Worker's Comp FAQs
Q: Can I go to my own doctor?
A: The insurance company must pay for all of your medical care but they also get to pick the doctor. However, there are certain circumstances when this can be legally challenged, and in some cases, we can acquire a second opinion from an independent doctor (one not chosen by the insurance company) at no cost to you.
Nurse Case Managers
Q: Who is this nurse and why is she calling me and talking to my doctors?
A: The nurse case managers are hired by the insurance company. They are not actually providing any medical care to you. Their job is to save the insurance company money and they often try to influence the doctors on important issues like what medical care is needed and when you can return to work. There are a variety of legal strategies we can use to limit their involvement in your case.
Q: What money do I get if I can't work?
A: During your medical care you are entitled to receive temporary total disability (TTD) checks if you are disabled or restricted from working. The amount of your weekly check is a percentage of how much you were making before your injury. The insurance company is often slow in issuing these checks and sometimes miscalculates your rate or forgets to properly include certain money you were earning…which can result in an underpayment to you.
Light Duty Work
Q: Do I have to go back to work if I have work restrictions?
A: The insurance company will sometimes get the employer to offer "light duty" work so they can avoid paying lost wage checks (TTD) to you. Generally speaking you should try to perform the light duty work, as long as the work offered is "reasonable". The employer should not ask you to perform any duties that are beyond your doctor's work restrictions.
Q: What can I do if my adjuster is slow or doesn’t return my telephone calls?
A: Adjusters are busy and have lots of files but there is no excuse for ignoring or neglecting your case. There are ways to get other people involved when adjusters are nonresponsive and, in certain situations, a special filing with the WC Board can be used to seek additional damages for this neglect.
Q: What is a permanent partial impairment (PPI) rating and do I have to accept it for my settlement?
A: A PPI rating is the percentage of your body that has been permanently damaged. The insurance company gets to pick your doctors so it is common for them to give conservative (or “lower”) PPI ratings. It is very rare for us to recommend that a client settle for just the value of the initial PPI rating. We often challenge the rating in a variety of ways, and many times we seek to include other things (besides the PPI rating) into our settlement proposals.
Q: Should worker's comp pay for my future medical needs?
A: Insurance companies usually try to cut off all money and medical treatment when their doctor places you at maximum medical improvement (MMI). Acquiring the right kind of medical evidence can increase your chance of receiving extended medical treatment or having the cost of the future medical care added to your settlement.
Employer (Or Coworker) Negligence
Q: Can I sue my employer for my injury?
A: Indiana law does not allow injured workers to sue their employers in regular court for the employer’s negligence. That is why it is important to do everything you can to maximize your worker’s compensation recovery. However, in some situations you could have a separate negligence case (a “third party case”) if an unrelated person or company caused your injury.
Loss Of Job
Q: Can my employer fire me?
A: An Indiana employer may not terminate you in retaliation for pursuing worker’s compensation benefits.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a lawyer and do I really need one?
A: An attorney’s fee in a worker’s compensation case is set by the WC Board. The fee is a percentage (20% and sometimes less) of the money you recover and every attorney in the State has to do it the same way. There are no up-front fees and no hourly charges. There is never a charge for your initial telephone consultation, so you can discuss your case for free before making your decision.
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