Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Are Here to Help You Get The Benefits You Deserve
If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp is an insurance program that is intended to provide medical, rehabilitation and income benefits for workplace-related injuries; but, too often, awards are disputed or denied altogether by employers and their insurance companies.
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 and also want to pay out as little as possible, and they 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.
Fortunately, you do not have to fight for a workers’ comp settlement alone. If you’ve been injured on the job, an experienced District 1, Indiana, workers’ compensation lawyer can 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.
How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in District 1, IN, Helps 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 District 1 workers’ comp lawyers can:
- Make sure you know what to say and do after you are injured to meet Indiana requirements and prevent hurting your case
- Ensure all claim forms are filled out correctly, in a timely manner
- Investigate how the accident happened, interviewing witnesses and gathering 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.
Benefits Available in District 1, Indiana
Covered employees who are injured at work and timely file claims are eligible for no-fault benefits in Indiana.
Usually, workers like independent contractors and temporary workers are not “employees” in Indiana. However, all workers are presumptively legal employees in the Hoosier State. Employers must carefully follow certain rules if they designate workers as non-employees, and these designations are not the final word in the matter.
“At work” generally means any activity which benefits the employer in any way. For example, if Michael is hurt at a company softball game, his injury probably occurred “at work” for workers’ compensation purposes. Healthy and happy employees who work well together benefit the employer. Additionally, the advertising at the game, like the company’s name on a jersey, benefits the employer.
Most injured workers must notify their employers within thirty days of injury or the onset of illness. They must also follow proper procedures, such as filing all required forms, which can be found on the Indiana workers’ compensation website, within required time frames.
This requirement is a bit tricky if the worker has an occupational disease, like hearing loss. Most of these victims don’t immediately seek help for such conditions. A District 1 workers’ compensation attorney can use a variation of the discovery rule to protect the legal and financial rights of these victims.
Lost wage replacement may be the most important workers’ compensation benefit. Typically, the injured victim’s wages are the family’s only or primary income source. Several types of wage replacement benefits are available:
- Temporary Total Disability: Most job injuries cause TTD injuries. The victim cannot work until s/he fully recovers. In these cases, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of the temporary disability.
- Permanent Total Disability: An injury is completely disabling if, considering medical, educational, vocational, and other factors, the victim is unable to work. Generally, these victims, or their survivors, receive a settlement based on the victim’s likely future AWW.
- Permanent Partial Disability: Many injuries never fully heal. For example, if Tony breaks his shoulder, he may permanently lose some range of motion in that joint. PPD benefits fill the financial gap between what Tony could have earned and what he will now probably earn.
All lost wage replacement benefits hinge on the average weekly wage (AWW). This figure is sometimes difficult to calculate, because it includes not only regular cash pay, but also irregular and non-cash pay, like overtime and per diem.
Workers’ compensation benefits in Indiana also include medical bill payment. Some examples include:
- Transportation expenses, like ambulance costs
- Emergency care
- Follow-up care
- Medical devices
- Prescription drugs
- Physical or occupational therapy.
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.
When our Coriden & Coriden lawyers handle your case, we will work to make sure you receive all benefits you are entitled to.
District 1 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 District 1, Indiana 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 District 1, Indiana 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 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 having to manually lift patients.
So, if you work at facilities in District 1 such as Witham Hospital in Lebanon, CNH America in Lebanon, Frito Lay in Frankfort, Zachary Confections in Frankfort, Franciscan Health in Hammond, or Community Hospital in Munster, you may face a significantly higher injury risk.
What are the most common work injuries?
In general, all workplace injuries are either trauma injuries, which occur suddenly and without warning, or occupational diseases, which occur gradually over time. Some specific examples include:
- Falls: More work days are lost to falls than any other kind of injury. A fall from as little as four stories above ground is normally fatal. Slip-and-fall injuries are especially serious for people with pre-existing conditions. These serious injuries include broken bones and head injuries.
- Repetitive Stress Injuries: Manual laborers often have issues with knee, ankle, thigh, and other joint pain, since they spend so much time bending, kneeling, and stooping. Office workers often have issues with computer vision syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. Usually, complete rest is the only effective treatment for these occupational diseases.
- Assaults: Frequently, employers don’t intervene to break up petty disputes between workers before these disputes become violent. A related cause is hiring individuals with questionable backgrounds or combustible personalities. Workers’ comp also usually covers third-party assaults, as long as the incident occurred on work property.
- Hearing Loss: This condition affects about eight million Americans. The physical problems are just the beginning. Hearing gloss has emotional effects as well. Frequently, these victims withdraw from family and friends. If doctors don’t catch it early, hearing loss is very difficult to treat.
A pre-existing or non-work condition often affects the severity of the trauma injury or occupational disease. Usually, a District 1 workers’ comp attorney can obtain maximum benefits in these cases. Typically, insurance companies cannot use a victim’s vulnerabilities as an excuse to reduce or deny workers’ comp benefits.
What if my employer does not have workers’ comp insurance?
Usually, the law requires employers to carry workers’ comp insurance. Many companies ignore this requirement. Since the penalty for not having insurance is typically just a fine, and the chances of being caught are remote, many companies figure it’s worth the risk. Other companies lie to their insurance carriers about matters like payroll size or number of employees. When insurance companies discover these lies, they immediately deny coverage.
Indiana law protects injured workers in these situations. These victims can usually file injury claims in civil court. Moreover, the law generally prohibits these employers from using certain “silver bullet” negligence defenses, like comparative fault and assumption of the risk. Therefore, it’s easier to prove negligence, or a lack of care. If the victim/plaintiff prevails, the employer must not only pay economic damages, like lost wages and medical expenses. The employer is also responsible for emotional distress and other noneconomic damages.
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.
- If you feel that you are entitled to compensation above and beyond what the workers’ comp claim pays out, you should certainly contact a lawyer to help you figure out what you can file and help you build a case that is going to be successful.
Get Help from a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in District 1, IN
No matter what the cause of your work-related injury or illness, the compassionate lawyers at Coriden & Coriden in District 1, 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 District 1 workers’ compensation lawyer at Coriden & Coriden today at 812-375-9800 to get started.
Attorney Terry Coriden
Terry Coriden practices workers’ compensation law as a Partner at Coriden & Coriden, LLC. His entire professional career as an attorney has been committed to workers’ compensation law and making a difference in his community. He is also highly experienced in mediation. Terry is a member and past president of the Bartholomew County Bar Association, a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, and a former board member of the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum (ICLEF). [ Attorney Bio ]