Injured workers may be entitled to future medical treatment. If your case involves future medical needs, do not settle your case until you consult with an attorney familiar with the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Laws. The settlement of future medical cases can be tricky. If a doctor feels that you will need future medical care as a result of your work accident, a he or she will need to state, in writing, what the specific long-term medical needs are, the period of time that the specific treatment will be needed, and the cost for each treatment recommended.
However, just because a physician says that you will need future medical treatment does not mean the insurance company or hearing member will award your future medical care. Future medical treatment will only be awarded if the worker’s compensation insurance carrier or hearing member feels that the treatment is necessary in order to “limit or reduce the amount and extent of your impairment (permanent injury).” The Worker’s Compensation Act does not specify the length of the future medical obligation. Generally, the hearing member will decide whether or not future medical treatment is necessary.
If a worker is considered permanently and totally disabled, future or lifetime medical treatment is also a possibility. The Second Injury Fund was created to assist permanently totally disabled workers in paying for prosthetics, replacement prosthetics, and other limited future medical costs.