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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What Happens When Someone Is Injured at Work By Another Employee in Indiana?

In an ideal world, people would go to work each day and return home without ever having to suffer an injury. Unfortunately, that is not the real one. It's the reason why there is a system that allows injured employees to file a workers' compensation claim, which is especially important to those who have been badly injured and need to replace the lost wages.

When people think about Indiana law in this sense though, the injuries are thought of to be either self-inflicted or along the lines of a freak accident involving some kind of machinery. What about when the injury comes at the hands of a colleague? Does the law protect injured workers against that sort of thing?

What Do Worker Rights in Indiana Look Like?

What Do Worker Rights in Indiana Look Like?

Here's a good base to start at before trying to dissect what workers' compensation insurance will cover and what it will not. All workers are afforded certain rights while they are on the job. A Indianapolis workers comp law firm assists clients in keeping these rights protected as they try to get properly compensated for a workplace injury. The rights in question include the following:

  1. The right to seek a second opinion

  2. The right to compensation in line with a permanent partial impairment rating based on qualification

  3. The right to gain permanent total disability benefits if applicable

  4. The right to return to work under the right circumstances

  5. The right to be able to seek treatment from a medical professional

  6. The right to file a compensation claim if an injury should occur at work

  7. The right to reimbursement for mileage and prescription costs

The Indiana Workers' Compensation Benefits Element

Filing an Indiana worker's compensation claim is possible because most employees are covered. This worker's compensation coverage allows these employees to a level of reimbursement by their employer or company's insurance carrier to cover lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and medical expenses. This should all come without the employee needing to file any kind of suit against the employer.

There is further protection for the employer against lawsuits because the state law applies the "exclusive remedy" principle to workers' compensation benefits. This imposes a limit on the extent to which workers can get compensation and also protects businesses from being sued over work-related injuries.

Even with this being the case, there are circumstances under which the injured party can go the personal injury lawsuit route against a third party for an accident that happened in conjunction with work.

This is called a third-party lawsuit and will be filed in instances such as the following:

  • Auto accident: Perhaps a worker was involved in a car accident while on the clock and carrying out activities for the benefit of the business. If the other driver was at fault, then that person could be sued for damages.

  • Lack of workers' compensation benefits: A contractor can hire someone to work for another company, which would make that person a subcontractor. Construction site accidents are not uncommon and the subcontractor could be a victim of one. In this case, the property owner could be sued for failure to fix the hazards present or to provide adequate warning.

  • Premises liability: A delivery driver, for example, could be hurt in a slip and fall accident, which may allow them to hold the owner of the property liable.

  • Product and equipment defects: If there is dangerous or defective equipment or machinery at play, the product manufacturer or the company that has been contracted for maintenance of the said equipment could be liable.

Effectively, third-party negligence claims will come into play whenever there is someone other than the employer or coworker who is responsible for the work-related injury and the effects that it has. Note that there may also be grounds to sue in this way if work for the employer was being conducted at a location other than the company-owned location(s). Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help answer questions like Do I get full pay if injured at work in Indiana?

Third-party Claim Vs. Worker's Compensation Claim

These two claim types are incredibly similar considering that both are legal processes with an injured party trying to get compensation for an incident.

However, third-party claims are handled in civil courts with the combination of a judge and jury. On the other hand, the Indiana Worker's Compensation Board will be the one handling workers' comp claims with the ultimate decision coming down to what hearing members have to say.

Bear in mind that there is a no-fault system in the realm of worker's compensation while the injured party would need to prove negligence in a third-party claim. Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for a repetitive work injury in Indiana too.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Third-party Claims?

Third-party claims need to be filed within two years of the time that the accident occurs. However, if there is defective machinery or equipment involved, that limitation extends to 10 years following the accident. Note that an exception is made if there are new defective parts that would have been added within the last 10 years that resulted in the accident happening.

Additionally, whatever part of the money paid from the third-party claim can be used to reimburse the worker's compensation carrier for whatever benefits would have been already paid over to the injured worker.

Injured Workers Should Report Work-related Injuries Early

Injured Workers Should Report Work-related Injuries Early

Regardless of the way the injury happened and who may be responsible, it's essential to report any workplace accident as early as possible. If hurt by a coworker, file a report to the employer quickly. The details involved should include:

  1. When (date and time) and where the injury happened

  2. Any details of the injury

  3. What kind of medical treatment has been received since the injury happened

  4. Who was involved in the accident

  5. How the injury took place.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Indiana Work Injury Attorney Today!

While it's good that worker's compensation covers injuries caused by other coworkers, claiming the benefits will not always be an easy task. Additionally, when there are third parties involved, it becomes a civil matter where an injury lawsuit may need to be filed.

Thankfully, a qualified Indiana work injury lawyer can offer the guidance and representation you need. Schedule a free consultation today with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys!


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