Personal Injury Law Firm Championing for Worker’s Compensation Victims In Highland
Being injured in the workplace can have severe long-term repercussions for employees. Depending on the nature of the incident, you may find yourself facing long-term disability, unemployment, and loss of income. Worker’s compensation is designed to help offer help and assistance, and it is essential to know what you are entitled to.
What Is Worker’s Compensation?
As the name suggests, this is a system that provides compensation to employees who are injured in the workplace. The program constitutes a state-mandated insurance policy and can offer financial benefits to any worker injured in the workplace or any worker who suffers a work-related injury. This can be applied no matter who was at fault in the incident, including the employee.
Worker’s compensation also allows you to be covered outside the physical workplace as long as your injury is job-related. This can protect you if you undertake a work-related errand, are attending a mandatory social function, or are traveling on business.
Which Worker’s Compensation covers injuries and Illnesses?
The majority of work-related injuries will be covered by the program, including long-term injuries or illnesses which are sustained from overwork or misuse; chronic back problems and repetitive stress injuries are common examples. In addition, if you develop an occupational disease which can be proven to have developed as a gradual result of work conditions, you can also be covered. This may include lung disease or heart conditions, as well as being exposed to infectious illnesses in the workplace.
As a rule, worker’s compensation will not cover any of the following:
- Injuries which occurred while the employee was intoxicated or using illegal drugs
- Self-inflicted injuries (including someone starting a fight)
- Injuries suffered while a worker committed a serious crime
- Injuries suffered while not on the job
- Injuries suffered when an employee’s conduct violated company policy
What Does Worker’s Compensation Offer?
Worker’s compensation will cover all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to your injury. This may include the cost of hospital bills, doctors visits, prosthetic devices, and prescriptions, as well as mileage incurred traveling to and from injury-related appointments.
In addition to basic medical expenses, in Indiana, you will also be eligible for temporary disability payments, as well as a possible permanent disability award.
- Temporary Disability: This is designed to cover loss of earnings during the period you are unable to work. In total, payment will be two-thirds of your average weekly wage, to a maximum of $780 per week as of July 1, 2016. Periodic increases are made by the legislature. Temporary disability will be paid for a maximum of 500 weeks until a doctor finds that you have reached maximum medical improvement – MMI. This means your condition has reached a plateau, and you are not expected to make any further improvement. If you are able to return to work at reduced wages, you may then be paid temporary disability benefits – two-thirds of the difference in your annual weekly wages – for a total of 300 weeks.
- Permanent Total Disability: If your injury renders you completely, permanently disabled, you will receive the same amount per week that you received in temporary disability, for up to 500 weeks. You will be classed as totally disabled if you cannot return to your job, and no other work is reasonably available.
Workers may also be entitled to permanent partial impairment awards (PPI). The award you receive is based on the permanent impairment rating, which will be assigned by a doctor. They will also reference a state schedule, listing degrees of impairments according to the loss of particular body parts. Some injuries – e.g., to the back – are rated as a percentage of loss to the whole body.
Each degree of impairment offers its award as of July 1, 2016 (periodic increases are made by the legislature):
- Degrees 1 to 10: $1,750 per degree impairment
- Degrees 11-35: $1,952 per degree impairment
- Degrees 36-50: $3,186 per degree impairment
- Degrees 51 – 99: $4,060 per degree impairment
What Do I Do If I Am Injured At Work?
If you suffer an injury at work, you should first notify your employer and ask to seek medical care immediately. Indiana law states that if you are claiming worker’s compensation, your employer, or their insurance provider, will reserve the right to choose a specific doctor to administer any care. If you refuse to do this, you will be responsible for any medical costs incurred unless the employer and insure agree, or the worker’s compensation board orders, that you can choose your doctor. Workers are generally required to submit to an examination, follow all medical advice, and keep all appointments to remain eligible for compensation.
In most cases, accepting worker’s compensation means that you will be unable to sue your employer for negligence. There are a few unique exceptions – a qualified legal professional will be able to advise further depending on your circumstances.
What Are My Next Steps?
If you have been injured in the workplace, your first step should be to seek qualified advice. Here at Hilbrich Law Firm, we have assisted workers across the Highland area and will help you take the steps you need to to get the justice you deserve. Reach out to us at 1-877-877-LAW2.