Workplace injuries can occur unexpectedly, leaving employees with physical and financial burdens. If you have suffered a workplace injury in Indiana, you may be wondering if you have the right to sue your employer for compensation. In Indiana, the workers’ compensation system is designed to provide benefits to injured employees while protecting employers from costly lawsuits.
Dealing with an injury that occurred at work can sometimes be a trying and scary ordeal. The employee may not understand who should be paying their medical bills, and in rare cases employers may even attempt to downplay the seriousness of the injury and/or try to convince the employee not to file a worker’s compensation claim at all. Unfortunately, our attorneys have experienced cases in the past where employers and insurance companies have unfairly denied or delayed claims in order to save themselves money. If you have been injured on the job and are not sure what to do next, know that you are not alone, and we are here to help you in your time of need. Our knowledgeable and dedicated worker’s compensation attorneys will work tirelessly to secure the compensation that you are entitled to.
Frequently Asked Questions
After successfully handling several different types of worker’s compensation cases and helping our clients secure adequate compensation for their injuries, we have come across several of the same questions asked by our clients who are not familiar with the process. Below are some of the most common questions we hear along with some responses to help you better understand the worker’s compensation process.
How do I file a Worker’s Compensation Claim?
The first step in the process is to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible (and within 30 days) and ask for a copy of the written injury report. After you report the injury, your employer is obligated to file a claim with the worker’s compensation insurance company. Following all of the instructions from your employer and the insurance company, such as attending doctor’s visits and keeping them up to date on your injuries, is very important. Try to keep records of everything relating to your injury and the claim—instructions from the insurance company, communications with the employer and insurance company, doctor’s reports, a diary or notebook that details how your injuries have affected your life, etc… Keeping good records will give us the tools we need to push back on the insurance company if they try to deny or downplay your injuries. You simply cannot trust that the insurance company is going to be fair and pay you adequate compensation.
If you have an injury and have not yet told your workplace, or if your workplace is asking you not to report a workplace injury to the worker’s compensation insurance carrier, please contact us immediately. Failing to give the worker’s compensation insurance carrier notice within 30 days of the injury could have serious effects on your ability to recover worker’s compensation benefits in the future.
Can I be Fired for Filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim?
No. Filing a worker’s compensation claim following an injury at work is your right and your employer may not punish you for exercising those rights. The worker’s compensation system in the state of Indiana is meant to help worker’s by streamlining the process, not hurt them. If you are concerned that your employer may try to fire you for filing a claim, contact us immediately so we can help make sure that your rights are protected.
What Types of Benefits am I Entitled to Under Worker’s Compensation?
In Indiana, your worker’s compensation benefits should cover:
• Your medical expenses
• Compensation for permanent impairments if you are not able to recover and get back to the point you were before the injury
• A portion of your wages, typically two-thirds for temporary disability and up to a certain amount depending on your injury, how long you are disabled, and other factors
How Will I Pay My Medical Bills?
Worker’s compensation insurance will likely cover your medical bills. As long as you tell your doctor and any specialists that you see that your injury is work-related, all of the medical expenses you generate should be billed to your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier. If the insurance carrier denies your claim, the best course of action is to hire an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer to advocate for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation
What Does it Cost to Hire a Worker’s Compensation Attorney?
To start, our office is proud to offer clients an absolutely free consultation about your case. If you decide to hire one of our talented attorneys to represent you in a worker’s compensation claim, the fees for our services are entirely regulated by the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act. Specifically, the statute says that attorney’s fees are limited to $200.00, plus 20% of the first $50,000.00 recovered. In the event that our attorneys are able to recover more than $50,000.00 for you on your claim, we are entitled to 15% of any amounts recovered over the $50,000.00. We will also collect our out-of-pocket costs and expenses from any money you recover but never from you.
Can I Go to See my Own Doctor or Do I Have to See the Doctor’s My Employer Chooses?
In Indiana your employer and the worker’s compensation insurance company have the right to choose your doctor for treatment. If you are unhappy with the doctor chosen you have the right to request an independent medical examination from another doctor to evaluate your injuries. If you decide to go to a doctor different than the one provided by the insurance company you are most likely going to be responsible for those bills out of your own pocket.
Can I Sue My Employer?
No, in most instances you cannot sue your employer. However, depending on how your injury occurred, you may be able to recover compensation from third parties responsible for your injury such as co-workers, subcontractors, equipment manufacturers, property owners, drivers of loading machinery, delivery drivers, or perhaps other people who caused you to become injured at work. For example, our firm commonly files lawsuits in situations involving the negligent loading or unloading of materials.
In order to identify these potentially liable third parties and make sure that they pay their fair share for your injuries it is important to have a lawyer on your case with experience. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to make sure all of the parties liable for your injuries are identified and made to help compensate you for your losses.
What Should I do if My Worker’s Compensation Claim is Denied by the Insurance Company?
Hire an experienced lawyer—even the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board recommends that you find an attorney with the experience to handle your claim and ensure that you are awarded the benefits you deserve. Attorneys like those in our office can help you identify and gather evidence in support of your claim as well as help you prepare the legal arguments necessary to secure just compensation for your injuries. If your claim is highly disputed and the worker’s compensation board fails to get you the benefits you deserve, the case may end up reaching an appellate court for a final determination. Our office has experience fighting insurance companies at the highest appellate levels in Indiana, and we will use that experience to make sure that your injuries are compensated to your satisfaction.