Work-related injuries can significantly reduce an employee’s income and could potentially affect his/her ability to work in the future. Injuries at work can happen, regardless of the nature and location of the job. In fact, even skilled and experienced workers can suffer from injuries that may have negative consequences on their ability to earn. Learn more about the rights of injured workers in Indiana and how you can be compensated for any work-related issues.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a type of accident insurance program that most businesses are required to carry under Indiana law. This insurance provides protection for workers from the very first day they begin work. Under the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act, the majority of compensation programs will cover the workers’ basic needs, including medical assistance, income benefits, and rehabilitation treatment. The aim of this coverage is to provide enough support to the worker to help them recover quickly and get back to work as soon as possible.
Knowing Your Rights
Workers who are covered by workers’ compensation have access to financial assistance, should a work-related accident occur that causes an injury. Work-related injuries can be used as grounds to allow the worker to file a compensation claim. This claim must be filed within 30 days after the accident occurred, or the claim may be denied.
Indiana’s compensation coverage is a no-fault system. Therefore, it offers the assurance of financial support for workers to cover their medical bills, permanent impairments, lost wages, and other consequences of failing to work due to their injuries. To receive this coverage, workers who suffer from injuries must understand what their rights are under Indiana law.
Workers’ compensation will cover all occupational illnesses and traumatic injuries that result from work-related accidents and conditions. Occupational illnesses are diseases that can occur over a time period, such as those caused by exposure to harmful substances in the workplace, or those that cause damage to the worker due to repetitive movements. Traumatic injuries, on the other hand, are injuries that occur as a result of a work accident. While these injuries are likely to be covered by insurance, injuries and/or illnesses that a worker suffers from off-duty are not.
What to Do in Case of a Work Injury
Once an injury occurs at work, the worker must notify the employer immediately, or at least within 30 days of the injury to avoid denial of claims. Immediate notification is also advantageous because it allows the worker to receive benefits earlier. Furthermore, late claims or claims that take a while to file are viewed with skepticism and suspicion.
What to Expect
For injuries that will require a worker to stay away from work for more than 24 hours, the employer is required to complete the “Employer’s Report of Injury.” This form is then sent to the insurance company and a copy is given to the worker within 7 days. Once the form is received, the insurance company will then submit the report to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana. The company will then have 29 days to decide whether to approve or deny the claim.
What Benefits to Accept
The rights of injured workers in Indiana require that all medical treatments required and considered reasonable as a result of the injury will be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. These treatments includes hospital bills, medication, and professional medical fees. It also covers prosthetic devices. Should the injured worker incur expenses going to and from his/her medical appointments, these will be reimbursed, as well. Temporary and permanent disabilities will also be compensated.
When to Call a Professional
Employers are expected to process the workers’ compensation injury claims once these are filed. If no action has been taken by your employer, consider asking an Indianapolis work comp attorney for help. Work comp lawyers specialize in cases that deal with work-related injuries and claims, and they can identify the most important (and weakest) points of your case. They can also help ensure that your rights as an injured worker are protected, and that you receive just compensation for your injuries.