct, such as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, you may be denied workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, if you were injured while engaging in horseplay or violating company safety policies, your claim could be denied.

The Role of the IME

In these cases, an independent medical examination (IME) may be requested to determine the nature and extent of the injury and assess whether the worker’s actions contributed to it. 

An Independent Medical Examination (IME) form resting on a wooden table.

In cases where the worker’s partial blame for the injury is unrelated to willful misconduct, self-inflicted injury, or intoxication, an IME would not typically be requested solely based on the worker’s potential partial fault. The IME process is more often used to address disputes or questions regarding the severity of the injury, the appropriateness of treatment, or the worker’s ability to return to work, rather than to determine fault. 

It’s important to remember that even if a worker is found to be partly at fault for their injury, they may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Indiana. The no-fault nature of the system ensures that injured workers can receive the medical treatment and financial support they need to recover and return to work. 

If you have concerns about your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits or the IME process, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced Indiana workers’ compensation attorney. Your lawyer can evaluate your case and guide you on how to proceed.

Proving Your Eligibility for Benefits

Even if you were partly to blame for your work injury, you can still prove your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits by demonstrating that your injury occurred during the course and scope of your employment.

This means that you must show that you were performing job-related duties at the time of the accident and that your injury arose out of your employment. 

To support your claim, report your injury to your employer and seek medical treatment immediately. Failing to report your injury within 30 days may result in your claim being denied. 

Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and attend all scheduled appointments. Keep detailed records of your medical treatment, including bills, prescriptions, and any other documentation related to your injury.

The Role of an Experienced Indiana Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Your attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence to support your claim, including medical records, witness statements, and expert testimony. They can also help you navigate any challenges or disputes that may arise during the claims process, such as disagreements over the extent of your injury or the appropriate course of treatment. 

If an IME is requested, your attorney can help you prepare for it and ensure the doctor has all the relevant medical records and information about your injury. They can also help you understand the implications of the IME report and how it may impact your claim. 

In addition to assisting with the IME process, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company to ensure that you receive the full benefits you are entitled to under the law. They can also represent you in any hearings or appeals that may be necessary to secure your benefits.

The Importance of Filing a Timely Claim

The injured worker is filing a claim for workplace injury on the report form.

Even if you were partly to blame for your injury, you should still file a claim as soon as possible to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the benefits you need to support your recovery. 

If you have trouble receiving benefits or compensation from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier, you must discuss the issue with the insurance carrier or your self-insured employer to determine the reason for the denial. Talk to a workers’ comp attorney to help navigate this process. 

If you cannot resolve the dispute, you may need to file an Application for Adjustment of your claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board. The statute of limitations for filing an Application for Adjustment of your claim is generally two years from the last date of compensation paid or two years from the date of injury. 

If you don’t apply on time, you cannot receive benefits. A lawyer experienced in Indiana workers’ compensation claims can advocate for you and meet any required deadlines.

Third-Party Liability Claims

In some cases, the negligence of a third party, such as a contractor, vendor, or equipment manufacturer may have caused your work injury. In these situations, you may be able to file a third-party liability claim in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. 

Unlike workers’ compensation claims, third-party liability claims are based on fault and require you to prove that the third party’s negligence caused your injury. If successful, a third-party liability claim can provide additional compensation for your damages, including pain and suffering, which workers’ compensation doesn’t cover. 

Your attorney can help you determine whether you have a viable third-party liability claim and pursue compensation from all available sources.

Talk to an Indiana Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If an accident injures you at work and you worry that you may share blame for your injury, we can explain your rights under Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws. Even if you were partly at fault, you may still qualify for benefits, and an experienced attorney can navigate the complex legal process and ensure that you receive the compensation you need to support your recovery.

Don’t let concerns about fault prevent you from seeking the benefits you deserve. Contact an experienced Indiana workers’ compensation attorney today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal options. With the right legal guidance and support, you can focus on your recovery and move forward with confidence.


Call our Indianapolis office at (317) 569-9644 to connect with a skilled attorney or fill out the contact form on this website.

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