What Are Your Options For Compensation After A Work Injury?

Category: Workers' Compensation

Article by Tuley Law staff

What Are Your Options For Compensation After A Work Injury?

Workers’ compensation in Indiana provides compensation to workers who are injured on the job and for workers who become ill due to factors within their jobs. However, not everyone who works in Indiana is covered by workers’ compensation.

The first step after becoming injured is seeking medical attention. After you’ve submitted to a medical examination, arrange to discuss your rights and options with an experienced Evansville workplace injury attorney.

Workers' Compensation in Indiana

Workers’ compensation is usually favored by employers because employees who are covered by workers’ comp give up their right to bring personal injury lawsuits against employers. Workers’ compensation in Indiana works like this: If you are injured while working, instead of filing a lawsuit against your employer, having to prove that your employer was negligent, and potentially losing your lawsuit, you may claim workers’ compensation benefits.

That is, you may claim workers’ comp benefits if the party who pays you considers you a legal employee. However, the system is not always fair to everyone who works for a living, because a lot of working people in the state of Indiana are not covered by workers’ compensation.

Who is Covered by Workers' Compensation?

Indiana law requires employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their workers. Who has coverage and who doesn’t? Workers who are legally considered “employees” are covered, while workers who are considered independent contractors are not. Generally speaking, independent contractors in Indiana do not have any workers’ comp coverage or any right to acquire workers’ compensation benefits.

Who is Considered an Independent Contractor?

Who is an independent contractor? Here is what the IRS says:

“People … who are in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public are generally independent contractors. However, whether these people are independent contractors or employees depends on the facts in each case.”

The IRS further explains that in most cases, “an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done.”

You are not an independent contractor according to the IRS, if you perform services that can be controlled by an employer – that is, the employer controls what will be done and how it will be done. Independent contractors pay self-employment taxes, but employees’ taxes are withheld.

Employee vs Contractor

After a work-related injury in this state, if a dispute emerges over the employment status of the person making the injury claim, only the Workers Compensation Board of Indiana or the Indiana courts can determine whether or not a worker is an independent contractor or is an employee. That decision is made only after a work-related injury occurs. If there is a dispute, the Workers Compensation Board will examine the characteristics of the worker-employer relationship at the time of the injury. Working as a contractor appeals to a lot of people. You usually get to schedule your own hours, and you can often work at your own pace and do it your own way. But independent contractors do not receive health insurance benefits, sick days, or workers’ compensation coverage.

Steps to Take Following an Injury at Work

If you suffer an injury on the job, seeking medical treatment is your first and most immediate priority. You will also need to notify your employer in writing that you’ve been injured. Keep, copy, and securely store the copies of every document generated by your injury – your notification to your employer, medical bills and test results, and any other paperwork that you receive. Following the injury, discuss your rights and options with a qualified Evansville workplace injury attorney. After reviewing the details, your attorney should be able to tell you if you qualify for workers’ compensation or if you will need to file a personal injury claim.

How an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If you are considered an employee and you qualify for workers’ comp benefits, your attorney can help you complete the application and ensure you have taken the proper steps to receive benefits. If workers’ comp benefits are denied, your lawyer can assist you throughout the appeal of that decision. If you are an independent contractor, your attorney will help you to file a personal injury claim and will negotiate on your behalf for the compensation that you will need and deserve after a workplace injury.

By law, you are entitled to compensation if you are injured while working or if you are injured by another party’s negligence. If you or a loved one have been injured at work, contact the legal team at Tuley Law Office today for a no-cost case evaluation.

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