Imagine you’ve been hurt on the job. You can’t work, you can’t provide for your family, and medical bills start stacking up. What are your legal rights, and how do you begin exercising them?
Sevenish Law Firm assists injured Indiana workers by helping them pursue workers’ compensation claims. We also explore other legal avenues they may have for recovery and take action in court to demand damages. That’s the level of comprehensive service you can expect from our firm. Get in touch with our Indianapolis workers’ compensation lawyer today to learn more about your rights.
What Are Injured Workers’ Rights in Indiana?
Your first question is probably: what are my rights if I get hurt on the job? Our firm knows that being injured at work can trigger anxiety. Having a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney by your side will reduce the stress by helping you assert your rights to:
- File a workers’ compensation claim
- See a doctor and begin medical treatment
- Ask for a second medical opinion
- Reimbursement for prescription medication and mileage
- Return to work under certain circumstances
- Seek lost wages, including temporary total disability (TTD) and temporary partial disability (TPD)
- Receive permanent total disability (PTD) benefits
- For those who qualify, receive permanent partial impairment (PPI) compensation
- Be protected from retaliation for claiming workers’ compensation
Unfortunately, not all employers respect an injured employee’s rights to workers’ compensation. Many attempt to discourage or prevent their workers from applying for benefits, sometimes going so far as to lie about their right to file a claim. Your employer might even threaten you with discipline or termination. Our firm can not only help you use but also defend your legal rights.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in Indiana?
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to injured workers and the families of those who are killed because of work-related accidents and illnesses. It’s important to know that an injured employee cannot sue his or her employer for negligence in causing the injury. The workers’ compensation system is there instead to protect the injured workers’ rights. That doesn’t mean third parties cannot be held liable in some cases, however, as discussed below.
Filing a claim can allows a worker to receive these benefits:
The worker is generally entitled to receive all necessary care, without charge, until reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI). Treatment may include coverage of prescription medical costs, co-pays, deductibles, and more.
The injured worker can have his or her lost wages replaced by what’s known as temporary total disability (TTD). The worker’s average weekly wage (AWW) will need to be determined as part of this calculation. Lost wages may include all income such as regular pay, overtime, and bonuses.
When the worker’s medical treatment is complete, a doctor will determine his or her loss of function. This is referred to as the employee’s permanent partial impairment (PPI) rating. The PPI helps the insurance company determine a settlement amount, but the rating can be challenged.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
If the injury prevents a return to reasonable employment, the worker may receive up to 500 weeks of TTD. The worker may also be eligible for additional lost wages and Social Security Disability benefits.
Lump sum compensation is available to a worker who can no longer use a limb or digit. Additional coverage is available if amputation is required.
Dependents of workers killed because of job-related accidents or illnesses can receive up to 500 weeks of TTD compensation. The term “dependent” has a precise legal meaning and changing circumstances can affect one’s status, so speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable about injured employee’s rights.
Future medical benefits
The workers’ compensation insurer will likely terminate payments when the employee reaches MMI. But many workers need future surgeries, pain management, and other treatments. An attorney can help the worker receive coverage for these medical needs.
What To Do After Suffering A Workplace Injury
The steps you take immediately after being hurt on the job or discovering you have a work-related illness are critical to securing your rights to the payments and benefits you deserve. Here are a few suggestions for what to do:
- Report your injury or illness: You should do this as soon as possible. If you wait more than 30 days your claim may be denied.
- Seek medical attention: The employer has the right to direct medical care, but the worker can take steps to contest this if the care is inadequate. An attorney can assist.
- Follow the doctor’s orders: Your doctor will prescribe a treatment plan, and it’s critical that you follow it. Your health and ability to receive coverage may depend upon it.
- Take notes and document everything: Keep a record of everything related to your illness or injury, including the days you miss work, your medical appointments, and all out-of-pocket expenses. Document as much as you can.
- Contact a lawyer: Our firm defends injured employees’ rights to workers’ compensation. That includes exercising their rights and taking action in the event of illegal workplace retaliation or discipline.
Can Other Parties Be Held Liable?
Unless your employer intentionally harmed you on the job, you cannot file a lawsuit against the company to seek damages. Workers’ compensation is the proper avenue for recovering compensation.
But you may be able to take legal action against others who played a role in causing your injury. These are some examples of what are known as third-party claims, which are handled in civil courts and outside the workers’ compensation system:
- Automobile accidents: Your job might include driving duties, and while working you could be struck by a negligent driver. You may be able to claim workers’ compensation from your employer plus file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.
- Construction site accidents: Numerous contractors and subcontractors work on construction sites. If these parties are somehow negligent and cause you injury, a third-party claim may be possible.
- Malfunctioning equipment: An employee who has been hurt by defective equipment or machinery can pursue a claim against the manufacturer. It may also be possible to sue the company responsible for maintaining or repairing the equipment.
- Accidents away from the work site: If an employee does work at a customer’s house, finishes the job, and gets hurt while still at the residence, it may be possible to pursue a premises liability claim against the property owner.
Learn Your Rights as a Worker
The rights of injured workers matter to us. If you want to know more about workers’ compensation or what to do if you get hurt on the job, reach out to attorney Randall Sevenish at Sevenish Law Firm. We’re ready to answer your questions and get started on your case today.