If you’re injured on the job in the state of Indiana, you will probably be eligible to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation shields employers from personal injury lawsuits that might otherwise be brought by employees; in return, employees receive benefit payments without the need to take legal action or to prove that someone is liable for their damages.
As Evansville work injury attorneys, we know that injuries that happen “on the clock” and at the job site are almost always covered by workers’ comp, but injuries that happen away from the workplace may or may not qualify for workers’ compensation.
HOW IS A “WORK-RELATED” TRAFFIC ACCIDENT DEFINED?
What happens if you are commuting to or from your job, and you’re involved in an accident? What if the job itself involves driving, and you’re a courier or a delivery person? What if you are injured during job-related travel on the way to or from a conference or a training session?
About a third of all working people have jobs that involve some type of travel – apart from their commute. A number of studies have told us that, without regard to a person’s occupation, if that person travels as part of the job, he or she is more likely to suffer a work-related injury.
WHAT IS WITHIN THE “COURSE AND SCOPE” OF SOMEONE’S JOB DUTIES?
Workers’ comp in Indiana pays medical expenses for anyone who is injured at work or in the “course and scope” of employment duties, and it also pays a percentage of an injured worker’s lost wages.
But what activities are considered to be in the “course and scope” of an employee’s job duties? Although your daily commute to and from your job site is not covered by workers’ comp, four types of travel are considered travel that is in the course and scope of employment duties:
1. Travel between job sites: Injuries that occur when traveling between job sites, either in a personal vehicle or a company vehicle, are usually covered by workers’ compensation.
2. Travel at the request of the employer: If the employer asks an employee to run an errand or to make a one-time special trip, any injuries that happen during the travel will typically be covered by workers’ compensation.
3. Business travel: Injuries that occur during travel to or from a company meeting, industry conference, training session, or during travel for any similar work-related reason will usually be covered by workers’ compensation.
4. Travel that is integral to the employee’s job duties: If the employee’s job is driving or involves driving, injuries that occur while the employee is driving for work are typically covered by workers’ compensation.
WERE YOU DRIVING WHILE NEGLIGENT, DISTRACTED, OR INTOXICATED?
Workers’ compensation is, in a sense, “no-fault” insurance; even if you were injured because you were negligent or distracted while driving, your injuries will probably be covered. You cannot be covered by workers’ comp if you were driving while intoxicated on alcohol or drugs.
If you’re injured during job-related travel in Indiana, get legal advice right away. Have an experienced Evansville workers’ compensation attorney discuss your rights and options and explain how the workers’ compensation rules will apply in your own situation.
HOW WILL A WORKER’S COMP ATTORNEY HELP?
An Indiana workers’ comp lawyer can:
1. ensure that your workers’ comp application is complete and accurate
2. help you meet the deadlines
3. ensure that no mistakes or misunderstandings delay your benefit payments
Indiana employers cannot terminate, discriminate, or retaliate against an employee who submits a worker’s compensation claim. If you are the target of any retaliation or discrimination after you file for benefits, discuss the situation immediately with your attorney.
WHAT DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVER?
In Indiana, workers’ compensation covers the medical costs for anyone who’s been injured in the course and scope of his or her job duties. It also reimburses injured workers for two-thirds of their lost weekly wages.
After a work-related traffic injury, you begin the workers’ comp process by filing a written injury report with your employer and then completing a workers’ comp claim form.
Have the help of a workers’ comp lawyer who can ensure that your claim form is accurate and complete.
FOR WHAT REASONS ARE BENEFIT REQUESTS DENIED?
It’s not unusual for a workers’ compensation claim to be denied, but for many injured workers, that’s only the beginning of the process. Claims are frequently approved when a rejected workers’ comp applicant appeals the denial.
For what reasons might your first application for workers’ compensation benefits be rejected?
1. You failed to seek medical treatment after the accident or you were not treated by an approved healthcare provider.
2. You missed a deadline. In Indiana, you must report an accident in writing to the employer within thirty days, and you must apply for workers’ comp within two years of the accident. Don’t wait that long. Do the paperwork immediately, and get an attorney’s help.
3. Your employer, or your employer’s worker’s comp insurance carrier, either does not believe that you were injured, does not believe that you were injured in the course and scope of your job duties, or is claiming that your injury is a pre-existing condition.
Workers’ compensation lawyers routinely handle complex injury cases. If you’re injured in a work-related traffic crash in Indiana, an Evansville workers’ compensation attorney will know what it takes to prove that you are qualified and eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEY?
Make no mistake – worker’s compensation in Indiana is not a perfect system. Workers’ comp tries to offer something to everyone involved – employers, insurance companies, and injured workers.
The system usually works the way it’s meant to work – fairly and justly. But it’s a complicated system with a multitude of regulations, so sometimes an injured worker will have to fight for that fairness and justice. A good workers’ comp lawyer will help.
As mentioned above, it’s not unusual to have your first application for worker’s comp payments rejected. That’s when many people reach out for legal help.
But if you have the help of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney from the very beginning, you’ll avoid any mistakes or unnecessary delays, and if you need to file an appeal, you’ll be represented by an experienced advocate for the rights of the injured.
If you are injured in a work-related traffic accident in Indiana, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, and the help of a good attorney is your right.