South Bend, IN, Workers’ Comp Lawyers
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Are Here to Help You Get The Benefits You Deserve
Worker’s compensation is an insurance program that provides medical and income benefits to those who suffered workplace injuries. However, employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies often dispute or deny claims by employees. South Bend, IN, workers’ comp lawyers can help you recover the compensation you deserve after you suffer injuries at work.
Workers’ comp premiums are paid by employers, and since premiums go up when benefits are paid out, employers often dispute claims to avoid paying. Workers’ compensation insurance companies are out for profit, so they want to pay out as little as possible. They also have high-powered lawyers on their side, working to deny or dispute benefits. In addition, Indiana rules and procedures for getting workers’ comp are complicated. Making mistakes in filing your claim or saying or doing the wrong thing can result in your claim being rejected.
In fact, we recommend seeking legal advice before filing any documentation with Workers’ Compensation. The agency’s attorneys can twist what you say to use it against you, and they often do.
You do not have to fight for a workers’ comp settlement alone. If you suffered injuries on the job, an experienced South Bend, Indiana, workers’ compensation lawyer could help you get the benefits you deserve.
At Coriden & Coriden, our team of workers’ comp lawyers has helped many clients resolve disputes over workers’ compensation claims. When we handle your case, we make sure everything is done correctly and in a timely manner; and by providing additional information, we can often reverse initial benefit rejections and clear up misunderstandings and mistakes.
Protect yourself after a workplace injury — call Coriden & Coriden at 812-375-9800 as soon as possible to learn about workers’ compensation law, your rights, and the best way to proceed with getting the benefits you deserve.
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
If your injuries allow you to move around without causing additional damage, you should take several steps to help preserve evidence.
- Before leaving the scene, take photos of the accident scene. If possible, take photos of your injuries.
- Immediately notify your supervisor or manager of the incident.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you believe your injuries are minor enough to keep working, do not keep working. First, get checked out at the emergency room. Keep in mind that some injuries do not manifest until hours or sometimes even days later.
Your employer may ask you to complete an accident report. When you do, keep it as short as possible while describing the incident. The less you say, the less your employer or workers’ compensation carrier can use against you.
If your employer provides personal protective equipment, such as harnesses, and that equipment is out of date or worn, be sure to take photos of the condition of the personal protective equipment and the expiration date, if it has one.
Contact a South Bend, IN, workers’ compensation lawyer immediately after seeking medical attention.
How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in South Bend, IN, Can Help You Get Benefits
Indiana law requires most businesses to have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees who are injured while working at their job. Workers are covered from the first day on the job.
To help you get benefits, our South Bend workers’ comp lawyers can:
- Help file your initial claim and ensure that all claim forms are filled out correctly, in a timely manner
- Investigate how the accident happened, interview witnesses and gather evidence such as photos, videos, and work and medical records to help prove your claim
- Dispute denials and negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Represent you at any hearings. Disputes not resolved through the Informal Dispute Resolution process require filing an Application for Adjustment of Claim (SF 29109) within two years of the date of injury. The case is then assigned to a Single Hearing Member of the Workers’ Compensation Board for determination of all unresolved issues.
- Prepare your case and argue on your behalf if a claim goes to trial
- Handle any appeals.
South Bend, IN, Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Knows the Benefits You May be Entitled to Indiana workers’ compensation insurance provides both medical and financial benefits to workers and to the family of a worker who is killed on the job.
To get benefits, you must meet certain requirements:
- You must be a covered employee. Indiana law requires employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for all employees, including temporary employees and minors.
- Your injury or illness must have resulted from employment-related tasks.
- You must notify your employer as soon as possible after you’ve been injured, and within 30 days of the injury, or your claim may be denied.
- You should let your employer know about your injury before seeking medical care, unless the injury is serious, in which case you should get treatment immediately.
- You must file all required forms, which can be found on the Indiana workers’ compensation website, within the required time frames.
In a successful workers’ comp claim, benefits should cover some of your income while you are unable to work, in addition to the medical costs that result from your work injury. Benefits may include:
- Two-thirds of your average weekly wage during the time that you are found unable to work by the insurance company’s authorized physician. The payment cannot exceed $600 per week if you are considered temporarily totally disabled — meaning you are currently unable to work but are expected to recover enough to return to work. Permanently disabled individuals not expected to return to work may collect a larger portion of prior weekly earnings, and the percentage may increase with the severity of the injury.
- Payment for permanent partial impairment or a partial disability classified by the insurance company’s authorized physician.
- Payment of medical expenses to physicians authorized by the insurance company and reimbursement of related out-of-pocket expenses, hospital bills, co-pays, the costs of prescription medicines, rehabilitation services, physical or occupational therapy, and transportation costs to and from your doctor visits.
- Retraining benefits for new jobs if employees are unable to return to their previous position.
- Beneficiary expenses for funeral and burial expenses to beneficiaries of an employee who dies as the result of work-related illness or injury.
As a general rule, you will be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits until you are able to go back to work or reach age 65 if you are permanently disabled. You could also apply for Social Security Disability once you learn that your injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities. However, you can only collect one type of benefit. The Social Security Administration defines permanent disabilities as those lasting at least 12 months or expected to result in death.
When our Coriden & Coriden lawyers handle your case, we will work to make sure you receive all benefits you are entitled to.
South Bend, IN, Workers’ Comp Attorneys Answer Your Questions
It’s natural to have questions when dealing with a work injury. Here are some answers to questions our lawyers are often asked:
What Happens if My Claim is Disputed or Denied?
If your legitimate claim is disputed or denied, our workers’ comp attorneys in South Bend can fight for your rights. Depending on the individual circumstances of your case, we can:
- Initiate an informal dispute by filing a Request for Assistance (State Form 45442) with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana
- Hire a mediator, a trained and neutral party who attempts to come to a resolution of disputed issues
- File an Application for Adjustment of Claim (SF 29109) to schedule a formal hearing before a member of the Workers’ Compensation Board
- Appeal a workers’ comp denial. Our attorneys would start by answering any objections and providing additional supporting medical documentation, or we can submit to an independent medical exam and file an appeal. If still denied, we would file an application for an adjustment to your claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana for review to have the initial denial overturned. There can be a hearing before a board member; that outcome can be appealed to the full board, and that decision could be appealed to the Indiana appellate and supreme courts.
How Much Can I Get in a Workers’ Comp Settlement?
There are many factors that go into determining how much you will get for a workers’ compensation settlement, including the extent of your injuries, whether they are temporary or permanent, and what is provided under Indiana law.
In general, if you are unable to work for more than a week, you may receive compensation for your lost wages that is equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages, plus payment for the costs of your medical care.
What industries are at highest risk for work-related injuries or illnesses?
Numerous industries carry a higher risk of work injury. If you were injured at work in South Bend while working in one of these industries or in any other sector, you are entitled to seek the full amount of workers’ compensation. The highest risk industries include:
- Construction – The construction industry is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, due to slips and falls, falling objects, electrocution and equipment-related accidents.
- Transportation – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that the trucking and transportation industry sees a high rate of work-related fatalities.
- Healthcare – According to OSHA, hospitals are one of the most hazardous places to work due to exposure to infectious diseases, hazardous materials, repetitive motions, and from manually lifting patients. If you work at facilities near South Bend, such as Frazier Rehab Institute, Scott Memorial Hospital, Schneck Medical Center, Medical Center of Southern Indiana, Baptist Health Floyd, or Clark Memorial Hospital, you may be facing a significantly higher risk.
What are the most common work injuries?
At Coriden & Coriden our workers’ comp attorneys deal with a wide range of work-related injuries and illnesses, as well as wrongful death actions that result from work injuries. Injuries we often handle include:
- Occupational diseases — any chronic disease caused by or due to activities or environmental factors at work, including various types of cancers
- Electrocution and electric shock injuries, including serious burns, internal damage and death
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including mild concussions, closed traumatic brain injuries and open traumatic brain injuries
- Quadriplegia and paraplegia and other types of paralysis
- Vision loss and eye injuries
- Hearing loss and other hearing injuries
- Hand and arm, finger, leg, foot and toe amputations
- Repetitive stress injuries, such as carpel tunnel syndrome
- Neck, lower back and spinal cord injuries that can lead to permanent disability, paralysis and death
- On-the-job violence.
What if my employer does not have workers’ comp insurance?
A small number of employers are “self-insured,” because they received approval from the Workers’ Compensation Board to pay claims out of their own funds. If your employer does not have insurance and you are injured on the job, you may be able to bring a lawsuit for personal injury against your employer. Talk to our attorneys to see if this is possible.
What if a medical professional prescribes an N drug?
If a medical professional prescribes an N drug – a non-preferred drug, the medical professional must obtain permission from the employer and/or insurance carrier to pay for the drug. Otherwise, the injured person will have to pay for the drug out of his or her pocket. This new law went into effect in January 2019.
If an N drug is prescribed during a medical emergency, the medical professional must state that it was prescribed during the emergency, as workers’ compensation insurance will cover the drug in this instance.
When You Can Go Beyond a Workers’ Comp Settlement
The Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act does not provide compensation for non-economic damages, such as for pain and suffering, and does not fully reimburse lost wages. However, there are situations where you may be entitled to file a separate personal injury lawsuit and receive additional compensation. Damage awards for pain and suffering are determined by a jury based on the severity of the injuries and may be substantial.
Examples of these situations include:
- When a third party’s negligence or wrongdoing caused your injuries, such as if an outside contractor caused a vehicle crash while you were working on the job.
- If your employer does not subscribe to workers’ compensation, or if you are considered to be an independent contractor.
In addition, you may also file a lawsuit for:
- Denied coverage – If employers deny coverage, claiming you are an independent contractor, and this is a misclassification
- Retaliation – If you were fired from a job because you filed for or received workers’ compensation benefits.
Get Help from a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in South Bend, IN
No matter what the cause of your work-related injury or illness, the compassionate lawyers at Coriden & Coriden in South Bend, Indiana, are here to help you get the benefits you deserve. Let us take care of all the paperwork, deadlines, documentation, legal requirements and appeals, so you can focus on your recovery.
Call a South Bend, IN, workers’ compensation lawyer at Coriden & Coriden today at 812-375-9800 to get started.