Workers’ compensation is a type of business insurance paid by an employer that provides benefits, including wage replacement, medical treatment and disability benefits, to employees who suffer from work-related injuries or illnesses. It also provides benefits to dependents in the event of an employee’s death.
Workers’ compensation insurance is typically required by law for most employers in nearly all states. Texas, unlike other states, does not require an employer to have workers’ compensation coverage.
HOW HOOSIERS ARE AFFECTED
In Indiana, all employees of a business must be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. According to state law, sole proprietors, partners, real estate agents and LLC members are excluded from coverage but can choose to be included; corporate officers, such as CEOs and CFOs, are included but can choose to be exempt.
Additionally, Hoosier employers must purchase insurance from a commercial provider, though approved businesses may self-insure.
Workers in Indiana are not required to prove their employer was at fault to receive benefits, per the no-fault system created by the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act, though available benefits only include medical expenses and wage loss.
In some states, employees may be able to pursue a personal injury claim instead or workers’ compensation, which allows claimants to receive benefits for emotional damages and more, with payouts often greater than workers’ compensation benefits.
Generally, personal injury cases in Indiana require the claimant prove the defendant responsible. However, workers’ compensation is considered the “exclusive remedy” for injured workers under Indiana law. Because of this, an injured employee is usually limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim even if the employer is at fault, and injured employees also cannot file a claim against an at-fault co-worker, though there are exceptions.
Types of injuries/scenarios which often lead to workers’ compensation claims include:
- Overexertion — Overworking the body is one of the most common reasons for employees filing a workers’ compensation claim. Activities such as bending, twisting, lifting, pulling, pushing and squatting repeatedly or under difficult conditions can result in injury.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals/environments — Workers in industrial or medical environments may encounter harmful materials, such as caustic liquids, noxious gases or dangerous chemicals including pesticides and asbestos.
- Machinery accidents —User error or mechanical malfunction can cause machinery to injure workers.
- Slips, trips and falls —Wet floors, icy walkways, broken or missing handrails, unsafe stairs, debris and more can cause workers to slip or trip, leading to a fall. These incidents often occur inside grocery stores and restaurants, where liquids are more likely to be spilled, and around the exterior of businesses.
- Struck by object —Falling, swinging, rolling, thrown or dropped objects can strike employees, such as construction workers, warehouse attendants and stockers.
- Electrocution — Electrocution can cause burns, internal damage, cardiac arrest and other injuries.
- Fires/explosions — Fires and explosions can result in burns, respiratory issues, heart complications, head injuries and hearing loss for exposed workers.
- Workplace violence — Claims can be filed in cases of violence among co-workers. Corrections officers, social workers and others dealing with incorrigible people may also endure violence in the workplace.
Speak with a Leliaert Insurance Agency staff member today to help you determine the best fit for your workers’ compensation needs.
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