While workers’ compensation is a much-needed safety net for employees, the rules can be complicated. After all, workers’ compensation – while required for most Indiana employers – is a type of insurance, and insurance companies are very good at paying as little as possible to injured workers. In some cases, they argue that an injury was not work-related but stemmed from a preexisting injury or that the injury happened outside of work.
Because of these potential obstacles, injured workers in Indiana need to understand how to prove their injuries were work-related so they can obtain the benefits they need and deserve. To do so, you must know which injuries can be considered work-related injuries, how to document your injuries, and what your rights are after a work injury.
If your claim has been denied, if you believe you may have a third-party claim, or if you would like to understand your legal options, contact the Karl Truman Law Office to speak with a qualified work injury lawyer in Indiana.
The first point to make about work-related injuries is that they must have occurred while fulfilling a duty related to your employment. This means that you must have been on the job or completing a task directly related to your job when the injury occurred.
While this might seem obvious, it can be a tricky distinction. For example, if you are headed into work one morning and get into an accident, you likely would not be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Instead, if the accident was the fault of another, you would only be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent driver.
On the other hand, if your boss asks you to run an errand on your way into work and then you get into an accident, you likely would qualify for workers’ compensation benefits and a personal injury claim.
In terms of types of injuries that can be classified as work-related, there are generally two main categories: traumatic injuries and occupational diseases.
Regardless of the type of injury, the important thing is that you receive appropriate medical treatment as quickly as possible.
Properly documenting your claim is one of the most important parts of recovering workers’ comp benefits. This starts with notifying your employer and receiving medical treatment.
In the case of an emergency, you should first seek medical treatment and then notify your employer. You have 30 days to do so, but you should notify them as soon as possible so you can begin receiving workers’ comp benefits sooner rather than later. Waiting to notify your employer may also be a red flag for insurance companies who will be quick to undercut the validity of your claim.
In non-emergencies, however, you should first notify your employer and then ask them which medical providers you can go to for treatment. Seeking medical attention from a non-approved medical provider in non-emergency situations may make it difficult to receive the full benefits you deserve.
Regardless of how and when you receive medical treatment, you need to have an honest conversation with your doctor about your injuries and how they happened. If you’re suffering from multiple injuries, make sure to explain each one in detail.
You should also ask about your injury’s impact on your ability to complete all or some of your work-related tasks. The doctor’s documented answers to these questions will give you an expert opinion on your injuries and will serve as the backbone of your claim, helping you prove that your injuries were indeed work-related.
Injured workers have several rights after an accident that they need to be aware of.
First, you have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation. Your employer should not discourage you from doing so and they are not allowed to fire you for it.
Second, if you are facing some sort of temporary or permanent disability because of the accident, you have the right to ongoing benefits to cover your lost wages.
Third, you have the right to appeal any decision made regarding your workers’ compensation claim, meaning that if your claim is denied you should not give up.
You also have the right to pursue a third-party personal injury claim if the negligent party was not your employer or a coworker.
There are several additional rights that Indiana workers benefit from, though these are the most significant ones to keep in mind. If you feel as though you are being treated unfairly, you should speak with an attorney about your situation.
Work injuries are almost always disruptive to life. They can cause a great deal of frustration and confusion, and they can make it difficult to know how you will continue to make a living and provide for your family.
That’s why we’re here. At the Karl Truman Law Office, we are aggressive advocates for injured Indiana workers, and we’re here for you during this challenging time.
If you need help navigating your situation after a work injury, please give our Jeffersonville office a call at (812) 282-8500 for a free, no-obligation consultation.