The Workers’ compensation attorneys of Kooi know that work comp laws can be difficult for a layperson to assess in any State, as this body of law is often complex and dynamic. Unfortunately, Indiana is no exception. The Work Comp Board of Indiana is charged with the responsibility of providing both formal and informal adjudication and alternative dispute resolution. Any Indiana employee can use the various services and offerings of the Board to address problems they may be confronted with in the workplace, including, but not limited to, Ombudsman, mediators, Hearing Judges, etc. The following is a brief summary of the Indiana Workers’ Compensation laws and the role of the Indiana Work Comp Board:
Requirement of Work Comp Coverage or Insurance
Workers’ compensation coverage or insurance is mandatory in Indiana. The distinction basically comes down to who provides the coverage. If an employer pays for a work comp insurance policy then they have workers’ compensation insurance coverage; thus, the insurance company or their third-party administrator will handle your claim. There are some employers, however, whom are large enough to be self insured. This basically means, they have the financial resources to cover their employees’ comp claims. In order to qualify for such coverage, self-insured employers must first file an affidavit of financial compliance with the Board and establish they have the financial assets to provide for such claims. While there are some exceptions to the mandatory work comp coverage in Indiana (such as farmhands, firemen, etc.) most employers in Indiana must provide employees with this benefit.
Generally speaking, workers’ comp coverage kicks in when an employee becomes temporarily totally disabled (TTD). Per the definition from the United States Department of Labor, this is defined as “a situation in which the individual is incapacitated to perform his or her regular work because of an anatomical or functional abnormality or loss, but where it is expected that recovery merely awaits a normal healing period.” In order to qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits, however, Indiana Work Comp laws mandate a waiting period for injured employees before they may start receiving benefits. This waiting period is basically 7 days. Thus, if an employee becomes temporarily disabled, they must wait a period of at least seven days from the date of injury before TTD payments (2/3 of their average weekly wage — non-taxable) kicks in. As a general rule, if an employee’s injury does persist beyond the waiting period, they may not receive any Indiana Workers’ Compensation benefits.