How Does Indiana's Worker's Compensation Statute Define Benefits?

August 22, 2014 by Ann H. Stewart, Of Counsel
Indiana requires all employers to either carry worker’s compensation insurance through private insurance companies, or qualify with the Worker’s Compensation Board for self-insured status. Worker’s Compensation premiums are not regulated by state law, and the employer completely bears the cost of that insurance. Uninsured employers may be liable for payment of double benefits, attorneys’ fees, a criminal fine, and other penalties.
 
How Does Indiana's Worker's Compensation Statute Define Benefits?

Indiana’s worker’s compensation statute defines the compensation and benefits to which an employee may be entitled.
 
Statutory medical benefits
• Employees injured by accident arising out of and in the course of employment are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical treatment, rendered free of charge to the employee. In Indiana, the employer or insurance carrier selects the treating physician.
• An injured worker may receive authorized medical treatment until a doctor releases him/her at maximum medical improvement, which means the injury will not significantly improve with more treatment. The worker remains free to continue to have a doctor treat the injury after maximum medical improvement, but the worker must pay for the treatment going forward.
• If a worker qualifies for permanent total disability or for future medical benefits, he or she may receive authorized medical treatment after he or she reaches maximum medical improvement.
• Employees may be entitled to compensation related to the statutory medical care. If the employer or carrier requires the employee to travel outside of the county of employment for treatment, the employee
must be reimbursed for mileage and other expenses. If treatment, or travel to and from treatment, causes the employee to miss working hours, the employer must reimburse the employee for lost wages using the employee’s average daily wage.

Statutory compensation
Temporary Total Disability (TTD): TTD is paid when an injured worker is totally unable to perform his or her regular work for a temporary period because of a work-related injury. TTD pay is defined as 66 2/3rd percent of the injured worker’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount set by statute, for a maximum of 500 weeks. The average weekly wage is computed as the average of all wages, including overtime, the employee earned for the 52-week period prior to the date the injury occurred.
 
Permanent Total Disability (PTD): PTD is paid when the injured worker is unable to perform reasonable forms of work activity following the work accident. When a vocational doctor says the injured worker will never be able to work again in any reasonable employment within society due to a work injury, the worker may be entitled to 500 weeks of pay at 66 2/3rd percent of the pre-injury average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount set by statute, or the amount payable for the worker’s impairment, whichever is greater.

When the injured worker is eligible for both TTD pay for being off work temporarily, as well as PPI (permanent partial impairment) pay due to a permanent impairment, the maximum amount of combined compensation is 500 weeks of TTD pay, up to the statutory maximum.
 
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): TPD is paid when an injured worker is only partially unable to work for a temporary period because of a work-related injury. The injured worker is limited in the number of hours he or she can work, or needs to be temporarily re-assigned to a position that earns less than what the worker earned prior to the injury. TPD is paid at 66 2/3rd percent of the difference between the worker’s average weekly wage before and after the injury.
 
Workers are eligible to receive a maximum of 300 weeks of TPD pay, but the combined total of TTD pay and TPD pay may not exceed 500 weeks. The total amount of compensation is capped by statute.
 
Death benefits: If an employee dies by accident, or as a result of injuries sustained by accident, arising out of and in the course of employment, the employee’s dependents may be eligible to receive death benefits under Indiana’s Worker’s Compensation Act. In addition to the remaining balance of weekly TTD payments up to the maximum of 500 weeks (or the maximum total amount payable, set by statute), dependents may be entitled to a statutory allowance for funeral expenses.
 


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