Indiana Worker's Compensation: A summary of work comp benefits available to an injured worker
A few points about this benefit:
- The injured worker is usually provided a prescription card so they can get any prescriptions from a pharmacy of their choosing.
- It should be noted that the employer/worker's compensation insurance company has the right to direct the injured worker's medical treatment so this means the injured worker does not get to pick the doctors. Typically, employers/worker's compensation insurance companies have preferred doctors they like to use.
- The employer/worker's compensation insurance company will sometimes retain a nurse case manager to assist in scheduling and attending medical appointments with the injured worker.
- The injured worker is provided medical treatment until the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement or a base line level. Maximum medical improvement does not mean the injured worker is all better, it just means that there is not any additional medical treatment that is really going to improve the injured worker.
Second, weekly worker's compensation wage replacement benefits, also referred to at temporary total disability benefits, will be paid to the injured worker at two-thirds of the injured worker's average weekly wage. The maximum of the average weekly wage is currently $1,170 which results in a maximum temporary total disability of $780. A few points about this benefit:
- There is a seven day wait period before TTD benefits are paid. The injured worker will not get paid the first seven days off work unless the injured worker happens to be off work more than twenty-one days.
- The injured worker's average weekly wage is calculated by looking at the injured worker's prior fifty-two weeks of wages. This calculation includes overtime and bonuses.
- The TTD benefits will end one the injured worker is either: 1) placed at MMI; or 2) the injured worker is assigned work restrictions that the employer is able/willing to accommodate.
Third, compensation for permanent partial impairment in the form of a lump sum payment after the injured worker is placed at maximum medical improvement and a permanent partial impairment rating is assigned. A few points about this benefit:
- The PPI rating assigned by the worker's compensation doctor should be based upon either the 5th or 6th Edition of the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.
- The current compensation under the Indiana Worker's Compensation Act is $1,750 per degree of a whole person rating, however, there are different calculations based upon the type of rating assigned.
- The injured worker is entitled to get a second opinion on the PPI rating assigned by the worker's compensation doctor but would have to pay for a second opinion with another doctor. An injured worker should consult with an Indiana worker's compensation lawyer.
- If the injured worker gets a second opinion on the PPI rating and the second opinion PPI rating is higher, then the injured worker's worker's compensation settlement will be higher.
Fourth, permanent total disability benefits are available to an injured worker who can show that the injury is so severe and the permanent injury and permanent work restrictions are so severe that competitive employment is no longer an option. A few points about this benefit:
- I always tell my clients that it is a lot easier for me to get them approved for Social Security Disability benefits than it is to get them approved for permanent total disability benefits under the Indiana Worker's Compensation Act.
- Social Security Disability benefits, it does not mean that the Indiana Worker's Compensation Board will find the injured worker permanent and totally disabled under the Indiana Worker's Compensation Act.
- Just because you cannot return to your past job (that you were injured on), it does not mean that you are permanently totally disabled.
- Permanent total disability benefits are paid out for a total of 500 weeks offset by any temporary total disability benefits paid out.
If you have questions about your Indiana Worker's Compensation claim, call an experienced Indiana worker's compensation attorney who handles Indiana work injury cases. Fort Wayne Work Injury Attorney Nathaniel Hubley focuses his law practice on Indiana Worker's Compensation, Employment Law, Social Security Disability and Personal Injury.