If you have been hurt while working, you want to keep your options open when it comes to workers’ compensation. Indiana’s workers’ comp law has rules you must follow or risk losing your chance at your rightful benefits.
Step one: report your injury
To qualify for workers’ compensation, you must report your work injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. Some work-related injuries and illnesses are not immediately obvious, but in Indiana, you must report a work accident within 30 days.
Step two: get medical attention
There are two reasons you should get your injury checked out by a doctor as soon as you can. One, if you are disabled and in pain, you need medical attention to get better. Two, your employer will probably require that you get diagnosed by a physician before it will consider your workers’ comp claim.
Unfortunately, in Indiana, the employer and their workers’ comp insurance provider get to pick which doctor will examine an injured worker. These doctors tend to work with insurance companies a lot, and they can be motivated to tell the insurer what they want to hear: that your injury is not serious, not work-related, or both. However, you may also qualify for an independent medical exam from a doctor chosen by the state Workers’ Compensation Board who can provide you with a more objective diagnosis.
Step three: follow through on medical advice
You may be tempted to hold off on surgery or other treatment until your workers’ comp claim is approved. But most workers’ comp attorneys recommend that you follow doctor’s orders and get the recommended care.
Step four: consult a lawyer
Often, your employer and their insurance company will deny your claim or offer you less than fair and full compensation. You have the right to work with an attorney who is experienced in Indiana workers’ compensation law, which can make a huge difference, especially on appeal.