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How Does Indiana Workers’ Compensation Define the Scope of Employment?

Oct 31, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

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Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act

Indiana law requires that most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. However, the law does exclude independent contractors, farm laborers, members of a firefighters’ or police officers’ pension fund, and railroad employees. A rare part of the law compared to other states is that the law does not exclude domestic workers or those who serve as nannies, housekeepers, or care for the elderly. 

If an employer fails to carry adequate workers’ compensation insurance as outlined in the law, they are liable to cover medical expenses, reasonable attorney fees, and compensate the employee up to double the compensation the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act provides. Additionally, the employer will have to cease all business operations until it shows proof of insurance.

Employees with questions about how their workplace injury might apply to workers’ compensation insurance should review the Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana’s frequently asked questions and answers

Learn some important details about workers’ compensation claims in Indiana and how the scope of work could impact your claim.

Benefits Outlined in the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act

Under the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act, employees are eligible for the following benefits for covered workplace injuries:

  • Two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage for as long as your physician says you are unable to work.
  • Permanent partial impairment or partial disability as your physician authorizes and attests to.
  • Payment for medical expenses for care from a physician that the insurance company has approved. 
  • Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses, including medication and mileage to and from medical appointments if your appointments are outside the county of your employer.

What Is Scope of Employment?

The term “scope of employment” encompasses the range of activities that an employer asks an employee to do as part of their job. For workers’ compensation coverage to apply, the employee must be engaged in the affairs of their employer. That means that you don’t have to be on your employer’s premises for the insurance coverage to apply. 

Injuries that result from an activity that is related to employment can qualify for workers’ compensation coverage. But some work-related injuries are harder to prove than others and likely require the expertise of an Indiana workers’ compensation attorney. 

Just because an accident takes place during a work day, doesn’t mean it applies to workers’ compensation coverage. For example, when you are on your lunch break and driving to and from a lunch location, you likely don’t have coverage unless your employer asked that you pick up food for a work function. In that case, the trip could be considered part of your scope of employment.

If you were on your way to pick up your dry cleaning after work and get in an accident, workers’ compensation likely does not apply. But if you were picking up dry cleaning for your employer, that might fall under your scope of employment. 

That’s not to say that every trip to a restaurant or dry cleaners where you’re picking up something for a coworker or manager applies to workers’ compensation. Doing a favor for a coworker or manager won’t apply unless it’s part of your job.

Workers’ compensation law is complex. Many scenarios are evaluated on a case-by-case basis based on the circumstances and details surrounding the case.

If you’re facing claim denial or challenges from your employer about the legitimacy of your claim, you should get in touch with a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. The more time that passes between your accident and a claim, the more challenging it can be to prove your case. And if you wait too long, you could be outside the statute of limitations for a claim and not be able to receive compensation. 

For a team of premier Indiana workers’ compensation attorneys, request a free case evaluation from Stewart & Stewart. 

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