Indiana Case Law Update: An independent contractor's personal injury negligence case was not barred by the exclusivity provision of the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act.
Recently the Indiana Court of Appeals issued a decision in the case Palmer v. Ake, Fas Pak, Inc., and Bernacchi, 2021 Ind. App. LEXIS 400 * | 2021 WL 6058471 (Ind. Ct. App. 2021) that involved a worker's action to recover damages for injuries he sustained when he was working on the roof of a barn and part of the barn collapsed.
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Trial Rule 12(B)(1) arguing that injured worker was an employee and that his exclusive remedy fell under the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act. The trial court agreed with the Defendants and dismissed the case. The injured worker appealed the trial court's decision.
The Court then went through each of the other nine factors. In weighing them, it found that overall they supported a finding that injured worker was an independent contractor and that his personal injury negligence case was not barred by the exclusivity provision of the Indiana Worker's Compensation Act which would have required the injured worker to pursue the claim as a worker's compensation claim and not a negligence claim. It reversed the trial court’s order granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss.