Indiana uses a no-fault insurance system for workers’ compensation claims. That means that you are covered no matter the cause of your accident. Even if you make a mistake and suffer an injury as a result, you should be covered for medical expenses and wage loss while you recover.
This is quite different from what you must prove as part of a personal injury lawsuit. If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll need to prove that there was a negligent party that caused your injuries.
Let’s look at how workers’ compensation injury claims differ from other types of injury claims to illustrate the differences.
Workers’ Compensation Claims Vs. Personal Injury Cases
Proving fault is one of the largest differences between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury cases. With workers’ compensation, you won’t need to determine fault or prove it to begin receiving benefits.
Instead, the focus will be on whether you were working at the time of the accident. Being in the office or on a worksite doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a workplace injury. You’ll need to demonstrate that you were conducting the normal functions of your job at the time of your accident.
Additionally, you should not have to do any negotiations to begin receiving benefits. You’ll get two-thirds of your regular compensation rate while on workers’ compensation coverage up to $600 a week. No amount of negotiation can increase this amount. And, this compensation is not taxable.
In contrast, personal injury cases hinge on proving fault to determine which insurance policy applies and who is at fault for the accident. Additionally, Indiana operates under a modified comparative fault system for determining the amount of compensation you’ll receive for the accident.
That means that if you were partially at fault for the accident, you’ll receive less compensation for your injuries. For example, if you are found 10 percent at fault and would have received $20,000, you’ll now get $18,000 because the amount is reduced by the percent you were at fault.
If you are 51 percent or more at fault for the accident, you won’t be able to pursue compensation at all from the other party involved.
Hiring a Lawyer
Much like you would want a lawyer to guide you through the personal injury process, having a lawyer help with workers’ compensation claims has many benefits. The main benefit is ensuring that you don’t miss a deadline or fail to include important documentation. Having to go back and appeal a decision is not ideal. You want your claim to be approved immediately to avoid delays in receiving benefits. The longer you go without workers’ compensation benefits, the more challenging this will be for your finances.
Your lawyer will advise that you follow these steps after sustaining a workplace injury – no matter who was at fault.
- Notify your employer as soon as possible, but certainly within 30 days to comply with workers’ compensation laws.
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
- Hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to help file your claim.
- Record all medical appointments, expenses, and lost wages.
- Do not talk to the insurance company directly. Always have your lawyer present.
Stewart & Stewart offers a team of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys. We’re well-versed in many types of injuries and industries and will ensure that you get the compensation and benefits you deserve.
We’ll help ensure you get paid for everything from mileage to and from appointments to parking expenses for your treatment. Schedule your free consultation now.