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When Indiana’s Worker’s Comp Laws Don’t Apply


Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Aug 07, 2012 in Advice

building construction

Worker’s compensation laws in the state of Indiana (and many other states as well) are designed to be the “sole recourse” to workers who are injured on the job, and to be honest, these laws can get in the way of injured workers getting a fair shake, because it’s up to the Worker’s Compensation Board to determine how much you’re entitled to, and not to a judge and jury.

If you’ve been injured, and it appears that this law applies to your case (which it will for most on-the-job injuries), it’s highly important to consult with an attorney before making your claim. His or her experience in dealing with the system will be invaluable to you, and they will help you make the strongest claim possible for the recompense you deserve. In cases where the law doesn’t apply, the course of action to pursue is even less straightforward, but could include a full-fledged personal injury lawsuit.

Here are a few cases where Indiana’s Worker’s Compensation law doesn’t cover you:

1. Independent contractors

 Independent contractors in many cases have to be registered with Indiana’s Worker’s Comp Board, particularly in the construction and building industries. Whether or not the law applies to your specific case will depend on a number of factors, and a conversation with a lawyer is important in order to sort those out. If it can be established that you were injured solely because of the negligence of the site owner, you should be entitled to personal injury damages.

2.Temporary or “leased” employees

If you’re working onsite for someone who isn’t your direct employer, you may be entitled to compensation from both them and your employer, depending on the specific situation. Also, if you’re a temp, you may be more of an independent contractor in the eyes of the law, and depending on your particular situation, a tort action may be your best option.

3. Self-employed

If you’re a partner in an LLC, self-employed, or a sole proprietor, you’re basically on your own, covered by your insurance and (sometimes) the insurance of the site owner where the injury took place. You’ll probably want to seek legal recourse for your injuries. The body of laws which cover worker’s compensation are somewhat complex, and while they are designed to be the “exclusive remedy” for on-the-job injuries (in an effort to keep cases out of court), there are a number of situations where the compensation which the system can give you is insufficient.

A licensed and experienced South Bend personal injury attorney can be your best ally in this situation, not only because of the depth of his knowledge about similar cases and the best way to approach the legal system, but also because he is capable of approaching your case with a clear head and objectivity. You need someone like that in your corner.