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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

A Guide on How to File a Lawsuit for Workers Compensation in Indiana

Sadly, the world just doesn't stop spinning because of someone who gets injured on the job. Employees have to deal with grueling physical and emotional pain when a workplace accident hurts them or makes them sick. Many even lose the ability to work. However, they still have to pay their bills and provide for their families.

Workers' compensation is a safety net for people who are injured or become ill while on the job site. Available in Indiana and other states as a mandatory requirement for employers, this program provides compensation for medical care and income protection to workplace accident victims and their dependents.

Filing a workers' compensation claim can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, especially for people who aren't familiar with the legal system. However, this process is essential for injured employees to receive the cash benefits they're entitled to following an accident that can greatly impact their lives.

This guide explains what employees must do to pursue compensation for a workplace injury or illness in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Steps to File a Workers' Compensation Claim

Steps to File a Workers' Compensation Claim

Most Indiana employers are legally required to carry workers' compensation insurance. These businesses must provide coverage for medical bills and lost wages related to a job-site injury or illness to all employees subject to Indiana Code 22-3-2-2.

In order to receive workers' compensation benefits, injured employees must file a claim, which involves taking certain steps and meeting specific deadlines. This is what the process looks like:

Step 1: Inform the Employer About the Incident

As mentioned, Indiana employers must provide employees with workers' compensation coverage. Therefore, the first step in filing a claim is to inform them about the situation.

Indiana workers must report their workplace injury or illness to their supervisors as soon as possible according to the policies set by their employers.

When an injured worker reports the incident, employers provide a claim form that must be filled out with detailed information about the wounds or illnesses within 10 days. Employees should keep a copy of notices and forms for their records.

Step 2: Seek Medical Care

Injured workers should also seek medical treatment as soon as they realize they've been harmed or become ill. It's important to be honest and thorough. Doctors will diagnose and treat their condition.

Furthermore, medical professionals document patients' injuries and prepare the necessary evidence for a worker's compensation claim. During this checkup, employees should keep records of their medications, doctor's appointments, diagnoses, and treatments.

Step 3: File the Worker's Compensation Claim

After reporting the workplace incident and receiving treatment for their wounds, injured employees can file a claim with a suitable party, providing as many details as possible.

Worker's compensation claims require comprehensive information about the following:

  • The severity of injuries or illnesses

  • The date, time, place, and circumstances of the injury

  • The medical treatment received

  • Details about the employer-employee relationship

  • Other relevant information

Injured employees can file workers' compensation claims themselves or through an attorney. In both scenarios, it's a good idea to be detailed and provide as much documentation as possible.

Step 4: Understand the Indiana Workers' Compensation System

Filing workers' compensation claims is complex because there are many things to understand. Although they all have the same program, each state sets slightly different rules and requirements.

While the Indiana Workers' Compensation Act requires almost all employers to carry this insurance, not all workers are eligible for these benefits. The following employees are exempt from this law:

  • Casual workers

  • Railroad employees

  • Independent contractors

  • Agricultural employees

  • Household employees

  • Executives and owners

  • Government employees

Almost all workplace injuries, including traumatic ones, and occupational illnesses are covered by workers' compensation, but there may be some exceptions. Similarly, the benefits employees can receive may vary based on several factors, such as the extent of their condition and the time they miss from work.

Injured employees need legal counsel from an experienced workers' compensation attorney to understand these complexities and determine the best course of action for their cases. They can also help with how to file a lawsuit for wrongful death in Indiana.

Step 5: Follow Up with the Employer

Under Indiana law, employers have seven days from the time the workplace injury is reported to file an Employer's Report of Injury Form with the insurer and provide workers with a copy.

After that, the insurance company must contact the Indiana Workers' Compensation Board to start investigations. Injured employees must receive copies and information relevant to this process. If employers don't submit the report, workers should seek legal counsel immediately.

What If the Employee Denies the Claim?

If employers deny a workers' comp claim, employees can file a Request for Assistance with the Indiana Workers' Compensation Board to initiate a dispute resolution process.

An experienced attorney can help injured employees take the necessary steps to appeal this decision as well as explain how to file a lawsuit for personal injury in Indiana.

Can Injured Workers Pursue a Third-Party Lawsuit in Indiana?

Under Indiana law, workers' compensation is an exclusive remedy. This means that employees cannot sue employers if they receive remuneration. Plus, limited benefits are available.

However, an injured worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party and sue them for additional damages that aren't covered by workers' compensation if they're hurt or become ill at work.

Third-Party Lawsuits in Indiana

Injured workers can file a third-party lawsuit when someone other than their employer or a coworker is responsible for their damages or when they're hurt on a property that isn't their workplace while performing job duties.

These are some examples of third-party lawsuits for work-related injuries and illnesses:

  • Defective equipment or products

  • Motor vehicle accidents

  • Premises liability incidents, such as slips and falls

  • Accidents involving employees who aren't covered by workers' compensation

Third-party lawsuits aren't handled by the Indiana Workers' Compensation Board but by civil courts. Claimants are required to prove that the other party was negligent in order to obtain remuneration.

How to File a Third-Party Lawsuit for a Workplace Injury in Indiana

How to File a Third-Party Lawsuit for a Workplace Injury in Indiana

In order to file a lawsuit against a third party for a work-related injury, employees must seek medical care and collect records to support their cases. However, they must file the claim with the at-fault party's insurance company. For more information, an Indianapolis work injury lawyer may be able to help.

If both parties fail to settle the claim for a mutually beneficial sum, injured employees can file a lawsuit. Below are the steps they must complete:

  1. Contact a personal injury lawyer to get their cases evaluated

  2. Establish legal standing or determine if they have the right to bring a suit in court

  3. Determine where to file the lawsuit

  4. File and serve a complaint with the proper court

  5. Deliver a copy of the complaint and summons to the defendant

  6. Gather and present evidence to support their cases

  7. Negotiate with the other party to settle the case without going to trial

  8. Go to trial and present the case before the jury or judge if both parties fail to reach a settlement

Final Thoughts

Besides impacting workers' overall health, occupational injuries and illnesses can push them and their families into financial instability. However, affected employees are entitled to compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages.

Indiana employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance to provide injured employees with cash benefits if they're hurt or become ill while on duty. However, filing a claim can be tedious. Also, many cases must be resolved through litigation.

Fortunately, a worker who suffered an injury or became ill in the workplace can find a seasoned lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. We'll go to war for employees in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact us today and request a free consultation!


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