Brought to you by Klezmer Maudlin PC

personal injury

Workers’ Compensation, Personal Injury, or Both?

construction accident 1Construction sites are one of the most hazardous workplaces with construction workers risking their lives every day to earn a living. From heavy equipment to falling objects, thousands of workers are injured and even killed each year at construction sites.

Even though we have OSHA and construction site safety standards, construction environments are still dangerous. This is where workers’ compensation laws come into play.

If you are hurt on the job, it is imperative to immediately report the accident to your supervisor. If you do not report your injury within 30 days, you may lose your right to collect workers’ compensation benefits. You can find all forms at the Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana website.

After you fill out the workers’ compensation claim form, give it to your employer and keep a copy for yourself. From this point on, it’s important to keep track of several factors for your records, including:

  • How your injury has impacted your ability to work.
  • All receipts including medicine and travel to doctor’s appointments.
  • All people involved in your claim, including discussions you have with them and the dates of these discussions.
  • Copies of all forms and documents you receive. Include copies of envelopes with postmarks.

But what if your accident happens due to the fault of another company or faulty machinery? Your work-related injuries may involve more than a workers’ compensation claim. If you were injured using defective or faulty equipment, you could have a personal injury claim such as product liability.

There are differences between a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party lawsuit. For example, workers’ compensation claims are handled by the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana while third-party lawsuits are handled by civil courts. There are also differences in the type of compensation you will receive, whether you are awarded benefits for pain and suffering or future financial losses due to your accident.

Multiple claims are never simple. The lawyers at Klezmer Maudlin have the knowledge to identify and manage all of your claims simultaneously to help get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at (317) 569-9644 to discuss your situation and see how we can help.

Doctor Claims Injury is Not Work-Related, What Now?

QuestionWhat if I reported my injury and there is no written report made? I was sent to a doctor who would not even look at my hand because he said it was not due to some immediate accident or trauma. He said that the Indiana Workers’ Compensation law does not cover any injury that is gradual over time due to repetitive motion unless you are a secretary and typing. He told me it was not work related because of this and did not examine the hand. I have requested a second opinion. I also asked for a copy of the injury report and was told there isn’t one. The plant manager is out of town and is doing it over the phone.

Answer: The doctor told you wrong. I would be interested in knowing who your employer is and who the doctor is. Sometimes the doctor works very closely with the employer and their opinions are influenced by the employer.

You absolutely can have a condition that is a result of repetitive use or trauma. I suspect you are talking about carpel tunnel syndrome which is a very common condition in many professions, not just typists. For instance, truck drivers and factory line workers often develop carpel tunnel syndrome as a result of their employment. There can also be issues related to a condition called trigger finger or trigger thumb that can be work related and results from employment activities.

In Indiana, employers must pay the compensation and benefits provided under the Workers’ Compensation Act when the following four elements of a worker’s compensation claim are met. If the employer/carrier denies a worker’s compensation claim and the dispute is heard by the Board, the employee has the burden of proving each of the elements.

  1. personal injury or death;
  2. by accident;
  3. arising out of the employment; and
  4. in the course of employment.

“Injury” and “personal injury” mean only injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment and do not include a disease in any form except as it results from the injury.

“By accident” means that the injury was unexpected. To occur “by accident,” the injury may be either an “unexpected event” or an “unexpected result.” Under the “unexpected result” theory, the injury to the employee may be the combined injurious effect of repetitive motions.  The definition of “by accident” as both an unexpected event and an unexpected result means that a broad range of injuries is potentially compensable in Indiana.

As to your employer’s refusal or failure to report your injury. Ind. Code §22-3-4-13(a) requires that employers file the Employer’s Report of Injury with the Workers’ Compensation Board if an injury results in the death of an employee or in the employee’s absence from work for more than one (1) day. Failure to comply with reporting provisions may subject the employer/carrier to a $50 civil penalty to be collected by the Board. This report must be filed with the employer’s insurance carrier. Sometimes, employers try to avoid reporting work conditions because they want to avoid increases in their premiums for workers’ compensation insurance because of the reports of injuries or work conditions.

If you have found yourself in this situation, you probably want to utilize the help of a lawyer to fight for what you’re owed. Contact our office at 317.569.9644 today.

Have a question for us? Send an email to rklezmer@klezmermaudlin.com for help.

Employer Denied Lost Wages During Injury Examination

Question: My employer has denied me lost wages when I was sent to be examined and during appointment times that I was scheduled for work. Is this legal? How do I go about recovering work time hours lost?

Answer: You are correct that your employer’s actions are contrary to the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act. You are not alone in your problems. In fact, this is something we face quite often.

According to Ind. Code §22-3-3-6(b), if the employee is required to miss work because of an examination scheduled by the employer to determine the compensability of a claim or to report on the employee’s disability or impairment, the employee is entitled to full reimbursement for any loss of wages.

Your employer can require the examinations to take place outside your work hours and in that case you would not be reimbursed for your time.

You may need assistance to secure these benefits. It is your right to either represent yourself in a worker’s compensation dispute or to hire an attorney. When deciding whether or not you want to involve an attorney, keep in mind that Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws are written in a way which tends to favor the employer as opposed to the injured employee.

Many employees think that they cannot afford an attorney, however, attorney fees are controlled by the Act as well and they come out of any recovery we make on your behalf. If you would like to discuss representation in reference to your work injury, please give our office a call at (317) 569-9644 and we can discuss the matter with you.