Finally, after years of remaining at the same level, the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board and State of Indiana increased the financial recovery rates an injured worker can claim for their case. www.in.gov/wcb/files/PPIandTTD-benefits2023_1.3_.pdf For injuries that occur on or after July 1, 2023, an injured worker may recover more money for their PPI and TTD benefits. The schedule used by the state increases annually over the next four years. Understanding these rate tables can be complicated. Since every dollar for your work injury case is precious, you should contact Goodin Abernathy for legal help.
Worker’s Compensation Laws
Employees hurt on the job in Indiana are protected by Indiana’s Worker’s Compensation laws. Attorney Jim Browne and Goodin Abernathy regularly help our Hispanic clients navigate the legal process to protect their rights and fight for more benefits. This article highlights main points of the Indiana Worker’s Compensation process.
Each state uses different laws for their worker’s compensation (“work comp”) claims. In Indiana, a work injury is considered a civil law claim. It does not involve criminal or immigration law issues. Something a little different about work comp claims is an agency handles the legal process – not a court of law. The Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board is the agency that tracks and handles these cases. You can learn more about the Board at this website https://www.in.gov/wcb/
An important part about Indiana’s work comp law is that an employer cannot defend a case based on liability or fault. Unlike an auto accident or other typical type of injury claim, it does not matter whether an employee was negligent and did something to cause the accident. As long as the employee was not intoxicated or intended to hurt themself, Indiana requires the employer to offer benefits.
Unfortunately, we often hear that employers threaten immigration reporting or similar problems when their employees are injured. You should not be afraid of immigration issues. Indiana’s work comp law allows any worker to make a claim. Your immigration status does not affect your legal rights and does not involve notifying the U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (“ICE”) agency. Hispanic workers should not be concerned about immigration problems and notify their employer or supervisor immediately if injured on the job. Make sure to report your injury right away because waiting to do so may allow the employer to dispute responsibility.
Preliminarily, a couple legal issues we see affecting work comp claims involve whether the worker was an employee and whether the employer has insurance coverage. Determining whether an injured worker is an employee or independent contractor can be a complicated legal question. Since Indiana law does not require employers to offer independent contractors work comp benefits, let’s review some basic differences between employees and independent contractors.
Signs That Show A Worker Is An Employee
The worker is paid with a company check
Taxes are taken out of their pay checks
Worker does not work at other jobs
Worker does not have her/his own business
Worker uses the employer’s equipment
Worker regularly visits the employer’s place of business
Works the hours and schedule the employer chooses
An Independent Contractor Is Usually Identified When These Circumstances Apply
The worker has her / his own company
They work for various other companies
They do not work for the employer full time
They receive a 1099 tax form from the employer
They do not have taxes withheld from their payments
They use their own vehicles and equipment to perform the work
Worker’s compensation insurance coverage is an important part of the claim. Without insurance coverage, employers usually cannot pay the benefits they owe their injured employees. Many employers are small companies or individuals and choose not to pay for insurance. This is an important reason why you should ask if your employer has worker’s compensation insurance. A legal option that sometimes helps injured workers in these situations is if your employer is performing work for another company or contractor. Typical examples of this arrangement are found in construction and staffing agency arrangements. Indiana’s work comp law allows us to take one step up and make a claim for benefits from the general contractor or staffing agency if the primary employer does not carry insurance.
When an employee is injured on the job, Indiana law requires the employer to offer various benefits. The first and probably most important benefit is for medical treatment. If you visit the doctors, therapists and medical providers the employers offer, they must pay for all your costs. You are not responsible for deductible payments. You are not required to use your own health insurance or take FMLA time. Since your health and well-being are your primary concerns, you may seek medical treatment immediately after your work accident. If your employer or the insurance company deny you treatment, then you should seek legal help immediately. The attorneys at Goodin Abernathy understand the process and will explain your rights.
When a doctor or medical expert says you cannot work due to your injuries, you may claim Temporary Total Disability (“TTD”) payments. Indiana’s work comp law requires employers to pay two – thirds (66.66%) of your regular income while you cannot work. These TTD payments are not reduced for income tax or other typical withholdings. Before the payments start, the doctor must determine that you miss more than seven (7) consecutive days of work. If you miss thirty (30) consecutive days or more, than the employer must go back and pay you for the first 7 days of work that you missed. Sometimes, workers do not miss time off work immediately after their injury. But later, they require surgery or start treatment that keeps them off work. The TTD rules also apply to these subsequent periods of missed work.
When the employer or its insurance company determine that certain benefits should finish, they are required to send you a Termination of Benefits form. The form looks like this www.in.gov/wcb/files/Blank-38911.pdf If you dispute that benefits should stop, it is important to respond to these within seven days of receiving the form. If you fail to respond, then technically the employer may stop sending you the TTD benefits.
The final type of benefits owed to an injured employee involves the Permanent Partial Impairment (“PPI”) value of your injury. Basically, this benefit pays the employee for the future impairment they will suffer from the injury. That is, how will the injury interfere with their work and ability to earn income in the future. Calculating this benefit is complicated. For instance, the doctors and work comp Board uses the AMA Guidelines for reference. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/ama-guides/ama-guides-evaluation-permanent-impairment-overview. To understand it best, you should contact our Legalmente Hablando Indy team for representation. We will examine the medical records, show you how the government calculates the benefits and describe your legal options for maximizing recovery of PPI benefits.
Indiana law controls how attorneys charge for legal services in work comp claims. All attorneys in the state charge the same percentages for contingency fees. Since we charge a contingency fee, that means we collect our fees only when we win and you get paid money for your claim. If we do not collect money, then you do not pay. Our legal fee agreements are explained in both Spanish and English.
If you or a loved one are injured in a workplace accident, contact the Goodin Abernathy legal team. We handle death claims, amputations, orthopedic surgeries, electrocution, burns, explosions, head /brain injuries, spinal column fractures and broken bones. You will find we care about our clients and patiently explain the legal process. Count on us to aggressively represent your claim. Contact us today.
Many Hispanics working physical labor jobs face dangerous work conditions. Unfortunately, Hispanics and many other workers sacrifice their safety in hopes of keeping their jobs for income. Attorney Jim Browne and his Legalmente Hablando Indy legal team work daily with injured workers. Often attorney Browne must request work accident reports from the Indian Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (IOSHA). These reports describe investigation results after work injuries occur. Of course, Legalmente Hablando Indy prefers nobody gets hurt and workers enjoy safe conditions. So here are a couple options Hispanic laborers can use to prevent accidents.
IOSHA offers workers a way to privately request help enforcing safety standards in the work place. https://www.in.gov/dol/iosha/iosha-home/ IOSHA’s inspection may result in warnings or fines. But it will certainly help identify hazards and develop safety plans to reduce the risk of worker injury.
IOSHA offers two ways to file safety complaints. First, you may file a formal complaint. A formal complaint is made by a current employee or their representative. Formal complaints are assigned to a Compliance Officer for inspection, and they must meet the following requirements:
Asserts that an imminent danger, a violation of the IOSH Act or a violation of an IOSHA standard exposing employees to physical harm exists in the workplace;
Is submitted in writing; and
Is signed by at least one current employee or employee representative.
Another reporting option includes a “non-formal complaint.” Using this reporting keeps your identity anonymous. Your employer and co-workers do not learn that you or your representative made a safety complaint. A non-formal complaint does cause IOSHA to investigate the workplace for hazards complained of in the report. You may use this link to find the report in Spanish: https://www.osha.gov/form/osha7/espanol
Slip and trip injuries are the most common problems in work sites. Many of our Legalmente Hablando Indy clients suffer broken ankles, wrists and twisted knees in these accidents. We also represent many clients who have suffered injuries after falling from heights, like roofs, ladders and scaffolds. Since so much velocity and force is involved with these accidents, our clients typically suffered serious closed head injuries, broken bones and tragically, even death.
The demolition industry exposes many of our clients to additional dangers. Typically, our demolition clients are injured when heavy objects, like walls, ceilings or pipes fall onto them. Or they are burned by electric wires and fall from scissor lifts.
Amputations are injuries attorney Browne also focuses on for Indiana Worker’s Compensation claims. The amputation injury involves a special set of regulations for determining benefits. Goodin Abernathy is experienced in fighting for our clients’ best medical and financial recoveries. Contact us for free in person, telephone or video consultations if you, a friend or loved one has suffered a work injury. Jim Browne and his team care about our Hispanic clients work to provide them the best legal service available in Indiana.
Whether you’ve been in a car accident or slipped and fallen, one thing is certain: proper documentation can make or break your personal injury case in Indiana. That’s because documentation establishes the facts, determines liability, and helps secure the compensation you deserve. With so much on the line, it’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the importance of documenting personal injuries in Indiana. This blog is your ultimate guide to navigating the complexities of injury documentation. We’ll cover everything from relevant laws to tips for proper documentation and the critical role an experienced personal injury attorney can play in your case.
Understanding Personal Injury Law in Indiana
Definition of personal injury
Personal injury can take many forms, from physical harm to emotional or psychological distress, and it often arises from the careless or intentional actions of others. Fortunately, Indiana law allows victims to pursue compensation for their injuries and losses through the legal system. This area of law provides a framework for seeking damages and holding negligent parties accountable. In this post, we’ll delve deeper into personal injury law in Indiana, exploring how it can help you recover from the harm you’ve suffered.
Common types of personal injury cases
Some of the most common personal injury cases in Indiana include:
Indiana’s personal injury law operates under a “comparative fault” system, which allows you to recover damages even if you share some of the blame for an accident, as long as your fault is less than 51%. Your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For instance, if you are 30% at fault for an accident and your damages total $100,000, you can receive $70,000 in compensation.
Statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Indiana
Another crucial aspect of Indiana’s personal injury law is the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit, which is typically two years from the date of the incident. It’s crucial to act quickly in pursuing your claim, as missing this deadline can bar you from seeking compensation. However, there are exceptions and nuances to this rule, and consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you navigate these complexities and protect your rights.
Tips for Properly Documenting Your Personal Injury
Establishing evidence to support your claim
Documenting your personal injury is crucial for establishing the evidence necessary to support your claim. This evidence provides a clear and objective record of the incident, including the extent of your injuries and the damages you’ve suffered. With proper documentation, you can paint a vivid picture of what happened and demonstrate the other party’s liability, which is key to securing the compensation you deserve.
Be thorough and accurate in your documentation
When compiling documentation for a personal injury claim, it is crucial to be meticulous and precise in documenting all pertinent details. This approach will bolster your case and simplify the task of your legal representative in comprehending and advocating for your claim.
Keep all documents organized and easily accessible
To improve the efficiency and accessibility of important information, it is recommended that you implement a systematic organization of your documents. Whether it be through digital or physical means, maintaining a well-ordered documentation system can benefit you, your attorney, and your insurance company in swiftly and effectively reviewing necessary materials.
Update your personal injury journal regularly
Maintaining an up-to-date personal injury journal is crucial to building a strong case. Regularly documenting physical pain, emotional distress, and any changes in your condition can provide a comprehensive account of how your injury has impacted your life. This information can be critical evidence to support your claim, so it is essential to keep your journal organized and regularly updated.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Assessing the strength of your case
A lawyer specializing in personal injury cases has the expertise to analyze your situation, review the available evidence, and offer an objective evaluation of its viability. Furthermore, they can guide you on the probable outcomes and help you determine whether settling out of court or pursuing litigation would be the most advantageous course of action.
Ensuring proper documentation
A seasoned lawyer can assist you in navigating the complexities of compiling and arranging all the essential paperwork required for your personal injury lawsuit. They can pinpoint any gaps or insufficiencies in the evidence and guarantee that your case is established on a firm footing.
Negotiating with insurance companies
Insurance providers frequently try to reduce their financial liabilities by contesting or underestimating the value of claims. An attorney specializing in personal injury cases can act as your representative in negotiations with the insurance company, leveraging their legal know-how and familiarity with your case to achieve the most favorable settlement outcome on your behalf.
Representing you in court, if necessary
If your case goes to trial, your attorney will represent your interests in court, presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and making persuasive arguments to the judge or jury on your behalf.
Maximizing your compensation
An attorney specializing in personal injury cases can play a crucial role in safeguarding your rights and ensuring that you receive adequate compensation for your medical bills, lost income, emotional distress, and other losses resulting from your injury. Their proficiency and unwavering commitment can have a substantial impact on the resolution of your case, potentially resulting in a more favorable outcome for you.
Consult with Goodin Abernathy for Expert Personal Injury Representation
If you have sustained a personal injury in Indiana, it’s essential to act swiftly. You can rely on the professionals at Goodin Abernathy to assist you in navigating the process of documenting your injury and pursuing compensation. Our team of devoted attorneys is dedicated to providing tailored legal guidance, safeguarding your rights, and advocating for your best interests. Reach out to us now to schedule a complimentary, obligation-free consultation to discuss your case and examine your legal alternatives. Let us work in partnership with you to secure the most favorable resolution for your personal injury lawsuit.
Falls account for one in three construction site accident deaths. However, not all accidents are so extreme that they result in death. For many people, their injuries include bruises, cuts, broken bones, and concussions. However, it doesn’t matter if the injury is minor or severe. If it impacts your ability to work, it affects your life and family. The lawyers at Goodin Abernathy understand that a construction injury can be a life-altering accident. They fight hard to secure their clients just compensation for their injuries.
The most cited OSHA safety regulation violation is the lack of fall protection on construction sites. Completed buildings have several safety features in place to protect people from falling. Buildings that are in the construction process do not have these features installed yet. This and the very nature of working up high puts construction workers at a greater risk of falling. For example, from ladders, rooftops, scaffolding, or large machinery. When you fall from a tall height, your body is at risk of breaking bones and bruising upon impact.
Other common causes of broken bones are struck-by accidents or crush accidents. This is when the construction worker gets struck by or crushed by a vehicle, machinery, or equipment. Broken bones can take months to heal, then require many more months of rehab. In some situations, the victim may never fully regain the functionality of their broken limb.
Because construction sites are buildings in progress, they have an increased risk of electrocution. Exposed wiring and generators present a risk by exposing construction workers to electricity. Then there is the use of power tools and electrical equipment as an everyday part of the job. If these tools are not properly maintained, they can have an electrical short that injures the user. Finally, excavation and site trenching activities can result in a construction worker unknowingly hitting buried electrical wires. When someone experiences electrocution, they can experience nerve damage, respiratory problems, seizures, and brain damage. These injuries could be short-term or long-lasting, depending on the severity of the electrocution.
Knee and Ankle Injury
Construction sites are not easy places to walk. Building materials, equipment, and tools are strewn about. Then there is the uneven ground, holes, and trenches. Navigating this minefield of potential danger can sometimes result in a slip or trip and fall. When this happens, knee and ankle injuries also occur. Minor injuries may require the injured worker to stay off their foot for weeks or months. More serious injuries could require surgery.
Sometimes back injuries happen from falls, being struck by, or being caught in-between accidents. But they can also occur from over-exertion. Simply being required to carry or move equipment that is too heavy for you can cause a back injury. These injuries can debilitate a person, rendering them unable to sit or stand for extended periods of time. Recovery can require rest and physical therapy to heal and strengthen the back muscles.
Head and Brain Injury
There is a reason construction workers wear hard hats. Even a minor bump to the head can cause a head or brain injury. Head injuries are tricky; minor injuries rarely cause long-term problems. However, severe injuries can create extensive complications that are long-lasting. If a construction worker suffers a head injury, they should get checked by a doctor. The most common type of injury is a concussion. Recovery requires rest, which can keep you from work. In contrast, severe head injuries can impact speech, coordination, seizures, and cognitive thought. Effects can directly impact the victim’s ability to function and prevent them from going back to work.
Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury occurs when a sudden and traumatic blow to your spine causes your spinal bones to crush, compress, or dislocate. This movement of the bones damages the spinal cord located within them. Because your spinal cord is a tight bundle of nerves that acts as a central command center for your body, these injuries can have far-reaching effects. You could experience minor numbness or total paralysis. Injury to your spinal cord is permanent. This type of injury is life-altering and affects every part of a construction worker’s life.
Asbestos and lead were once commonly found in construction. These materials are harmful to the human body. Construction workers who work on an older building could be exposed to these hazards. However, they aren’t the only dangers that can cause illness. Construction workers exposed to toxins, chemicals, solvents, and pesticides are at risk of suffering illness. This type of injury is more challenging to prove liability for. Unlike physical injuries, illness does not always happen right away. Sometimes, it can take years for the illness to become known. If you worked in construction and suspect that your illness is a result, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney.
Loss of Limb
In some caught in-between accidents, a construction worker may lose a limb. This happens when the victim gets caught where they shouldn’t be. The limb gets caught, causing it to get crushed. Another common occurrence is the loss of a finger or toe. Fingers can easily get caught in the way of a sharp blade. Toes can become injured when heavy equipment or building supplies get dropped on the foot. Depending on the limb lost, this injury can prevent the construction worker from continuing to work in the construction industry.
Internal Organ Damage
Being caught between, crushing, and fall accidents can have a devastating impact on the human body. While external damages are readily assessed, internal organ damage can lead to potentially life-threatening complications. Surgery may be required to repair the injury and stop bleeding. It can then take months or over a year for the individual to heal. During this time, they may not be able to work.
Hire a Goodin Abernathy LLP Lawyer
The Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys handle worker’s compensation and negligence claims for clients injured on construction sites. These two legal claims involve difficult issues in which the Goodin Abernathy attorneys are experienced taking to court and fighting for our clients’ recoveries. A “work comp” case involves making a claim against the worker’s employer for statutory benefit. These include medical treatment, lost wages and physical impairment.
A “negligence” claim is the second legal area that many attorneys are not as experienced in handling. In certain situations, an injured worker can make legal claims against general contractors, project supervisors, project owners or other services typically involved in a construction project. Especially in death, amputation or serious injuries, we need to make sure our clients exhaust their legal remedies and collect the damages they are entitled to under the law. That’s why we help our clients recover more money for damages through negligence cases compared to only going after a work comp claim. In serious injuries, amputations or death claims, call the Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys right away. We care about our clients, their families and supporting them with first-rate representation.
Do not wait to seek treatment if you’ve experienced an injury while working on a construction site. Once you have a diagnosis and treatment plan, consider speaking with a lawyer. The team at Goodin Abernathy has experience representing injured construction workers. They fight for the compensation they deserve to ensure they have financial security.
Indiana enacted its first Worker’s Compensation Act in 1915 in response to a growing number of workers injured on the job who had no guaranteed means of receiving medical treatment for injuries or wage replacement income during their physical recovery. Prior to enacting its first Worker’s Compensation Act, when an Indiana worker was injured, the worker was permitted to sue their employer in court in an effort to get compensation. However, lawsuits were time consuming, expensive, and frequently left the injured worker in a position where they were unable to obtain medical attention while their lawsuit was working its way through court because time was lost to address arguments from employers that the worker caused the accident or assumed the risk of the accident. The Workers Compensation Act struck a compromise between the competing interests of the worker and the employer and moved to a no-fault based system. In short, and in general, employers were stripped of the ability to claim the worker caused the accident. In exchange for this concession, injured workers were deprived from collecting pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life damages.
In today’s Indiana Worker’s Compensation system, this means when a worker is injured “on the clock” when they slip and fall, or are injured in a car accident, or are injured in a construction accident, the worker’s employer is not permitted to claim the worker should have paid more attention to what they were doing when the event occurred. However, some important employer-based fault arguments are still available to employers. For example, pursuant to I.C. 22-3-2-8, employers may raise affirmative defenses that no money is owed because the injury was 1) due to the employee’s knowingly self-inflicted injury, 2) due to intoxication, 3) due to the commission of an offense (not including traffic violations), 4) due to a knowing failure to use a safety appliance, 5) due to a knowing failure to obey a reasonable written or printed safety rule which has been posted in a conspicuous position in the place of work, or 6) due to a knowing failure to perform any statutory duty.
Disagreements often occur when an employer raises one of these defenses, and if left unresolved, a judge is asked to determine whether the employer’s defense is valid at a hearing. Like many areas in law, an exploration into the facts of an individual matter is usually necessary to assess the validity of these types of defenses. For example, just because a worker is intoxicated or impaired at the moment the worker is injured, it does not necessarily mean the employer does not owe compensation. Indeed, there is a difference between a drunk worker being injured when the worker drives a delivery truck off the road compared to a drunk worker performing his work satisfactorily when a co-worker accidentally drops an item from above that strikes and injures the worker.
Similarly, not every failure to use a safety appliance or knowing failure to obey a posted and written safety rule bars a recovery. When an employer allows the alleged prohibited conduct to occur or also engages in the prohibited conduct, the employer will not be able to shield itself from responsibility. As an illustration in an industrial or machine setting, if an employer posts an open and obvious sign that machinery must be shut down before it is cleaned, but observes employees cleaning the machine while it is not shut down, the employer will not be allowed to rely on a fault-type defense.
An injured worker potentially has two legal claims to recover damages. First, they have an Indiana Worker’s Compensation claim against their employer. Second, they may be able to collect from a responsible third-party.
Each state has its own work injury laws. Indiana’s system starts with making a claim through a government agency – the Worker’s Compensation Board. This agency operates very similar to a court. Papers are filed, attorneys are used and hearing members make decisions like judges. This link takes you to the main page for the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board website. https://www.in.gov/wcb/ Go to the bottom of the page and look for a translation button. You can change it from English to Spanish, if necessary.
Another easy way to learn about Indiana’s worker’s compensation laws is to watch my YouTube videos. Search for Legalmente Hablando Indy or Goodin Abernathy LLP on the YouTube website. Here is an introduction video Jim Browne recorded that covers worker’s compensation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHV1TB21TZ4 You will learn that work injury claims allow employees to claim these benefits: medical costs, lost wages and a permanent partial impairment rating. The medical costs include charges for an ambulance, hospital, doctors, nurses, physical therapy, medicine, x-rays or MRI’s.
If a treating doctor orders an employee not to work for medical reasons related to the injury, the employer must pay for lost wages or salary. This is called Total Temporary Disability (“TTD”). The worker is paid 66.66% of her regular pay. But tax is not applied to the money. So if the worker usually earns $100.00 per week, then the employer owes $66.66 for each week the employee is unable to work.
Finally, if the injury is serious, the worker may claim a Permanent Partial Impairment. This idea is to compensate workers for physical and work problems they will suffer in the future. The State of Indiana created a list of dollar values for these injuries that limit a worker’s recovery. I can usually help improve the financial recovery for my clients.
Indiana requires employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance. If a worker is injured on the job, the employer’s insurance will cover these costs. If the employer does not have insurance, the law allows the injured worker to make claims against the contractor who hired the employer for the job. Frequently I help clients step up the ladder and find insurance to collect from.
If a person or company, other than the employer or a co-worker, causes a worker injury, then we can make a “third-party” claim for negligence. Negligence law is different from the worker’s compensation claim. Those cases are opened in a typical court with judges. A big difference between the two cases involves damages for pain and suffering. An injured worker can claim damage for pain and suffering in a negligence claim – but not in an Indiana Worker’s Compensation claim.
We are experienced handling various types of third-party negligence claims. Sometimes they are against construction companies where the general contractor has a legal, contractual duty to provide safety for workers on the job. We have handled claims where workers for other companies cause an accident. For instance, an electrician was on a scissor lift. A plumber drove a fork lift over the lift’s electric cord, pulled the it over and caused our client to fall 20 feet. Or, we have clients who were driving a vehicle for their job when another car caused them a wreck.
Remember, insurance companies are in business to make money- not pay it out. They are professional and know the law. That is why you should call me for legal advice. I give free consultations to review these cases with clients. I explain the law for your specific evidence and describe how I charge for my service. You will meet with me in person, speak Spanish and review the case. My staff speaks Spanish and knows about these cases Don’t wait – contact us now!