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Guide for Injured Workers (Do’s and Don’t’s) about the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Process

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Do's & Don'ts of the Indiana Worker's Compensation ProcessBelow is a list of some of the most important things an injured worker in Indiana should both know and do.  We like to call these the Do's and Don't's of the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Process?

  • Always report a work injury even if you might not lose time from work or might not need immediate medical care. It is beneficial to your claim for you to notify your employer as early in the process as possible.    
  • Remember to keep an independent record of the date, time, and nature of your work injury.  In addition, make a list of witnesses, and note the name and title of the person to whom the injury is reported.  
  • Be sure to provide a complete and accurate account of how the work injury occurred and fully list all injuries (i.e. each body part) you sustained.  For example, if the injury occurred on a construction site, be specific as to where (on the site) and how the construction injury occurred.
  • Keep a record of all parties or individuals involved in the work incident.  You may have a separate “third party” case if the work accident was caused by the actions of a person or company other than your employer or a coworker.    
  • If your employer fails to file a First Report of Injury, or otherwise notify their worker’s compensation insurance company about your work injury, contact a worker’s compensation lawyer immediately. 
  • Be certain that the wages upon which your temporary total disability (TTD) is based are complete and accurate. In most cases your TTD checks should be 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage (AWW).  This calculation should include all types of income from your employer and possibly income from outside sources as well.
  • Make sure to address all of your injuries with the medical providers.  Often times injured workers focus solely on the injury that hurts the most and this can later create problems.  Even if it is your “back injury” that is causing the most pain, make sure to mention a less painful “shoulder injury” to the doctor as well.
  • It is possible that your employer (or the insurance adjuster) may want to switch you to a different medical provider.  If this occurs, contact a work injury attorney to discuss whether this is a legal maneuver…or whether it might be “doctor shopping.”  
  • If a nurse case manager contacts you, or attempts to attend your medical appointments, make sure you understand that the nurse works for the insurance company and not for you.  It is important to understand what the nurse is allowed to do and what he/she is not.
  • If your employer offers you a light duty job (or modified work) based on your doctor’s work restrictions, make sure the offer is “reasonable”, and that it does not require you to do any functions which are beyond your stated restrictions.  Under no circumstances should your employer pressure you into violating your work restrictions.
  • Do not sign any forms, documents, or settlement agreements given to you by the insurance company (or their lawyer) without fully understanding all of the legal consequences.  Some forms have specific time deadlines attached to them which can affect your eligibility for valuable statutory rights.

I hope this is helpful to injured workers around Indianapolis and throughout the entire state of Indiana.

Indiana Worker’s Compensation Claimants (Injured Workers) Often Get Inaccurate & Unreliable Information About Their Legal Rights

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Indiana worker's compensation claimsDuring the life of a worker’s compensation claim injured workers are exposed to many people.  It can be overwhelming when claimants don’t know whom they can trust and whom they cannot.  The truth is that the vast majority of these people are compensated by the insurance company, in one way or another, and they often provide the injured worker, either intentionally or unintentionally, with inaccurate information.  Many times, claimants rely on this information and end up missing out on benefits that they should receive.  It is important for workers to understand that, in Indiana, a worker’s compensation claim is part of an adversarial system.  The insurance company tries hard to wind-up with a result that is best for them, and the claimants must do the same.  The problem is that worker’s comp claimants are rarely as knowledgeable about what they should receive as the adjusters are.  This creates an unfair playing field. 

Regardless of how friendly or helpful an insurance adjuster or nurse case manager may seem on a particular claim, it is important for injured workers to understand that the “other side” has no legal or ethical obligation to tell them how to maximize their rightful benefits.  It is up to injured workers to learn this on their own (which is often times unrealistic), or to hire an Indiana worker’s compensation lawyer to level the playing field.

Even after claimants hire a knowledgeable work injury attorney, they are still often given “bad information” from nurse case managers and even sometimes from the treating doctors themselves.  The best course of action for injured employees is to take this “information” with a grain of salt and to discuss it with their attorney before considering it to be reliable.

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