Workers Compensation Laws change frequently. This is only a summary; a complete copy of the most up-to-date version can be found at: www.WorkCompResearch.com an excellent service.
In Indiana, every employer who has one or more employees, whether full time or part time is required to carry workers compensation insurance. There are some exceptions. Railroad workers, real estate professionals, independent contractors, inmates and volunteers of non-profits are not covered by workers compensation. Employers of casual laborers, household employees, agriculture employees, and migrant farm workers may elect to buy workers compensation insurance. All county and municipal governments, and all school districts must carry workers compensation insurance, but police officers and firefighters may not be covered if they are covered for injury through a pension fund.
To obtain workers compensation coverage in Indiana, the employer has two options of either
purchasing a workers compensation insurance policy from a state approved insurance company
applying to and being approved for self-insurance status with the Indiana Workers Compensation Board.
The employee must report the injury to the employer as soon as practical after the occurrence. If the injury is reported after 30 days, benefits start as of the date of the notice. If the employee incurs disability of one or more days, the employer is required to report the claim to the Board of Workers Compensation within 7 days. If the employer (insurer) fails to report the claim timely to the board, the employer (insurer) can be fined $500.00.
The employer selects the medical provider in Indiana workers compensation claims. The employer is required to provide all reasonable and necessary medical care free of any charges to the employee. There is no time limit on how long medical care can be provided.
In cases involving permanent injury, the Board may order future medical care to limit or reduce the extent of the employee’s injury.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
The temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage over the 52 weeks prior to the date of injury, not counting the week of the injury. The maximum amount of TTD benefits that can be paid is $650.00 per week. There is no automatic cost of living increase. The state minimum weekly benefit is $50.
The first 7 days of disability (the waiting period) is not paid to the injured employee unless the employee is disabled for more than 21 days. TTD benefits can be paid for a maximum of 500 weeks
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
In Indiana if the employee is able to return to any type of work, but at a lesser rate of pay then the amount the employee was earning prior to the injury, the employee is entitled to temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. The TPD benefits are paid at two-thirds of the difference between the pre-injury wage and the post-injury wage. The TPD benefits are paid for up to 300 weeks. The TPD benefits plus the post-injury pay rate cannot exceed the state’s maximum indemnity benefits rate.
Permanent Partial Impairment
It should be noted that Indiana is one of the few states that does not have a schedule for injuries to limbs, sight, hearing, etc. Instead, the treating physician will assign to the employee a permanent partial impairment rating, with the whole body being considered 100 degrees. Limbs and other body parts are worth so many degrees, and then the number of degrees is multiplied by the percentage of disability. The Board maintains a chart that shows what each degree of injury is worth. Interestingly, with this system, the high wage earner does not receive any more than the low wage number when they have the identical degree of injury. However, if the injured employee has already received in excess of 125 weeks of indemnity compensation, the insurer does receive a partial credit against the PPI award.
Permanent total disability
Indiana permits the employee to collect a maximum of 500 weeks of indemnity benefits for all types of indemnity combined, unless the employee is classified as permanent total disability. If the employee is permanently and totally disability, the state’s second injury fund will pay up to 125 weeks of additional benefits after the insurer has paid for 500 weeks.
The burial expenses in Indiana are covered for a work-related death up to $7,500. The death benefits for a dependent spouse and children follow the same guidelines as TTD benefits – two-thirds of the average weekly wage – currently a maximum of $650 per week, up to a maximum of 500 weeks, except there is a dollar maximum for death benefits in the amount of $294,000. If the spouse remarries, the spouse receives the lesser of 104 weeks or benefits or the remainder of the 500 weeks.
The employer is not required to pay for vocational rehabilitation under the Indiana workers compensation act. Injured employees who need vocational rehabilitation can obtain assistance through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation operated by the State of Indiana.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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