Learn how Indiana determines the amount of compensation you may be entitled to for a work-related accident or sickness, as well as how workers’ compensation eligibility laws apply to infectious illnesses such as COVID-19.

If you were injured or were ill on the job in Indiana, you may be eligible for a variety of benefits via the state workers’ compensation system, including medical care and payments to offset a portion of your lost income.

The type of your injuries, the amount of your permanent impairments, and your ability to return to work will determine your eligibility for certain benefits.

This page describes how Indiana’s most essential workers’ compensation payouts are calculated. (To get these benefits, you must submit a workers’ compensation claim and demonstrate that your injury or sickness was caused by your job.)

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Is it possible to get workers’ compensation in Indiana if you get COVID-19 on the job?

Even if you feel you were exposed to the coronavirus at work, COVID-19 is not typically deemed a job-related disease in Indiana. Indiana workers’ compensation covers occupational illnesses, but only if the employee can demonstrate that exposure to the sickness was caused by the specific working circumstances, rather than a danger to which the general public is equally exposed. (Indiana Code 22-3-7-10.)

First responders, healthcare personnel, and others who give direct assistance to persons with COVID-19 symptoms are more prone to the condition as a direct consequence of their professions, according to the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB).

The same may be said for other professionals whose occupations demand close connection with a large number of people in a public venue.

Even though the nature of your profession puts you at a greater risk of viral exposure than most other employees, you must still attribute your illness to a particular source or event that resulted in virus exposure, such as treating a patient with COVID-19.

In response to the epidemic, several states have implemented legislation that makes it easier for some frontline workers to get workers’ compensation payments for COVID-19 by assuming that the illness is work-related until the employer shows otherwise. Indiana is not one of these states.

Indiana Temporary Disability Benefits

If you are unable to return to your usual job tasks, or if you are unable to work at all, you may be eligible for temporary disability payments. These benefits are not paid in Indiana for the first seven days of your impairment unless it lasts longer than 21 days.

Total Temporary Disability

When you are unable to work due to a job-related accident or illness, you may be eligible for temporary total disability (TTD) payments.

These benefits are computed in Indiana as two-thirds of your typical weekly earnings for the year preceding your accident, up to a legal limit. In comparison to other states, Indiana has maintained that ceiling very low.

For injuries sustained after June 2016 (and continuing until at least 2022), the maximum average weekly earnings for calculating benefits is $1,170. This equates to a weekly maximum TTD benefit of $780.

TTD advantages will be available till you:

resuming any form of job
have received benefits for 500 weeks, refuse to attend a medical examination ordered by your employer’s insurance company, or refuse a suitable job offer given your limitations; or have reached a stage known as “maximum medical improvement” (MMI), which means that your condition has improved as far as it can, even with more treatment.

22-3-3-7, 22-3-3-8, 22-3-3-22, 22-3-6-1 (2022).)

Partial Disability on a Temporary Basis

If you can return to work in some capacity while you’re still recovering, but your injuries prevent you from earning as much as you did before the accident, you may be eligible for temporary partial disability benefits equal to two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wages (up to the legal maximum, as discussed above) and what you’re earning now.

For example, if you used to make $900 per week and now make $600 in a light-duty work that meets your restrictions due to the accident, you would get $200 per week in benefits.

Temporary partial disability compensation are available for up to 300 weeks. If you received TTD benefits before converting to temporary partial disability, the time you received TTD benefits will be counted against your 300-week maximum. (Ind. Code 22-3-3-9-2022.)

Indiana Permanent Partial Impairment Benefits

Once your doctor has determined that you have achieved MMI, you will be examined to see whether you have any permanent disability as a consequence of your accident, and if so, how severe it is. The doctor will assign you a permanent partial impairment (PPI) rating in Indiana, which is represented as a percentage of the loss or loss of use of a bodily part or function.

The PPI rating will subsequently be transformed into a monetary benefit amount using a sophisticated procedure outlined in a legislation. To begin, your rating will be converted into a series of degrees depending on which portions of your body are impacted and the severity of your disability.

Certain physical parts (usually the extremities) and senses (hearing and vision) are given values stated in degrees, such as 40 degrees for loss of a hand or hearing loss in both ears. Other impairments that aren’t included, such as a back injury or damaged kidneys, are considered impairments to the whole body, with a rating of 100.

The proportion of your impairment rating will be multiplied by the degree of impairment attributed to the afflicted bodily component. For example, if you lost 50% of your hand’s usage, your PPI would be worth 20 degrees (40 X .5). If you have a 15% PPI rating for the whole body due to a back ailment, your PPI is worth 15 degrees (100 X .15). The loss of both hands, both feet, both eyesight, or a combination of two of those things is worth 100 degrees.

Your PPI award will then be computed by multiplying each degree of impairment by a certain cash amount that increases in steps. These are the figures for injuries that occurred after July 1, 2016.

$1,750 per degree of disability for the first ten degrees of impairment
$1,952 per degree for handicap degrees ranging from 11 to 35
$3,186 for impairment degrees between 36 and 50, and $4,060 for degrees more than 50.

In the case of a 50% loss of use of a hand (worth 20 degrees), the total PPI compensation would be computed as follows:

$1,750 multiplied by ten (for the first ten degrees) is $17,500.
$1,952 multiplied by 10 (for degrees 10-20) is $19,520.
$17,500 + $19,520 = $37,020 total

If one of the mentioned bodily parts is severed, the cash worth per degree is doubled. (A PPI calculation worksheet may be found on the “Injuries” portion of the Indiana WCB website.)

If you received TTD benefits for more than 125 weeks, the amount you received beyond that period will be deducted from your total PPI payout.

As part of your workers’ compensation settlement, you may opt to receive the award in a lump amount. PPI awards are often paid in weekly installments at the same rate as TTD. (Ind. Code 22.3-3-10.5 (2022), 22-3-3-10.)

Total and Permanent Disability

If your accident or sickness prohibits you from doing any reasonable employment, you are entitled to either a permanent total disability award (500 weeks at the TTD rate) or the amount resulting from a PPI calculation, whichever is larger. 22-3-3-10 (2020).)

Indiana’s Total Workers’ Compensation Benefit Cap

Indiana has a restriction on the total amount of workers’ compensation payments you may get, which includes temporary disability, permanent partial impairment, and permanent complete disability. Medical benefits, on the other hand (described below), do not count against that cap. The maximum award for injuries sustained after June 2016 is $390,000. (See Ind. Code 22-3-3-22(t) (2022).)
Other Indiana Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Additional benefits provided under Indiana workers’ compensation include:

Medical attention. Workers’ compensation covers all reasonable and necessary medical care for a work-related accident or sickness, with no copays or deductibles. If you have to miss work in order to get treatment, you should be compensated for your missed pay. Furthermore, if you need to travel outside of the county for medical visits, workers’ compensation will reimburse you for reasonable travel fees. In Indiana, your employer’s insurance company has the authority to choose your doctor. (Learn more about obtaining medical care via workers’ compensation.) (Indiana Code 22-3-3-4 (2022).)
Rehabilitation for the workforce. If your injury prohibits you from doing work for which you have prior training or experience, you will be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services to assist you in preparing for and finding a job that you can do. (Ind. Codes 22-3-12-1 and 22-3-12-4 (2022).)
Funeral expenditures and death benefits. When an employee dies as a consequence of a work-related accident or sickness, the surviving spouse, children, or other dependents may be eligible for death benefits. If the employee dies within 500 weeks of the injury, death benefits for total dependents are provided at the same rate as TTD benefits until the worker has received a total of 500 weeks’ worth of compensation (including sums paid before death), unless the surviving spouse remarries before that time. Workers’ compensation also covers up to $10,000 in funeral costs for a dead employee. (Ind. Codes 22-3-3-17, 22-3-3-20, and 22-3-3-21 (2022)).

Obtaining Assistance in Collecting Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Indiana

If your employer’s insurance company has dismissed your workers’ compensation claim, is withholding payments, or refuses to allow necessary medical care, you should consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer.

You should also contact with an attorney before signing any workers’ compensation settlement. An Indiana attorney with knowledge in this field can review your case, advise you on whether it’s worthwhile to file an appeal, ensure your rights are preserved in an agreement, and assist you in obtaining all of the advantages you deserve. (Learn more about how a competent workers’ compensation lawyer may assist you.)

Fees for Indiana Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Workers’ compensation lawyers in Indiana, like other states, cannot charge a fee until you win your case. Indiana workers’ compensation lawyers are only allowed to charge no more than 20% of your benefits up to $50,000 and 15% of your benefits beyond $50,000.

You may also be required to reimburse your attorney for case-related fees such as postage, copy costs, medical records requests, and so on.

Before signing the fee agreement, make sure you understand it and are satisfied with it.

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