December 12, 2018
When people think of workers’ compensation, they often picture laborers like construction workers or farmers who experience dramatic injuries with heavy-duty equipment. While these accidents can and often do result in workers’ compensation claims, Indiana’s workplace injury protection also extends to those not employed in high-risk industries.
When Are Musicians Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Professional musicians can live and work in extremely varied ways: some touring band members may never have a regular schedule or employer, whereas orchestral players are organized by their union and employed by the orchestra.
Workers’ compensation coverage hinges on whether the injured person is an employee or an independent contractor. In some cases, this distinction is blurry at best, but a good rule of thumb for musicians is if they’re paid a regular salary, they’re likely employees. On the other hand, if they’re compensated through Form 1099s, it’s possible they’re independent contractors.
Because every employee’s contract is different, it helps to have a qualified workers’ compensation attorney review your case before filing a claim with your employer and discovering your efforts have been wasted.
Keep in mind that many employers believe some of their workers are independent contractors when the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board may actually find they qualify as employees and are therefore eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
What Kinds of Injuries Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Benefits don’t just apply to people who end up permanently disabled due to an injury. Other injuries payable by workers’ compensation claims include psychological trauma, co-worker assaults, and repetitive stress injuries.
Studies have shown musicians are reluctant to report and pursue compensation for injuries they sustain because of their work. This is mostly because they don’t think their injuries are severe enough to warrant the attention; they take two aspirin and get on with their day.
However, the Indiana workers’ compensation system pays for more than just serious accidents. It includes four tiers of injuries, all of which can result in paid benefits to an injured worker:
Temporary Total Disability
This compensation pays musicians 2/3 their average weekly wage (AWW) during the time in which they cannot work at all due to their injuries.
Temporary Partial Disability
Depending on the severity of the injury, employees may be given compensation for work they are unable to complete or covered for the difference in pay if they are forced to temporarily work in a lower-paid role because of their injury.
Permanent Total Disability
Obviously the most severe cases of workplace injury result in the victim being unable to work in their previous or any other job capacity for the rest of their life. These cases are rare and tragic and may need to be pursued with the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Permanent Partial Injuries
Indiana awards compensation for permanent partial injuries (PPI) after workers have reached their maximum medical improvement (MMI) for a given injury. If, after treatment, an injured musician still can’t recover their previous dexterity or strength, they may be awarded a lump sum payment to compensate them for future lost wages.
Help Filing Workers’ Compensation Claims
Musicians live some of the busiest working lives, often pulling two and three part-time jobs together to make a livable wage. As a result, they often don’t have the time or mental energy to devote to seeking compensation for their injuries through a workers’ compensation claim, though they may discover they’re eligible to receive benefits to help cover the cost of treatment.
Hensley Legal Group can help injured musicians by compiling evidence, filing, and representing professional musicians in their workers’ compensation claim negotiations with their employer. To get started with a free review of your situation, call us or contact us online today.