indiana work comp attorney

Trabajadores indocumentados y su derecho recibir recompensación en Indiana

A veces trabajadores indocumentados se sienten como no tienen derechos en cuanto a las leyes del estado. Entonces, cuando experimenten un accidente en el trabajo, tienen miedo de buscar ayuda legal porque piensen que si el caso llega a un juez, les van a deportar.  Eso no es cierto.

Al contrario, nuestra empresa, Klezmer Maudlin, PC, ha servido cientos de clientes indocumentados y ninguno de ellos ha sido deportado debido al caso que representamos.

La ley en el estado de Indiana da libertad de interpretación referente a la recompensación a los trabajadores indocumentados que experimenten accidentes en el trabajo. Por costumbre los jueces deciden a favor de nuestros clientes indocumentados.  Según el sistema legal, es responsabilidad del empleador verificar que sus empleados sean legales. Entonces, no les toca a los jueces de la directiva sobre la recompensación a los empleados que se accidenten durante el trabajo. Tales jueces se preocupan por el hecho de que los empleadores cumplan con las responsabilidades que tienen en cuanto a sus empleados que experimenten accidentes en el trabajo.

Si tiene duda sobre sus derechos, o si quiere más información, llame a nuestro teléfono (317-569-9644) y podemos atenderle.

Functional Capacity Exam (FCE)

Related terms include “Physical Capacities Evaluation” (PCE), “Functional Capacity Assessment” (FCA) or “Work Capacity Evaluation.”

A Functional Capacity Evaluation/Exam (FCE) is a series of tests designed to measure physical strength, ”range of motion”, stamina, and tolerance to functional activities, including lifting and carrying and will begin with an in-depth questionnaire.

In a workers’ compensation claim, the results of Functional Capacity Evaluation are typically used to develop return-to-work plans, as the basis of an offer of alternative employment, or as the foundation for a feasibility development plan (work-focused rehabilitation). An evaluator SHOULD ONLY use tests that have to do with the specific individual’s diagnosis and return-to-work goals or job demands.

These tests can be used to evaluate work tolerance and work restrictions, if necessary. The exam is used to determine the extent of the employee’s residual or permanent disability. Do your best, be honest, and remember there’s no right or wrong answer.

P.S. I can safely guess that you WILL NOT be jumping rope.

Does the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act protect my job?

 

Workers Compensation Laws Indiana

Unfortunately, the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act does not protect or secure an injured worker’s job after a work accident. The Act only bars an employer from firing an employee in retaliation against him or her for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

It is your right to pursue a claim under the Workers’ Compensation Act. However, injured workers sometimes find themselves getting written up or reprimanded for issues that would not have been a big deal in the past, once they do return to the job after a work accident. These issues may serve as a basis for the employer to fire the employee at a later time, or the employer may push the injured worker to feel like he or she should resign.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, you should consult with a qualified Indiana worker’s compensation attorney.

Can I reopen my settled workers’ compensation claim?

 

According to Indiana law, as stated in the Guide to Indiana Workers’ Compensation, one may reopen a claim for the following reasons:

  • The light duty assigned by the employer is no longer available.
  • The injured worker becomes temporarily totally disabled (unable to work).
  • The injured worker suffers a condition change or the condition worsens due to the injury.
  • Impairment from the original injury is now evident.
  • Permanent partial impairment increased from what it was at the time of the original PPI settlement.

To reopen a claim due to any change in condition, directly related to the original injury, an Application for Adjustment of Claim (Form 29109) must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board within 2 years from the last date for which you were paid compensation. Compensation includes temporary disability income, a permanent partial impairment award, and permanent total disability income. It does not include the last date a medical expense was paid. Determining the precise date that compensation was last paid can be confusing, and an attorney should be consulted to assist in reopening a case.

Please note that there are time when a case cannot be reopened because of the type of settlement that was agreed upon. For instance, if you signed a Section 15 Settlement Agreement– a full and final settlement agreement– when you originally settled your claim, then you may not be able to reopen your case.

Asbestos Exposure and the Residual Asbestos Injury Fund

 

According to the Guide to Indiana Worker’s Compensation Benefits, the following must apply in order for a worker exposed to asbestos on the job to be eligible for benefits through the Residual Asbestos Injury Fund:

  1. The employee is permanently and totally disabled by the work-related asbestos injury:
  • On or after July 1, 1985, from an exposure to asbestos in employment before July 1, 1988

OR

  • Before July 1, 1985, from an exposure to asbestos in employment and files a claim for benefits from the Residual Asbestos Injury Fund before July 1, 1990
2. Is not gainfully employed because of the disability left by this work exposure injury
AND

3. Is not eligible for benefits under the Indiana Occupational Diseases Act

The worker must also be ineligible for benefits from Social Security Disability, disability retirement, third party settlements or other retirement benefits that are equal to or greater than 66 2/3% of his or her average weekly wage at the time of disablement*.

If, however, the other benefits that the injured worker is entitled to are less than 66 2/3% of his or her average weekly wage at the time of disablement, the worker may be eligible to receive from this fund that difference for up to 52 weeks.

Dependents are eligible to receive either the remainder of the asbestos fund benefits or $4,000, depending on which is greater, should the injured worker die before the benefits from this fund run out.

Similar to the Second Injury Fund, and in accordance with Indiana Code §22-3-11-4, at the end of the 52 weeks, the Worker’s Compensation Board may decide to give the exposed employee additional benefits in 52 week increments as long as the employee still meets the eligibility guidelines cited above.

*Please note that the time of disablement, or in this case when it was determined that the injured worker is disabled due to the asbestos injury, and time of accident, which is used to calculate disability pay for other injuries, are very different terms.

Time Limits for Filing a Claim under the Indiana Occupational Diseases Act

 

The Indiana Occupational Diseases Act defines disablement by an occupational disease as:

…becoming disabled from earning full wages at the work in which the employee was engaged when last exposed to the hazards of the occupational disease by the employer from whom he claims compensation or equal wages in other suitable employment…Indiana Code §223-7-9(e).

In short, disablement means a worker is unable to earn full wages due to an occupational disease.

Understanding the Law

The Indiana Occupational Diseases Act provides that a worker with an occupational disease may not receive benefits unless the occupational disease causes disablement within 2 years from the last date of exposure to the harmful chemical or substance. Thereafter, an injured worker has 2 years from the date of disablement to file an Application for Adjustment of Claim (Form 29109) with the Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana.

Death Benefits

For occupational diseases that result in death, the worker’s dependents may be eligible for benefits if the death occurs no more than 2 years after disablement and if the dependents file an AAC (Form 29109) with the Board within 2 years after the date of death.

Radiation Exposure

With regard to radiation exposure, a worker must file an AAC with the Board within 2 years from the date the worker had knowledge or by the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known of the existence of the injury and its causal link to his or her place of employment.

Asbestos Exposure

As for asbestos inhalation injuries, the law sets the following time limits based on the date of last exposure:

  1. If the last date of exposure is before July 1, 1985, the employee has 3 years from this fate to file a claim.
  2. If the last date of exposure is on or after July , 1985 but before July 1, 1988, the employee has 20 years from this date to file a claim.
  3. If the last date of exposure is on or after July 1, 1988, the employee has 35 years from this date to file a claim.
Need More Help?

As you can see, all of these time limitations regarding Indiana occupational diseases can be very tricky. If there is a question as to whether you can still file an Application for Adjustment of Claim, you may want to consult with an Ombudsman or a qualified Indiana worker’s compensation attorney.

Hiring an Attorney for Your Worker’s Compensation Dispute

 

Should I hire an attorney?

It is your right to either represent yourself in a worker’s compensation dispute or to hire an attorney. If an Application for Adjustment of Claim (Form 29109) is filed with the Board in your case, then by law, your employer must hire an attorney. Thus, it is often advisable, although not required, that the injured worker be represented as well.

When deciding whether you want to involve an attorney, keep in mind that Indiana’s worker’s compensation laws are written in a way which tend to favor the employer as opposed to the injured employee.

How much does it cost to hire a worker’s compensation attorney?

A free legal consultation with an attorney experienced in the Indiana worker’s compensation system may help you to better determine whether your rights are being protected and whether legal representation is needed at that time.

Attorney fees are limited by the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act. According to the law, attorneys can charge $200.00 up front, as well as a percentage of any recovery received in a worker’s compensation case. Attorneys may be willing to waive the upfront fee until the case is settled. The current recovery fee percentage is 20% of the first $50,000 and 15% of any remaining amount.

Example:

Deborah and her attorney settled her worker’s compensation case for $60,000. Since the attorney agreed to waive the upfront fee of $200 until the case was resolved, a breakdown of attorney’s fees includes $200, plus 20% of $50,000, plus 15% of the remaining $10,000.

Amount to Attorney: $200 + (.20 x $50,000) + (.15 x $10,000) = $11,700

Amount to Deborah: $60,000 – $11,700 = $48,300

At the end of the case, you may also be asked to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the attorney for items such as medical records, postage, long distance phone calls, appointments with specialists, and so forth. These expenses were not included in the above example.