Construction accidents are potentially very dangerous and often do result in serious injuries and even fatalities. If you have been hurt in a construction accident in Indiana, it might feel overwhelming to try and figure out what you should do next. Several questions and concerns may arise after a construction accident. Here are some of those questions – as always, they should be viewed as general information and not legal advice.
What Steps Do I Need to Take After a Construction Accident?
After a construction accident, your priority is to seek medical help. If you have been seriously injured, get emergency medical attention right away. If your injuries appear to not be severe, it may still be in your best interest to be seen by a doctor. Some injuries take several hours, even days to show symptoms. By seeing a doctor early on, not only will you be able to document how your injury progressed, but you will be better equipped to produce evidence showing that your symptoms are indeed related to your work accident and not a result of something else. Additionally, if possible, document the scene of the accident and capture video and/or images of the unsafe circumstance that led to the accident. If you are unable to do so yourself, ask a co-worker to capture those pictures and footage for you.
Next, you will want to report your accident to a supervisor or another person in charge as soon as possible. This is important because it is the first step to document the accident and set in motion the process of filing a claim. It can also prevent other co-workers from getting injured by making a supervisor aware of the unsafe situation. To protect yourself, it is best to file your accident report in writing, and request a copy of the report your employer submits to the insurance company. After that, your employer will have seven days to fill out an Employer’s Report of Injury form and send it to the insurance company. From that moment, the insurance company will begin its own investigation of your accident and make a decision to accept or deny your claim.
What Happens If I am Unable to Work?
If your injuries are serious enough to prevent you from working, you will receive a portion of your normal weekly pay while you recover at home (assuming that the workers’ compensation insurance company has accepted your claim). When appropriate, your workers’ comp physician may place you on temporary disability, allowing you to stay away from your job in order to recover from your accident for a maximum of 500 weeks.
You can expect to receive a weekly payment corresponding to two-thirds of your normal wages, not to exceed a maximum of $780 a week. Once you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), i.e., your doctor finds you have reached the end of your recovery period and your injury has plateaued and cannot be treated any further, then your benefits will cease and you may return to work.
How Long Do I Have to Report My Accident?
According to the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board, you should report your accident to your employer immediately. If you are unable to report it immediately, your claim may be denied if you wait longer than 30 days. Another reason why reporting sooner than later is a sensible move is the availability of evidence to support your claim. In other words, if your accident happened as a consequence of an unsafe condition at the job site, waiting too long to report it may mean you will no longer be able to document the unsafe condition as it may have been remedied. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to prove that your injuries were a direct consequence of the accident caused by said unsafe conditions.
What Happens If My Worker’s Comp Claim is Denied?
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or if you believe you have not been awarded the full amount of benefits you believe you should receive, you have the right to appeal the insurance company’s decision. Your first step is to contact the insurance company and request an explanation of why your claim was denied. In some cases, all you need to do is to provide further documentation such as medical records in order for your claim to be accepted.
If you are unable to reach an agreement, you can contact the Ombudsman Division of the Worker’s Compensation Board to explore alternative dispute resolution options. If that does not work, you can then file an Application for Adjustment of Your Claim with the Worker’s Compensation Board within 2 years from the date of the accident that resulted in your injury. Alternatively, you can seek the help of a seasoned worker’s compensation attorney that can better assist you in re-negotiating your claim and advising you on the best course of action. The legal team at Hilbrich Law would be happy to explain your options and answer your questions about worker’s compensation claims in Indiana. Contact us and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today!